Brigham Young has mounted a 32-4 record while losing starting forward Brandon Davies near the end of the season for a violation. Even with making the tournament in recent years, this has been by far their best basketball played in quite some time.
“For 40 minutes, it might have been as good as we’ve been all year,” BYU coach Dave Rose said after the third round NCAA tournament win.
Being the avid college football follower that I am, I immediately thought of the BYU football squad and their recent success. They ended last season with only a 7-6 record, but they have still tallied four bowl wins with an overall record of 50-15 over the past five seasons with victories over BCS teams like the Oklahoma Sooners and a 59-0 demolition of the UCLA Bruins.
The Cougars accomplished this success in both sports while under what some consider a strict honor code. BYU is supported and guided by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Brandon Davies, previously the leading rebounder of the basketball team, was suspended this season and football player Harvey Unga withdrew from school before the 2010 season both for violations of the honor code.
Everyone is aware of the policies at BYU and the former student players are not resentful. Brigham Young University upholds their honor code with disciplinary action no matter the importance of the player to the sport’s program which is stricter than what most universities do with a more lenient code.
The Mormons inclusion in college sports should be respected for their enforcement of polices, but also for the passion they possess for their teams. It was evident as the crowd roared during the basketball game Saturday night and in the many football games that have been well represented by their legion of fans.
Brigham Young will now be an independent in football and be joining the West Coast Conference in basketball. The 2011 football season should be one to be excited about with an interesting schedule including some tough road games and their basketball team is still very alive in the NCAA tournament. Fans of football and basketball alike should now recognize the success of the Cougars and welcome BYU to prominence in the college sports world.