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More from BYU's honor code press conference

Published March 4, 2011 2:57 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

I went to the Marriott Center on Thursday afternoon thinking it was going to be like any other non-game day chance to talk to BYU basketball coach Dave Rose about the next game, Saturday vs. Wyoming. And then a press conference broke out. A real, official, sit-at-a-dais-in-front-of-microphones press conference that featured director of athletics Tom Holmoe, BYU spokeswoman Carri Jenkins and, later, coach Rose. Obviously, it wasn't what I was expecting, and there was no advance warning from BYU that this was going to take place. Mostly, it was held to give the BYU officials a chance to explain the honor code to the nation, and much of the time was taken up talking about the processes and procedures that most ardent followers of BYU already know about. But there were was some newsy stuff, and you can read about some of that here. ———————————— Later Thursday night, I listened to the 35-minute session, which was all Q & A, and pulled out some of the more telling comments and quotes. Here are many of them from Jenkins and Holmoe, who have also appeared on some national morning television news shows today to discuss the honor code even more: Jenkins on why the school releases information on honor code reviews: "In working with out athletes, because of the attention that surrounds them, the media attention that they receive, when we are asked if there is an honor code review taking place, we will confirm that one is underway. ... We will respond as openly and as honestly as we can." Jenkins on what kind of calls BYU is receiving, and whether national media members are shocked: "The media that we have received, as far as the calls, if you look at the media that is out there now, the attention that we have received, actually very much reflects the importance that we place on the honor code here at BYU. While there is acknowledgement that it might not be understood, there is certainly respect that it is something that we uphold.""While it may not be always understood or agreed with. What there is, though, is an understanding of the integrity of the honor code. And it is something that is applied fairly to all students. It is something that we don't wink at. It is something that is upheld by every member of the campus community. That is something that we are seeing in the media right now, is a respect for the integrity of BYU's honor code." Jenkins on who made the decision to dismiss Brandon Davies from the team: "The decision was made by the university and athletics [dept.] that Brandon would not be representing the university on the basketball team for this season. Right now, what is happening is that there is an honor code review under way that will determine his status as a student, looking at his future on the basketball team. But with any review, with any student, the goal is that the student will graduate from the university." Jenkins on whether it possible for Davies to return to the team next season: "All of that is yet to be determined. ... We wouldn't [want to] speculate. Everything is handled on an individual basis. There is not a golden rule book." Jenkins on whether Davies has paid a heavy price publicly because of the scrutiny, and whether that will be taken into consideration: "I couldn't speculate how this particular case will be handled. But just to emphasize, every case is unique. And it is reviewed on an individual basis." Jenkins on whether Brandon Davies came to the honor code office first, or if someone tattled on him: "I would not know that. These are confidential matters and how they begin is certainly confidential." Jenkins on why the trigger was pulled when it was, the timing of news release on Tuesday night: "We were being asked by the media. Inquiries were coming in, and information was available to us that led to this decision. .. That did contribute [to the timing]. We were receiving media requests." ———————————— Holmoe was far more forthright in the news conference than Jenkins, as you will learn after reading the comments below. In his sixth year as BYU's athletic director, Holmoe has spent a lifetime in sports, beginning with his days as a California prep star, his playing career at BYU, his professional football career with the San Francisco 49ers, and his experience as an assistant coach in the NFL and a head coach at California. Holmoe on how involved the student is in the honor code review: "Just about every situation I have been involved with, student-athletes do want to come and have an opportunity to explain the situation [to the Honor Code office]. When they don't, they usually, just leave." Holmoe on the crush of media attention and whether it has surprised BYU: "It is very common in these situations where people won't understand. This is something for us. We live this. This is who we are, and most people that come to this school, hopefully all, understand that it is one of the reasons they come to BYU. We understand that people across the country might think this is foreign to them, and might be shocked or surprise. But we deal with this quite often. Obviously, this situation, because of the timing and our team and everything, brings a lot of attention. But we have handled it exactly the same way we would have if there was no media." Holmoe on how involved Brandon Davies is in the Honor Code review being conducted at this time: "Brandon Davies was involved from the very beginning. As a matter of fact, Dave [Rose] and I spoke, right off the bat, and the first thing we did was put our arms around him. Our number one thing then, now, and in the future is to look out for his best interests, to make sure that we can help him along in the process of getting him back to be with the team and to participate with the team and to get back on track to achieving all his dreams. So that is where it all starts. After that initial conversation, the way we process is, he goes and explains the situation. He has every opportunity. Dave and I were involved in that along the way, to be there and help him and support him. And he used us as a resource, and we were able to be there and help him as best he could to convey his feelings and emotions, and the way he was going to move forward." On whether Brandon Davies came to the honor code office first: "When I got involved with it, I wasn't the first person. But I am sure I was in it relatively early. He came to us, seeking our direction and counsel." On why it was handled the way it was, knowing that the media scrutiny would be tremendous due to team's ranking, etc.: "We have a lot of experience with honor code violations and issues in many different respects. And the one way that we are consistent in dealing with it, is that we do it right. You could come up with a lot of different ways in which you could handle it, but it wouldn't be right. And so when we evaluate the situation, it became clear to us that there was a step and a process, which we have evaluated in the past, that was serious enough to go forward the way we did." On whether school officials welcome this as an opportunity for BYU to get exposure and talk about its values and standards: "No. It is the last thing in the world that we would ever want to do. We love our students .. It is just a really bad break for our team, and our individual student athlete, who we all love. It is a very difficult time in his life. Preferrably, this would not occur this way ... There are times when I deal with honor code violations that you are not interested in. They are handled the same way." On why they made it public: "In this particular instance, Brandon Davies isn't going to miss a game without every one of you saying, 'where was he?' On whether Brandon Davies can hang around with the team during the review: "He is part of the team. He won't represent the university [in games]. He is well aware of that. Coach Rose is well aware of that. He is a valuable member of this team, and he is still in school. He will be around the team. The team has engaged him, and it is important that they be together." On why Davies isn't allowed to play while the review is going on: "There was a serious violation of which we were aware of. From that point forward, there are other parts of the investigation that we want to follow up on. But initially, we knew, from our experience of dealing with honor code violations, that we had the information that led us to believe that we could follow through with the discipline that occurred [to this] point."On whether Davies is paying a higher price for his mistake than he should be paying: "I think that I have been in athletics my whole life. Athletes, especially good ones, and ones on top five teams in the country, are public figures, and if it is not an athlete, we all know that people in the public eye have more scrutiny [on them]. And with media growing as it has, with blogs and the internet and tweets and all those things that occur, they are going to be under way more scrutiny. I think this is part of a transition that has occurred over the years. Right now, our student athletes have received incredible adulation. Jimmer. He wouldn't have got this. Danny Ainge didn't have this [kind] of run in the media as Jimmer did. So I think that with the media, you are going to see very great things and good things with publicity, and you are going to see some times now where it effects Brandon adversely. But I don't think there is a way that we can take an individual student-athlete at BYU and say, 'you are an athlete and we have to protect you from the media.' We don't want to throw them to the wolves, that's not our intention at all, but we understand that there have been in the past, high profile players are going to bring the attention of the media. "We won't relax the honor code for a situation that has to do with a basketball player." On how the honor code is applied and whether it is fair to all students: "As the athletic director, if I felt there were more difficult penalties for a student-athlete, because he was an athlete, I would advocate on behalf of the student athlete. Through the process, I would be able to express my opinions about that, and I would be an advocate for the student-athlete. It is not my decision, but I would be involved in that process. Like Carri says, I would advocate for fair treatment."