The greatest legacy of Brigham Young University is it's honor code. The identity of the institution is found in these famous words.
"I have been asked what I mean by 'word of honor.' I will tell you. Place me behind prison walls--walls of stone ever so high, ever so thick, reaching ever so far into the ground--there is a possibility that in some way or another I may escape; but stand me on the floor and draw a chalk line around me and have me give my word of honor never to cross it. Can I get out of the circle? No. Never! I'd die first!"
- Dr. Karl G. Maeser, founder of Brigham Young University
The principle taught in that quote is the foundation of what the university hopes those who enter learn and use as they go forth to serve. The importance of learning Dr. Maeser's lesson is so paramount in the mission of BYU, that a set of rules that go above and beyond the normal expectation of not just those in society, but even other Latter-day Saints is required to be agreed upon by all who attend the university.
Due to the superior requirements found in the honor code, it is often maligned by those who chose not to live it. Conversely, to the majority of students and alumni, its a treasured part of their lives.
Most LDS people live the best part of the honor code. They strive to live the Law of Chasity, Word of Wisdom, and do their work with integrity. But it's the standard asked to keep a particular physical appearance that comes through as petty and peculiar.
Modesty is subjective. Different scenarios require different standards in terms of modesty. It's clear that the University understands this. Otherwise, the uniforms for cheerleading, basketball, volleyball, ballet, etc. would look vastly different. But for every day living there are specifics for modesty and it's this removing of subjectivity that people blanch at. It isn't a sin to wear a beard, but at BYU there are penalties for doing so.
If it is okay in God's eyes, why is it a problem with you?
This is a universal sentiment wondered about the honor code. Why require more than God? It makes sense to those who have lived the honor code. It is the great lesson Brigham Young University teaches. Honor.
A student prescribes to honor code standards because they agreed to do so. The university enforces the honor code because the student agreed to them. There is honor in both.
The athletic programs are committed to instruction of honor and it has provided strong education on the topic. With the reach of the athletic programs, it is particularly important that the guiding principle of the university shine through. It is a way for alumni to continue to receive schooling on honor.
Everybody sees the rules for the NCAA as petty and peculiar. Again, this is due to making something subjective fit into specifics. What is amateurism? How can the NCAA as an institution possibly think they can uphold and teach the principles of amateurism when they are busy earning billions of dollars? The NCAA's instruction on the topic has lost its bite.
Regardless, no matter how hypocritical, unreasonable, or unfair the rules of NCAA are, didn't BYU agree to them?
If the allegations against Duane Busby are found to be true, what lesson will Brigham Young University teach next? Will their legacy lose its bite? "No. Never! [They'd] die first!"