Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Blood and Honor

I didn't want it to come to this. I had hoped that I could just enjoy the USU victory from afar, read about some of the Aggie shenanigans and then enjoy my Thanksgiving (#SixServingsAndAMovie). I knew that Wood's Stock was due for a rant but USU/BYU? Too subjective, to biased, to pointless to anyone that doesn't attend either USU or BYU.

But, I can not resists. The coverage simply will not go away. Recently, news breaks that USU President Stan Albrecth and USU AD Scott Barnes have issued an apology, adding one more log to the fire of vitriolic hyperbole spewing across internet comment boards and facebook profiles. The same tired diatribe (Aggies are just mad because they couldn't get in to BYU. I breastfed until I was 7) that we hear year after year is, right now, making it's ugly rounds at dinner tables, church functions, parks and of course, the world wide web.

First things first, Stan's apology means nothing. It's his job to be diplomatic, to shake hands, to make speaches, and to issue apologies. Likewise, it's the student's job to make the opposing team's visit to the Spectrum as nightmarish as possible.

To be clearer, I appreciate Mr. Albrecht's (one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet) decorum and tact in handling this issue. As an institution it was the right decision. I also support the students for using every available weapon in their wheelhouse to torment the star player of BYU's men's basketball team. No insult is off limits, no act is to vile (as long as it does not disrupt the game i.e. dumping buckets of blood Carrie-style from the rafters).

Let's talk about the elephant in the room. Last season Brandon Davies was suspended from the team for having sex. With a girl. For the uninitiated, BYU is a private school that espouses an Honor Code that forbids -- among other things and on pain of punitive academic measures -- unwed sexual relations.

USU students, during their most recent matchup with the Cougars, focused their taunts on this specific aspect of the BYU men's basketball team, chanting things like "Pull Out Davies" while the player was shooting free-throws. A host of BYU fans -- and some Aggies, shame on you 2011-2012 Statesman Staff -- cried foul, leading to the aforementioned institutionalized apology.

The most common defense I'm hearing from the Cross the Line school is something along the lines of "It's inappropriate to directly and personally attack a player" and more specifically "for doing something that is done in universities across the country." By that they mean, having sex. There's also the cries of "lewdness" and "vulgarity" which, let's face it Utahns, telling a man that's had sex that he's had sex is hardly lewd, much like how it's no insult to say that a dead dead. Also, the actual language used would hardly scratch the surface of being classified "adult" there's much more profane ways they could have gotten the message across.

Yes, university students have sex. The kicker, however, is that at BYU university students are not allowed to have sex. In my humble and (admittedly) heartless opinion, by choosing to attend that school you not only pledge to live by the honor code, but you also take upon yourself the unwanted consequences (academic, physical, social) of breaking said honor code. In a similar vein, by being a member of the basketball team you get the good (fame, cheerleaders) with the bad (ridicule, public scorn).

There are players on USU's team that have had pre-marital sex. Would it have been "beyond human decency" for the Cougar fans to chant and wave signs that said as much? No. Why? Because:
A) our students are free to have as much sex as they want -- as well as grow facial hair, be under the same roof of a female regardless of t.o.d., and receive an education that makes them confront and challenge their ideas and beliefs -- and
B) Because Utah State won the game.

That's what this is about. Had BYU won, the Internet would have been a storm of Joshua-esque "Our God is greater than your's" boasting and scoffing at the Aggie fans' foolish attempts to distract Davies with their sad little signs. However, because USU won the personal attacks and taunting have the appearance of kicking someone while they're down. Like doing a victory dance after carpet-bombing an indigenous people.

This is sports people. Love it or loathe it we all know the rules of the game. One team's fans will always clash with that of their opponent and the only thing that matters is the score at the end. All's fair in love, war, and collegiate athletics and as many Aggies will happily point out, if you're not willing to take the ridicule for breaking the Honor Code you have two choices. Don't break it, or don't go to a school with an honor code.


  1. I don't think that we should read too much into this apology. It just clears the President and A.D. from the actions. There won't be any action taken in future games. The apology was a classy thing to do, especially after the BYU pres. issued an apology after last years game. There are politics played at the administrative level that are gestures. Nothing more. Great article.

    This post does not represent the views of Utah State University or any of its affiliates.

  2. I don't know if you can hear it, but I'm starting a slow clap where I'm at. Excellent work my good man.

  3. Good times. I liked the part about them chanting "our God is better than yours." Good ol' BYU. I like how you're (mostly) not mocking them for an honor code, but just pointing out that if you go to a school with an honor code and break it then you can't really complain. Good times. ps: What's a t.o.d.?