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That business about BYU

I've laid off a couple of days commenting on BYU's suspension of Brandon Davies for doing what college kids naturally tend to do, i.e., indulging their raging hormones. Mainly this is because everyone else is commenting on it, although for the life of me I can't understand why.

Doubtless it's because in today's 24/7 blogospheric news cycle, everyone tends to comment on everything, including whether or not human beings should A) breathe air, or B) not.

Anyway ... my comment on Brandon Davies is that there's no real comment to be made. He violated the school's honor code, which he signed in good faith. And, in good faith, the school meted out the clearly spelled-out punishment. End of story.

Whether you or I or your Uncle Fred thinks it's right or not is immaterial. The fact is, the kid knew the rules, owned up to violating them and accepted his punishment without protest. I believe they call this "honor" in some parts of the known world -- although because it's big-boy college sports, where concepts like honor are glimpsed only fleetingly, I can't say for sure.

What I do know is BYU just deep-sixed its shot at a No. 1 seed and deep run in the NCAA Tournament, which means (altogether now) it deep-sixed the cash that comes with it. And it probably didn't help its recruiting any, either.

In case you were wondering, this is a bewildering concept in college athletics these days, where the bottom line supersedes everything no matter how much blather you hear about "student-athletes." Fact is, at the D-I level, athletics is a business transaction and nothing else -- gladiators are contracted to enrich the schools with whom they sign, and in return the gladiators get an allegedly free education (though not really) and the promise that, someday, they'll win their freedom to become instant millionaires in the "pro" ranks.

In that construct, it benefits the schools to find ways around troublesome concepts like "honor." Which is why, as Louisville columnist Rick Bozich points out here, you still find Bruce Pearl coaching at Tennessee, and why Jim Calhoun lives on at Connecticut, absorbing a slap on the wrist for violaitons very much like what got Kelvin Sampson fired at Indiana.

(Where, Hoosier fans, you can at least take solace these days in the fact that your school didn't cut the usual corners in purifying itself after Sampson's many misdeeds, as Bozich also points out. It went the whole biscuit -- and, in the end, will be immeasurably richer for it).

As will BYU.

Ben Smith's blog.

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