Many colleges have honor codes. If you lie, cheat, or steal, you're out. But the suspension of a star athlete this week at Brigham Young University is sparking a nationwide debate over whether rules at the predominantly Mormon school go too far.
CBS News National Correspondent Ben Tracy reported on "The Early Show" that BYU was tearing up the court, the third best team in college basketball. But this week, they got trounced: Unranked New Mexico beat them by 18 points.
The Cougars were missing one of their biggest stars -- six-foot-nine forward Brandon Davies.
Sam Emery, a BYU student, told CBS News, "I don't think everything's lost, but I think the guys will definitely have to step up a bit."
The 19-year-old was suspended for the rest of the season after he reportedly admitted to having sex with his girlfriend. Premarital sex is a violation of the Mormon school's strict honor code.
Basketball coach Dave Rose said, "What you do is you move on; this is life. You're always expecting a fastball, and sometimes you get a curve; you've got to figure out how to hit it."
BYU's team was expected to make a strong run in the NCAA tournament later this month. Now both players and students are stunned.BYU tries to regroup without Brandon Davies
Carson Allen, a BYU student, said, "I was really excited for this, but I think we still have a really good shot at making some noise in the tournament."
The school says it knows most people won't understand its code, which also forbids students from drinking coffee and tea and growing beards.
BYU says it won't make exceptions for athletes. That's unlike, for instance, Ohio State, where five football players were suspended for selling their uniforms and championship rings, yet still allowed to play this year.
John Ireland, an ESPN Sports radio talk show host, said, "If you're going to set that honor code up, and you're going to insist students follow it, that they should enforce it. And that's what they've done here."
On "The Early Show" Friday, BYU Athletic Director Tom Holmoe and Communications Director Carri Jenkins spoke from Provo, Utah, about the situation with the team and Davies' future at the school.
When asked how he learned of Davies' breach of the school's honor code, Holmoe said it was head coach Dave Rose who told him, and then it "came through the honor code."
Holmoe said, "It was brought to my attention by our university, and at that time, I had an opportunity to sit down with Brandon and discuss the situation he was in, express my love to him, and tried to wrap him up in my arms and say, 'Let's go forward with this, and I get you back on track."'
"Early Show" co-anchor Chris Wragge, noted, "This decision had to have been very difficult. ... You've got a top-five basketball team, all this nationwide attention right now, potential national championship. Was it difficult for you and for the school to suspend him like this?"
Holmoe said, "It was a difficult situation. But the consequences for similar violations of the honor code have occurred, and we felt we did what was right. So (it was a) very difficult thing to do. But the decision was right."
Wragge said, "And just to be clear, all of these student athletes, all of your students, they have the honor code presented to them before they enroll. They have to read it, and then sign it, agree to it, so want to kind of get that out there. It's not like Mr. Davies didn't know the rules at Brigham Young University. Do you, at any point, though, think that maybe he deserves a second chance? Because I know honesty is also a part of your honor code, and he didn't lie about it. He didn't deny it. And he was quick to cop to it once you presented this to him."
Holmoe responded, "That's correct. Brandon was very forthright in his discussion about the incident."
He continued, "And we feel that he has a second chance. We are doing all that we can to keep him in the fold, and to make sure that he has access to the team, and that he'll be able to come and achieve the dreams that he had before, and he's excited to see the future and take care of business, to be able to do the things necessary to get back in full teamwork."
But Holmoe said Davies isn't coming back to the team this season.
"Part of the discipline is he won't be able to represent the team this season," Holmoe said. "We're working on doing everything we can to get him back on track for the future."
Wragge asked communications director Jenkins if Davies could potentially be thrown out of the school. Jenkins said the student athlete is currently under review by the university.
"His status is right now as a student," she said. " ... With any student, our intent is to have them graduate from the university, and so we're certainly working with him."
But what if Davies decides to transfer. Would he receive the support of Holmoe if he decided to play somewhere else?
"Yes," Holmoe said. "Brandon Davies is a good kid who's a great part of our team, who's brought a lot of success to our team this year. And as he goes forward with his life he has decisions to make. We're doing everything he can. He wants to be part of this family. His support system, in his life, his teammates, his mother, his coaches, and we feel that this is the best place for him, and we want to make sure that we do everything we can to keep him part of our BYU family."