By Mitchell Cook
Three more football players packed their bags for home last week, after reports of suspected Honor Code violations.
Many students think the Honor Code Office heavily scrutinizes student athletes, especially football players, more so than any regular student.
Carri Jenkins, assistant to the president for University Communications, said that BYU does not look at athletes more or less than any other student when it comes to Honor Code violations.
Brad Dowdle, 25, a senior from Philadelphia, Penn., thinks it”s the media that makes these stories bigger than they really are.
“The thing is that when an athlete violates the Honor Code, it is all over newspaper and the 10 o”clock news,” Dowdle said. “But, when Joe Blow BYU man violates the Honor Code, no one finds out about it.”
Because athletes are prominent figures in the BYU community, when one violates the Honor Code, the media will more than likely find out about it and highly publicize it, as opposed to any regular student that commits the same violation.
Steve Baker, director of the Honor Code Office, said athletes are not under heavy scrutiny by his office, at least no more than any other student.
“Each case [dealing with an Honor Code violation] is looked at individually, and then treated in a similar fashion as other cases and situations have been treated,” Baker said. “There”s room on each situation to take into consideration specific mitigating circumstances for that certain case. The committee performs a review and makes recommendations. It”s the same process for every student.”
However, BYU Athletic Director Val Hale told the Deseret Morning News that “athletes are held to a higher standard.”
“They aren”t just representing themselves,” Hale told the Deseret Morning News. “They are representing their families, their team, their university and the LDS church. If an athlete violates the Honor Code, it will make the news and will result in a black eye for all of those entities.”
One athlete, who asked to remain anonymous, said it is unfair that athletes are looked at under a microscope.
“Most of the time what they do isn”t even illegal, yet it always ends up all over the newspaper and the news,” he said. “They”re just normal people that made stupid mistakes. If it happened anywhere else besides Provo, no one would even think twice about it.”
Jenkins said because the public does not know all the circumstances behind why the university will discipline a student, it may look like the Honor Code will “come down” harder on one student than on another.
“Students cannot look at a certain case and speculate when they do not have all the facts,” Jenkins said. “There may be more than one offense, and the student will be dealt with differently than if it was the first time.”
Baker assures students that the Honor Code Office looks at each case on an individual basis and will deal with them personally, depending on the circumstances.
“The Honor Code Office doesn”t deal with athletes really anymore than they deal with anybody else,” Baker said. “We hold every student to the same standard of living.”