The school has what to the rest of the academic world is a strict and perhaps old-fashioned honor code. Among its tenets: Be honest, live a chaste and virtuous life, use clean language, participate regularly in church services, observe dress and grooming standards (no beards or ear rings for men, no “form-fitting” clothing or more than one ear piercing for women), and abstain from alcoholic beverages, tobacco, tea, coffee, and substance abuse.
In order to remain “chaste and virtuous,” one must not engage in premarital sex. Students have to sign the honor code every year.
While most sports commentators say they can’t imagine themselves (or most people, especially athletes) operating under such rules of behavior, BYU’s swift action in the face of an admitted violation has caused many to reexamine general sports behavior by comparison.
ESPN.com senior writer Pat Forde put it this way:
What makes this such a powerful testament is the fact that so many schools have cravenly abandoned their standards at such a time as this, embracing athletic expediency over institutional principle. It happens so often that we don't even raise an eyebrow at it anymore.
Player arrests or other antisocial behaviors are minimized as youthful mistakes, with strenuous institutional effort put into counterspinning any negative publicity. Academic underachievement is dismissed as merely the price of being competitive in big-time athletics. "Indefinite" suspensions often last only as long as they're convenient – timed to coincide with exhibition games or low-stress games against overmatched opponents.