With BYU set to play Florida in the Sweet 16 tonight, the Orlando Sentinel’s Mike Bianchi set out to write a piece focusing on BYU’s honor code in the wake of the Brandon Davies controversy. Sure, the issue’s been beaten into the ground already, but Bianchi went for it anyway. His angle: what if Florida players had to follow BYU’s honor code? He set about finding out. That entailed asking about premarital sex. Things got weird.
Bianchi documents the exchanges he had with Florida coach Billy Donovan, forward Chandler Parsons, and athletic director Jeremy Foley in his piece, which concludes that BYU’s run is “remarkable and refreshing” and “lifted college athletics up.” The responses Bianchi printed sound so uncomfortable it almost hurts to think about them:
Later, when I asked [Parsons] again to give me a percentage of UF players who have had premarital sex, he would only say, “We don’t share that information.”
Florida coach Billy Donovan was asked how hard it would be to lure players to UF if he had to tell five-star recruits they couldn’t have sex if they signed with the Gators.
Donovan, too, dodged the question.
“I’m not going to get into that,” he said. “I’ll pass on that one.”
We wouldn’t blame you if reading this made you think, “Come on, Bianchi…did you really need to go there? Is this really what we need to know?” Many did feel that way, like ESPN’s Andy Katz, who called Bianchi’s line of questioning “embarrassing journalism,” and 30fps’ Tim Burke, who went as far as saying Bianchi was a “pervert” for asking what he did.
However, one thing we’ll say is that seeing video of a couple of these exchanges, it doesn’t appear quite as squirm-inducing as it seems just reading about it:
Donovan doesn’t seem all too shocked to be fielding such a question from Bianchi (though of course he still wants no part of it), and Parsons at least got a good laugh.
We still wouldn’t have asked these questions ourselves, but we’ll concede that someone like Bianchi, who writes for a Florida paper and has developed a rapport with the people in Florida’s program over the years, probably knew what Donovan and Parsons would and wouldn’t consider appropriate. Perhaps Donovan’s reaction would have been different had someone he was unfamiliar with asked the same question, but in this case, he didn’t seem outraged.
In fact, our bigger criticism of Bianchi is something we mentioned in passing above – this story was a dead horse long ago. It’s been everywhere, with everyone from Jon Stewart to those who’ve experienced BYU first-hand weighing in. BYU did what it does when it’s notified of an honor code violation, Davies accepted. That was that.
This situation doesn’t: 1) need to be looked into further at all, at this point; 2) merit a BYU/Florida comparison. BYU is a private school with a strict religious affiliation. Florida is a large public state school. Comparing the two on “allowing premarital sex” grounds struck us as a little creepy, yes, but it’s also irrelevant. Each school is run a certain way, that’s fine, and pitting the codes of conduct of these two vastly different institutions against one another just isn’t worth it.
Photo via Mike Bianchi’s Twitter