4 March 2011
Last updated at 13:00 ET
A university in the US state of Utah has suspended a star basketball player for having pre-marital sex with his girlfriend in violation of the school’s strict “honour code”.
Brandon Davies was dropped after admitting the transgression to staff at Brigham Young University (BYU).
His team, ranked 3rd in the nation in college basketball, went on to lose against an unranked team on Wednesday.
The BYU honour code requires students to be “chaste and virtuous”.
BYU officials have defended the decision after the news was first reported by the Salt Lake Tribune, saying that students are fully aware of the rigorous code, and often choose the school because of it.
“We live this. This is who we are,” said Tom Holmoe, BYU athletic director.
The Utah-based university is run by the Church of the Latter Day Saints, also known as the Mormon church. All students agree to abide by the honour code, which reflects Mormon values.
The code includes prohibitions on drinking, smoking, drugs, tea, coffee, swearing and sex, as well as a commitment regularly to attend church.
Mr Davies suspension has garnered headlines across the country because it comes at the beginning of the prestigious NCAA tournament – a nationwide contest for university teams, often called “March Madness”.
The BYU team, the Cougars, were set to enter as first seed.
Mr Davies has reportedly apologised to his teammates.
In America, honour codes are mostly associated with military academies, but a number of universities, including the University of Virginia and Princeton, also enforce them.
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Student athlete suspended for sex