Jimmer Fredette not allowed to attend classes at BYU

Written April 13th, 2011 by Eric

Don't get distracted now.

This isn’t the NCAA violation that the headline makes it sound, however, its very much worth mentioning.

Wooden and Naismith award winner Jimmer Fredette, of BYU fame, has become such a celebrity at the school that his presence is a distraction in class. To that end, the University has requested that he no longer attend classes like a normal student, and instead finish his course work online.

It’s worth pointing out that BYU’s academic year ends earlier than just about any other university in the nation. Next week is finals for them, meaning that Fredette will miss about 4 or 5 days of class at most (assuming the news leaked not much later than the decision was made). That’s not a fatal result for a student in any scenario. It’s also worth noting that they are allowing him to complete his coursework.

However, as a teaching assistant at a university, I find this completely ridiculous. Is BYU so pathetic that they can’t control themselves enough to focus in class? Are they so undisciplined that they can’t pay attention to what actually matters? If one of my students were a star athlete on the Basketball team (not a small matter for this school) he would be viewed as any other student – as he should be.

This reminds me of a friend of mine who attended that institution in Provo, Utah. His parents were so concerned about his video game playing that they forbade him from having a computer while he was at school. Rather than teaching him the tough lesson of time management, they instead failed to trust him and made his decisions for him.

As a whole, there seems to be a wildly pervasive culture of “kids will be kids” in Utah.  There are very few repercussions for misbehavior, and kids often seem to be able to get away with any number of actions that might go punished elsewhere.  So, perhaps I shouldn’t find it so surprising that students at BYU can’t keep themselves under control in the presence of a star athlete. They must learn from a young age that their elders are there to be their sense of self-control, and that how they act doesn’t really matter.

45 Comments

  1. NateNo Gravatar
    April 13th, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    “There are very few repercussions for misbehavior”

    I wonder what Brandon Davies would have to say about this.

    [Reply]

    EricNo Gravatar
    April 13th, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    You’re right, any number of BYU student athletes have been punished for breaking the honor code.

    I am not, however, referring to the actions of student athletes. I am referring to the actions of the average population of young adults the state, which often goes unnoticed by their parents or law enforcement. Hence the “kids will be kids” mentality comment.

    [Reply]

    MaliBuckeyeNo Gravatar
    April 13th, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    Good take, Eric-
    Deadspin is doing a lengthy exploration into the Honor Code impact on BYU athletics, and worth the read.

    You’ve got to wonder, though, if “harassing Jimmer” might be added to the Code posthaste.

    [Reply]

    KenNo Gravatar
    April 13th, 2011 at 11:03 pm

    Thanks for the link, Mali, an interesting read.

    [Reply]

    NateNo Gravatar
    April 13th, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    The students who couldn’t help themselves from fawning over Fredette should be embarassed. And the administration could have handled the situation differently.

    I still think it’s a big jump from that to saying that kids who grow up in Utah are not taught to be accountable for their actions. Clearly you have some experience with Utah culture but I attended BYU and my experience showed me that the opposite of that is closer to the truth.

    [Reply]

    ErictBBCNo Gravatar
    April 13th, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    I appreciate you sharing your thoughts and experiences with us, particularly since you’ve attended the school. At least we agree that the University took the wrong action – that’s the heart of the matter.

    I’m definitely not arguing that kids who grow up in Utah are not taught to be accountable for their actions because of this case.

    I’m using the fact that *on the surface*, it seems exactly like some kids in Utah are not accountable to explain why there seems to be such a massive difference between the actions of BYU’s administration and its students, and every other university in the United States.

    Why does every other university manage to maintain it’s enthusiasm in class for its athletes, while BYU can’t contain it? Simple excitement doesn’t seem to do the job. Every other school gets just as excited for its athletes.

    Look at VCU, their players aren’t forbidden from attending class. Their players aren’t a distraction, despite a final four appearance.

    Clearly there’s a cultural difference – an inability to control one’s behavior, for example, set forth from a young age. This is heightened by the fact that BYU seems to go out of it’s way to control it’s students – more so than most other universities.

    Could there be another reason? Maybe. No-one has expressed one to me yet. If someone has another answer, beyond simple exuberance, I would love to hear it.

    [Reply]

    NateNo Gravatar
    April 13th, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    Well you’re right that this doesn’t happen at other universities. At least it’s the first time I’ve heard of it happening.

    It’s too bad that Jimmer couldn’t attend the rest of his classes. I don’t have all the details but I’m hopeful that this was an isolated incident. I also hope that in the future if any BYU students want to get pictures or autographs in the middle of a lecture, then that person will be asked to stay home instead of whatever sports celebrity they’re seeking out.

    [Reply]

  2. ChelseyNo Gravatar
    April 13th, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    “As a whole, there seems to be a wildly pervasive culture of “kids will be kids” in Utah. There are very few repercussions for misbehavior, and kids often seem to be able to get away with any number of actions that might go punished elsewhere. ”

    You took 2 scenarios, and came up with the above quote because of video games, and missing 4 days of class. Really???

    [Reply]

    ErictBBCNo Gravatar
    April 13th, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    *sigh*

    Again, that statement is made as a generic statement of the culture towards youth in the State of Utah, and has nothing to do with the 2 scenarios I point out. It is not a conclusion, but a continued observation.

    I’m arguing that the fact that the student body at BYU is unable to control themselves, and that the administrators at the school felt the need to take control of the situation in the way that they did, is simply the result of a larger issue pervasive in the state. Kids act, and the adults either remove the distraction (the video games), or they ignore it completely.

    In this case, they removed the distraction, functionally punishing Jimmer in the process. Jimmer does not get to enjoy the last couple of days of his college career like any other student, but instead has to do it from home. I do not believe like this is an acceptable alternative to the situation. If the student body can’t focus because of him, let them suffer the consequences for it.

    Unfortunately, the culture in Utah does not allow their kids to suffer consequences at all – hence the statement.

    [Reply]

  3. Dave DixonNo Gravatar
    April 13th, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    Can’t Drink, can’t smoke, can’t have sex, can’t have a beard, can’t be in a member of the opposite sex’s room after midnight, can’t wear revealing clothing, and… not to mention drugs, no greek societies… and if you do break one of these rules… guess what happens. Davies. As in the guy who gets kicked out of the school.

    Please tell me you weren’t a teaching assistant somewhere.. please. And wherever that is.. let me know and I’ll make sure to curve anyone I care about clear of it. I could give you stats after stats after stats.. but hey, let’s just say… some writers can’t handle homework.. they get to distracted.

    Now, try not to get to distracted by Jimmer, I believe you were trying to write an actual worthwhile article

    [Reply]

    EricNo Gravatar
    April 13th, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    And this Honor Code does what, exactly? It forces them not to think, and teaches them not to make decisions for themselves – precisely the point I’m trying to make.

    My point is that BYU has acted in an irresponsible manner, taking Jimmer Fredette out of his classes because his classmates are irresponsible and have no self-discipline – a menality emphasized by the mentality of the culture and heightened by the Honor Code.

    [Reply]

    MaliBuckeyeNo Gravatar
    April 13th, 2011 at 7:09 pm

    Gonna disagree with you here, Eric- Communities have the ability (and some would argue, the “responsibility”) to set guidelines for their members. Hence things like “speed limits” and “legal age to vote” and “licensing procedures for a rhinoceros”.

    To follow your argument, I should be able to think for myself when I drive 100 mph to the polling place (where I’ll vote “Whig Party” for the tenth consecutive year) while “Mr. Fluffy” polishes his horn in the back of the truck.

    On second thought… have you ever considered running for office?

    [Reply]

    ErictBBCNo Gravatar
    April 13th, 2011 at 7:48 pm

    There’s a difference between laws written for the safety of others, establishing consequences for properly dangerous activities, and laws written to govern morality and behavior, which is what this honor code is.

    Legislating morality is a great way to get a culture incapable of understanding and acting morally. All you manage to do is generate a society that knows there are certain “rules”, but not the reasons why those rules exist. It forces the person to consider every situation in the simplest terms possible, rather than considering the details that may separate it from other, similar, situations.

    College isn’t just about learning in the classroom. College is also about learning how to live outside of the immediate influence of your parents. If the College starts acting like the parents, that lesson is at best lost, or at the worst subverted.

    [Reply]

    MaliBuckeyeNo Gravatar
    April 13th, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    Well, I wish that college was learning how to live outside of your parents’ influence, but that’s not always the case (unfortunately).

    The phrase “legislating morality” is a bit confusing, since the very idea that legislation should exist implies a moral stance. Typically, people don’t get frustrated with morality being legislated as long as it’s a morality they agree with. Not that this is what you’re saying, I’m just getting my philosopher on.

    Developmentally, I’d much rather have conversations with young adults about choices and opportunities, but the influences they’re receiving tend to create their paths well before folks can engage them about what benefits and consequences a set of choices might have. So, I personally think it’s OK to give them guidelines that help them learn to go from zero to 40 rather than handing them the keys to the Ferrari and setting them free.

    Just to clarify- Are you pro Rhino or not? :)

    [Reply]

    KenNo Gravatar
    April 13th, 2011 at 11:10 pm

    Mali, I see your point about morality-legislation-agreement, as long as it’s evenly dispensed. Based on my reading of the deadspin article, I’d say it isn’t.

    MaliBuckeyeNo Gravatar
    April 14th, 2011 at 1:23 am

    as long as it’s evenly dispensed

    This would normally be the part of the program where I’d link to drug usage rates between Caucasian and African Americans, and the contrast it with the incarceration rates based on drug violations for the same subsets of folks.

    Instead, I’ll go with “yup, we agree”.

    KenNo Gravatar
    April 16th, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    I don’t agree with your analogy. An honor-code-in-a-private institution is quite a bit different than strictures in an open society.

    MaliBuckeyeNo Gravatar
    April 17th, 2011 at 1:07 am

    Agreed… particularly in the fact that a student chooses to be a part of a private institution, whereas a citizen has less flexibility in their compliance and allegiances.

    In an unrelated note, I’ll be blogging this week from my fantastic “shack” in “Montana”.

    MaliBuckeyeNo Gravatar
    April 13th, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    Well, I’m not sure that every student who goes against the Honor Code is dismissed (“kicked out of school”), again, the Deadspin article seems to support that pretty well.

    That being said, the discussion about the BYU Honor Code is an interesting one- If students knew what they were getting into, then there’s really no complaint (they could have chosen not to participate). If there’s a discrepancy between the ways that students who violate these are dealt with, then that’s another set of issues altogether.

    [Reply]

    ErictBBCNo Gravatar
    April 13th, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    Yea, I’m actually avoiding that point altogether. That’s a rats nest I don’t want to deal with, even if it does support my entire argument.

    [Reply]

  4. RandyNo Gravatar
    April 13th, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    I guess I don’t think it’s because the kids are “immature”– how would you feel if a classmate of yours was one of the most famous 20-somethings in the country? I look at it as more of a Mormon “celebrity watch”.
    And I guess I don’t feel that the fact that you knew ONE person’s whose parents were overcontrolling is enough to make an assumption about an entire campus or state.

    [Reply]

    EricNo Gravatar
    April 13th, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    I use him as an example, as I have plenty more where that came from – but that one happens to hit the bill quite nicely.

    I can easily tell you how I would feel if one of my classmates was one of the most famous 20 somethings – I’ve had several in my classes over my college career, most notably Anthony Gonzales, current Wide Receiver for the Indianapolis Colts. In fact, he was in my class not long after he made “the catch” against Michigan – one of the best plays we had seen all season.

    Do you know how we reacted to him being in class with us? We didn’t, because we were there to learn, and not to fawn over an athlete that happened to be taking classes with us.

    Are BYU students so inane as to be incapable of focus while a famous athlete sits in a room with them? Seriously? Come on.

    To further that point, has any other school ever taken an athlete out of his/her classes because they won the Heisman Trophy, or won the Wooden or Naismith awards, or any other award that might make them hyper famous? No. What makes BYU so different? You’ve had a heisman trophy winner and a national championship squad before, what makes this any different?

    [Reply]

    RandyNo Gravatar
    April 13th, 2011 at 8:45 pm

    First of all, it’s not “you”. I do not attend BYU, but I really respect what they stand for. So you may know a few overbearing parents–who doesn’t? Are they all affiliated with the same institutions? No. Nor are all “good” parents. Frankly, I simply don’t see how your example even applies. “Kids will be kids”? Is that a legitimate argument that ties your gaming friend to Fredette? I think a fairer evaluation would be: BYU is excited. It’s rare for them to make national news, and even rarer for it to be sports-affilated. Asking several people I know who attend BYU (one of which has a class with Jimmer), they say it’s usually a handshake or a good game, and that it’s when he’s OUT of class that people hustle more for autographs and photos. It’s just like an celebrity, which is truly what these students view him as. So, just laugh a little about how extremely excited they are (they probably won’t get another star like him for another thirty years). And let it go. It’ll all be over in a week.

    [Reply]

    EricNo Gravatar
    April 13th, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    Eh, I lost track and started talking at BYU again. My apologies.

    I’m sure it will be over soon, and I’d love to laugh at it, but it irks me that a kid is being removed from class because of his classmates.

    And how is it that BYU acts differently than VCU, who had a Final Four team for the first time in the history of its program? Those players weren’t removed from their classes because of the students actions. They’re just as much celebrities at their own institution.

    [Reply]

  5. John PNo Gravatar
    April 13th, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    I’m baffled by this article.

    [Reply]

    MaliBuckeyeNo Gravatar
    April 13th, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    Michigan alum? :D

    [Reply]

    Jeff at The BBCNo Gravatar
    April 13th, 2011 at 10:34 pm

    BOOYAH!

    [Reply]

  6. blutoNo Gravatar
    April 13th, 2011 at 8:35 pm

    It’s not his fellow students which are the problem ,it’s those d*** Agents he can’t avoid.

    [Reply]

    EricNo Gravatar
    April 13th, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    Now that’s an understandable problem!

    We sympathize with Jimmer’s plight against the evils of the sports agent world, and wish him the best in his attempt to avoid it at all costs.

    In all honesty, I didn’t realize he was having an agent problem – though it’s fairly obvious why he would be having one. At least it’s not a problem that could derail the BYU athletic department anymore.

    [Reply]

    Lurking_MichaelNo Gravatar
    April 14th, 2011 at 10:51 am

    If he’s played his last college hoops game, he’d have no reason NOW to avoid agents, would he?

    [Reply]

  7. BrianNo Gravatar
    April 13th, 2011 at 10:33 pm

    I’m happy that he actually attends classes. The reason you don’t hear about this issue with players such as Kemba Walker is because he probably doesn’t even attend classes. If anyone has ever heard him talk in an interview or anything, then you would agree. Jimmer seems to be a genuine student-athlete, and a good one at that.

    [Reply]

    Jeff at The BBCNo Gravatar
    April 14th, 2011 at 11:12 am

    That’s not at all racist or generalizing in any way..

    [Reply]

    MaliBuckeyeNo Gravatar
    April 14th, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    But all racists generalize, Jeff.

    /looks for sarcasm font

    [Reply]

  8. Jeff at The BBCNo Gravatar
    April 13th, 2011 at 10:35 pm

    Desperately want to tell Mormon jokes now….will hold off……

    [Reply]

  9. J-BirdNo Gravatar
    April 14th, 2011 at 12:37 am

    let’s tell Muslim jokes instead

    [Reply]

    KenNo Gravatar
    April 15th, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    Or jokes about any monotheism, for that matter.

    [Reply]

    MaliBuckeyeNo Gravatar
    April 15th, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    Well, we do have a vast Zoroastrian readership…

    [Reply]

    KenNo Gravatar
    April 16th, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    Then a lot of folks will get teh punch lines.. Well played, good sir.

    [Reply]

  10. Lurking_MichaelNo Gravatar
    April 14th, 2011 at 10:54 am

    BYU is no stranger to having well-known student athletes, though it’s been awhile. Jimmer-mania probably eclipses the notoriety of Steve Young, Jim McMahon, Robbie Bosco, etc., simply due to the advancement of the internet and social media. Still, it’s ridiculous to ban a kid from attending classes just because other kids can’t conduct themselves properly. Maybe “Thou shalt not hound celebrities” should be added to the Honor Code.

    [Reply]

  11. JeremyNo Gravatar
    April 15th, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    I must be on the wrong site. I’m looking for an update on Ohio State spring football…or possibly news of some happenings on the 2012 recruiting front. Can someone please dircect me to a site that covers Ohio State?

    [Reply]

    JimNo Gravatar
    April 15th, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    You’re in luck, here is the most comprehensive look at the players in the spring game that you will find on the web.

    http://www.thebuckeyebattlecry.com/?p=13679

    And here is a complete rundown of Ohio State recruiting in 2012.

    http://www.thebuckeyebattlecry.com/?page_id=8150

    Both are clearly visible and easily accessible from the front page of this very website.

    I understand that you are trying to be clever and make a joke, but you have only succeeded in demonstrating that you are very bad at this thing we call the internet.

    [Reply]

    MaliBuckeyeNo Gravatar
    April 15th, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    Just wait till we do our fifteen part expose on “famous Buckeye Mustaches in History”…

    [Reply]

    JeremyNo Gravatar
    April 16th, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    I said an update…not an article from last week previewing spring football. Besides, I wasn’t trying to make a joke, more along the lines of a point – that ragging on BYU really has nothing to do with the purpose of this web site. I mean, come on! we’re right in the middle of spring football! basketball is over. And the focus of this article has nothing to do with Ohio State in any way at all anyway.

    [Reply]

    MaliBuckeyeNo Gravatar
    April 16th, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    Ah… gotcha.

    Well, like most Ohio State media, our access to the team has been limited this spring- limited practice viewing, limited access to the student athletes, etc. In addition, it’s one of the “dead” periods in recruiting (until recently), so that’s another set of information that’s been missing.

    Plus, we cover Ohio State and college athletics across the country (as our SBP and TWTW features should attest to). Over the past twelve months, Buckeye fans have learned the importance of being aware of the national scene (conference expansion, NCAA investigations).

    So, that’s what we do. Hope you come back and play with us…

    [Reply]

    KenNo Gravatar
    April 16th, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    True, but this is really pretty good “filler” material. I wasn’t truly looking for any Spring Game reportin’ until this coming week.

    [Reply]

Comment On Article

Optimization WordPress Plugins & Solutions by W3 EDGE
Optimization WordPress Plugins & Solutions by W3 EDGE