After BYU sophomore forward Brandon Davies was suspended from the team for a violation of the school's honor code on Tuesday, school officials said that he was not allowed to "represent" the team for the remainder of the season.
Kudos to BYU coach Dave Rose for forcing an exception.
Following the Cougars' 102-78 victory over Wyoming, which clinched them a share of the Mountain West Conference's regular-season title, Davies, dressed in a shirt and tie, clipped his rightful piece of the net at the Marriott Center.
As he did so, the sell-out crowd on hand chanted "Davies! Davies!" and gave him an ovation nearly as powerful as that bestowed upon senior star Jimmer Fredette. This capped an afternoon during which the students chanted in support of Davies several times as he sat at the end of the BYU bench.
All BYU students agree to the honor code upon enrolling. Earlier this week, the Salt Lake Tribune reported that Davies broke the code by engaging in premarital sexual relations with his girlfriend.
The honor code is certainly nothing new at BYU, but given the basketball program's sudden rise to national prominence, the punishment handed down to Davies — and the code itself — became a hot-button issue for seemingly everyone, ranging from the media in markets both near and far to New York Knicks star forward Amar'e Stoudemire.
Both sides of the argument can be made thoroughly. BYU was simply adhering to its code, and Davies knew what he was getting into when he decided to play ball there. At the same time, the punishment seems quite severe.
"Yeah, we thought it would be a good idea to have him here," he said. "He wanted to come."
Added Fredette: "It meant a lot to have him here. He's like a brother to us, and we've had a lot of good times together. He's been here two years with us, and he's a huge part of this team. To have him on the sideline feels right. It feels right to have him there with us, enjoying this moment, instead of him not being there."
This season, Davies was third on the team in scoring (11.1 ppg) and led the Cougars in rebounding (6.2 rpg). His absence doesn't squash all hopes of BYU making a deep run in the NCAA tournament, but it certainly makes it more vulnerable to certain match-ups now that the Cougars are without a true back-to-the basket threat and their best defensive presence in the paint.
Even though Rose said earlier this week that he believes Davies will play ball again as a Cougar, nothing is set in stone, and this may have been the last time the home crowd got a chance to acknowledge his effort.
And if anyone from BYU raises a stink about Davies snipping some twine on Saturday, well, that's just cold.