But a new report by Deadspin says that things in Provo my not be as upstanding as they seem. According to the story, 60 percent of the students suspended or dismissed for Honor Code violations since 1993 are black males.
In the article a handful of former BYU football players detail their experiences with the Honor Code office and their perception that, as black athletes, they were treated more harshly than some of their counterparts.
"For every one black guy, I can also name you a white guy, another kid who just returned off a mission or didn't go on a mission who did the exact same thing and didn't get in trouble," says Tico Pringle, a black Mormon defensive back who played for BYU in 2006. "The black athletes get called on it. Returned missionaries don't get turned in. It's all hush-hush. It's political. You go to the honor code office and then you go and talk to your coach and your coach pulls strings if he needs to. A lot of the guys I know did things and they got away with it because strings were pulled. There are guys who got their girlfriends pregnant and didn't get in trouble. They pick and choose who they want to punish."Combine that with former BYU Jim McMahon's recent comments on how he (ahem) skirted the Honor Code and the university doesn't look quite so squeaky clean anymore.
But there are some coming to the school's defense. Mitch Harper, co-host of a BYU podcast and blog, immediately took aim at Deadspin's story.
The implication being that if recruiting trips were really alcohol-fueled orgies, as reported, Te'o wouldn't have ended up at Notre Dame.
Nonetheless, the university should be forced to answer for why the numbers of students punished skew so heavily toward a group that makes up a supreme minority of the student population. With the dearth of minority athletes on the BYU campus, the spotlight would tend to shine mostly on the school's white athletes. Are we to believe that they're all clean? Or that they're just good enough to not get caught? Neither answer seems satisfying.