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Vai's View: Time is right for BYU to honor Jim McMahon

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  • gtread Sacramento, CA
    Sept. 7, 2012 5:56 p.m.

    Vai...I couldn't agree more. There's never been a greater quarterback at BYU, and there has been a long list of great ones to be sure. Jim was the only quarterback I've ever seen where the crowd cheered when BYU was called for holding, because that meant 10 more passing yards for him. Please put him in BYU, and Jason Buck and Moe too. And while you're at it...I'd love to see Shoeless Joe and Pete Rose enshrined. IF baseball can't do the right thing, at least BYU could.

  • Keisels Beard Overton, NV
    Sept. 7, 2012 6:44 p.m.

    Vai makes a very compelling case that is hard to argue against. I don't believe that BYU should make an exception to their rules on this. Once you make the first exception, it becomes easier to make the next. Eventually, everybody has a reason for an exception to the rules.

    Now, before anybody blasts me as being to rigid, what I AM in favor of is a change to the rules. Remove the graduation requirement. Or at least put in a clause that the graduation requirement can be waived for very specific reasons. Maybe require a non-graduate candidate to receive a unanimous vote from who ever is on the panel that makes the induction decisions. Whatever they decide. Make it hard for a non-graduate to be enshrined, but not impossible.

    Yes, a member of the BYU HOF should have graduated. But there should be a way for deserving players like McMahon be honored despite youthful (shall we say, immature?) decisions.

  • Wayne Rout El Paso, TX
    Sept. 7, 2012 7:27 p.m.

    Vai finally got one right. The time is long past to honor Jim McMahon. He was perhaps the best ever to play at BYU. Like the rest of us, Jim could well change some things in his life, but it is time to consider the bigger picture and honor him while he can still walk out on the field to receive the honor. There is a time and place to make exceptions to rules. Jim is one of them.

  • BigCougar Bountiful, UT
    Sept. 7, 2012 7:37 p.m.

    I agree with Keisels Beard. BYU should change the rule so that they don't have to make exceptions. I don't think putting a player in the BYU HOF who didn't graduate diminishes in any way the academic mission of the school or the football program.

    Vai, the case you made for Jim McMahon was good enough. Throwing in that bit about Mo was pretty whiney. He's a grown man who played in the rough and tumble NFL and he's going to let someone asking him about a haircut offend him to the point that he'll never go back? That's pretty weak.

  • 79Ute Orange County, CA
    Sept. 7, 2012 8:48 p.m.

    "In principle great clarity, in practice great charity," a great woman taught.

  • Heater BALA CYNWYD, PA
    Sept. 7, 2012 8:54 p.m.

    Great argument. And a good read. Big Cougar, 'throwing in that bit about Mo' wasn't "whiney." Maybe on Moe's part, but Vai was reporting an exchange that he had with him which explained why Eliwonibi hasn't been back to BYU. I love when people decide for others what should or shouldn't offend them. I guess Big Cougar is above being offended and nothing has EVER offended him. Give me break. A good writer gives you detail and offers perspective. What you gleaned from it was that Vai was "whiney" for sharing it. I read it and thought, "Hmmm, come to think of it, I've never seen Moe Eliwonibi at a BYU game since he left. So, that's why. Too bad." No more; no less. Reading of Vai's exchange illuminated and brought clarity to why we've never seen Moe. That's good journalism; not "whiney."

  • Linus Bountiful, UT
    Sept. 7, 2012 8:55 p.m.

    I can't agree with Vai. It is so recent that BYU sacrificed a successful run in the NCAA Basketball Tournament when Brandon Davies was suspended for violating the Honor Code. It seems that at BYU honor and integrity is more important than the honors of men. Jim McMahon was an extraordinary football player, but he didn't hide the fact that he flaunted the Honor Code. So please allow him to experience the law of the harvest. Let him reap what he has sewn. He had plenty of the world's honors. He was a Super Bowl MVP, for crying out loud. But let us not diminish the integrity of BYU and its renowned Honor Code by changing rules to accommodate those who didn't take their educational opportunity seriously.

  • BigCougFan Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Sept. 7, 2012 8:56 p.m.

    IF BYU were any other school I'd agree. Those other schools and institutions have lesser standards, weakened and clouded by graying boundaries. I do agree that Jim was the greatest QB in BYU history but just because he couldn't met the requirements doesn't mean the line should be lowered. Honor him in any other way but at BYU we shouldn't make "exceptions".

    Go Cougars!

  • Oatmeal Woods Cross, UT
    Sept. 7, 2012 10:04 p.m.

    At BYU we SHOULD make exceptions when it comes to honoring our alumni after lifetimes of service. Vai got this one right. The time period we have to do the right thing is disappearing.

  • staypuffinpc Provo, UT
    Sept. 7, 2012 10:04 p.m.

    We're going to hear these same arguments about all of BYU's greatest footballers. In recent memory, Austin Collie, Harvey Unga, and Luke Staley. Man, Staley had to be the funnest RB I've ever watched, hands-down. These athletes did more in less time than others couldn't do in 4 (well, except for Pitta, who surpassed Collie). These men were all great athletes. Interestingly, as Vai points out, you don't hear them issuing these complaints. They're seem to accept the decisions they made and know what they meant, so why we?

    Vai, you're wrong on this one, and it's not about appearances, as you suggest. It's about standards. As a church leader, what experience have you had when you see someone lower their standards. Ask yourself, if you were making this argument for your own son, is this the same thing you would want?

    Let it stand that these men are BYU's all-time greatest athletes. They will be honored in record books and in long-time lore. But then look to their acceptance letters, which all start off, "Dear student athlete." There's a reason student comes first.

  • MurrayMike Murray, UT
    Sept. 7, 2012 10:05 p.m.

    I think the greatest BYU QB of all time. I know, I know, Detmer, won the Heisman and Boscoe won the the Nat'l Championship, but week in and week out Jim McMahon threw for 300 yds, ran for 50 and just plain won week in and week out. The guy was a true leader on the field, where it counted. BYU ought to right now, give him and honorary degree and induct him in the BYU HoF during the last game of the season. We love ya Jimmy Mc.

  • Europe Topeno, Finland
    Sept. 7, 2012 10:12 p.m.

    Val, as always... I agree.
    But
    The question is not so simple. If athletic ability and performance are the sole requirements then LASSE VIREN should be there, as well. Lasse attended BYU for a short time prior to his 4 Olympic gold medals (Munchen 5000m, 10000m, Montreal 5000m, 10000m)
    I would be happy to see Lasse there, as well.
    It would be an honor to BYU.
    Jussi Kemppainen
    Student Trainer BYU, 1971 - 1974
    Olympic trainer 1972, Olympic attache 2002
    Finland

  • Prairie Dog Lubbock, TX
    Sept. 7, 2012 10:28 p.m.

    I don't agree with Vai on this one. McMahon doesn't care, neither do I.

  • El Chango Supremo Rexburg, ID
    Sept. 7, 2012 10:36 p.m.

    I agree with Vai

  • Supercool11 R-Valley, NV
    Sept. 7, 2012 11:13 p.m.

    Many college degrees aren't worth the tuition you pay. What is the point of a hall of fame if your best and most famous players aren't in it? Maybe Jim McMahon did flaunt the honor code, but the school sold a lot of tickets and let him play football through his senior year, so rumors of his off-the field antics should not be considered in this argument.

    It seems a little ridiculous for graduation to be a requirement. Imagine if Jabari Parker comes to BYU and the team makes a run in the NCAA tourney and wins a national title. Parker, rather than give up 30 million in lifetime earnings makes the logical move and jumps to the NBA at age 19. Now are you going to say thanks for the title, thanks for filling the newly remodeled Marriott Center every night, but sorry no Hall of Fame for you?

    Put McMahon and Jason and Mo in the hall or I won't donate to BYU.

  • SoCalChris Riverside, CA
    Sept. 7, 2012 11:15 p.m.

    I agree with Vai. However it can be done it should happen. BYU seemed to look the other way when he was playing. Why not give him a pass now. Why not let the 10 credits slide and give him an honorary degree?

    McMahon was the most exciting, entertaining and memorable of all BYU's outstanding quarterbacks. He should be honored for it.

  • jersey Mt Laurel, NJ
    Sept. 7, 2012 11:18 p.m.

    Did staypuffinpc REALLY compare Austin Collie, Harvey Unga, and Luke Staley to Jim McMahon? Jiminy Christmas......

  • ksmith Sacramento, CA
    Sept. 7, 2012 11:37 p.m.

    I don't agree. He should not be in the Hall of Fame.

  • SportzFan Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 8, 2012 12:00 a.m.

    Jason Buck in the HOF despite his lack of degree but because of his Outland? Never.

    Buck has brought as much shame as fame to BYU since he left. He's fronted for not one, but TWO Ponzi schemes (one of which cost Ty Detmer $2 million), and yet still had the audacity to run for Congress, and didn't have the grace, judgement, or gumption to drop out of the primary after the first round of ballots when he was 6th place and got 4.5% of the vote to the 2nd place candidate's 25%. The guy is self-deluded, and dropping the requirements for the HOF would just feed his delusion, not to mention show poor judgement on BYU's part.

  • AZ Dave Chandler, AZ
    Sept. 8, 2012 12:15 a.m.

    "Did Mac see inconsistencies and hypocrisy around him? Yes." Couldn't agree with you more Vai

  • wazzup Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Sept. 8, 2012 12:22 a.m.

    You can always count on administrators at BYU to look at thinks in absolutes, black and white. Why would an administrator say such a thing to Moe? Same thing with Norm Chow. Why don't they stick to administration instead of trying to judge people.

    God wants everyone to be a light to the world. Not a judge of the world!

    And for former NFL players suing the NFL. They all graduated from college. Did they really have to have the NFL tell them that continual blows to the head aren't good for the brain. C'mon. Even my 8 year-old knows THAT!

  • mediabiases Orem, UT
    Sept. 8, 2012 12:38 a.m.

    Why should JM be rewarded after opening mocking the honor code and making so many critical remarks about BYU? He once told a reporter that “You had to find girls who kept their mouths shut,” when asked how he got around the Honor Code. BYU isn't about being awe-struck over someone's fame and celebrity. It is about being honorable and respectful to people and institutions that deserve honor and respect.

  • Rick2009 MESA, AZ
    Sept. 8, 2012 12:39 a.m.

    He knew what the requirements were and he chose to ignore them. Yes he was one of the best to play at BYU but what does it say to younger players if BYU breaks their own rule. It may seem harsh but he made his choice when he had the chance. Vai you are dead wrong in this matter even if I did get choked up reading about his condition.

  • moderateinmagna MAGNA, UT
    Sept. 8, 2012 12:41 a.m.

    I agree whole heartedly with you VAI,McMahon was one of the greatest QB,s BYU ever had and he deserves to be honored, i don,t care 2 hoots and a holler if he graduated or not,yes he was a little wild and defiant but he did help greatly putting BYU on the map.

  • Solomon the Wise Alpine, UT
    Sept. 8, 2012 12:49 a.m.

    There's no question that Jim McMahon should be in BYU's Hall of Fame and there's no legitimate reason why a player needs to graduate in order to be eligible. BYU can continue to encourage athletes to graduate, even without the rule.

  • 1Infidel APO, AE
    Sept. 8, 2012 2:01 a.m.

    I can understand the emtional arguments for, and the upholding of standards against, and lean towards the latter.

    I would add here only that, according to what I read, McMahon is really, honestly, a lot further than 10 credits from graduation. While that may be what his transcript indicates, he himself, I believe, admitted that he often had others - a sister? - doing some of the work for him?

    He really did not care, and I think that his negativity towards the school, program, and coach who put him on the field and launched his career, gave him a chance when his school-of-choice spurned him, even in his relative youth, and so I don't know that BYU should roll over to the emotional appeal and diminish the continuing growing legacy of BYU's standards.

    I was in the stands loving his scrappy and unrelenting drive to gain yards and first downs, appreciating where heart compensated for lack of physical attributes, and where creativity created havoc for defenses, but I am not convinced. Best wishes to him in his current struggles and to his family that continues to seek his peace and happiness.

  • localblue Sandy, UT
    Sept. 8, 2012 2:33 a.m.

    I don't agree with Vai, mainly because BYU is one of the easiest schools from which to graduate with its online program, and I don't mean this as a compliment. The standards are so low for the online courses that they are regularly used by athletes at other institutions to pad their grades and earn some credits. I find it comical that some above are saying BYU shouldn't lower its standards to those of other institutions. The standards are already really low in some areas, and hence the lack of necessity to change the rules for Jim M. Frankly without these great athletes included in the HOF (and as Vai said he being included despite doing nothing at BYU) makes the sports HOF at BYU meaningless. I love BYU and bleed blue but some of the hypocrisy and holier than thou attitude that goes on both at the institution and by some alumni (as seen above) is enough to also make me ever consider returning to campus. Too bad I'm a nobody so it doesn't really matter...

  • Chris Degn Seoul, Korea
    Sept. 8, 2012 2:34 a.m.

    I agree!!! Everyone knows the GREATEST BYU football game ever played was Jim's come-from-behind Mormon Miracle Bowl game. We all watch it! We all love it! I say grant him an honorary BA/BS degree and induct into the BYU Hall of Fame this year.

    Chris Degn
    class of '88

  • gdog3finally West Jordan, Utah
    Sept. 8, 2012 6:11 a.m.

    Honor your football history and let the younger generation be reminded who the greatest BYU football player of them all was. The BYU HOF should have McMahon in it.

    Jim has paid the price for not conforming, but he has also done it his way and stood tall. His toughness and courage also took many hits. I remember one late hit that gave Jim a serious concussion.

    By and large, I believe the fans want Jim to be honored. Fans show up to support team despite what is shown or not on ESPN. 10 credits shy of a degree? Only the rule makers care about that. The rest of us want McMahon in the HOF already. Like Vai said, "what good is the hall if the best players aren't in it".

    Hey little Jimmy, here's the best player to ever earn a degree. The time is right to change policy or get McMahon an honory degree.

  • yarrlydarb Ogden, UT
    Sept. 8, 2012 6:57 a.m.

    I don't often disagree with Vai, but I do on this one. The purpose of a university is for students to graduate, not achieve sports stardom.

    Jim could have gotten his degree over the years but it was obviously not important enough to him.

    Higher education is already too involved in being the farm teams for the pro.

    I think Vai is way, way off on this one.

    Jim was a football hero in the pros where stardom is fine, but a star as a pro does not make him a star student athlete.

  • windsor City, Ut
    Sept. 8, 2012 7:14 a.m.

    I agree. Hope BYU will do it while Jim is healthy enough to enjoy it.

    He did a lot for BYU football and hope it is an idea the powers-that-be are presented with and agree to do.

  • EMBO23 Riverton, UT
    Sept. 8, 2012 7:29 a.m.

    From a BYU grad and Cougar fan, make it happen. Jimmy Mac should be in.

  • The Biz Logan, Utah
    Sept. 8, 2012 7:48 a.m.

    Well said Vai!

  • Pipes Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 8, 2012 7:48 a.m.

    Well said Vai! I agree with you 100%.

  • JDL Magna, UT
    Sept. 8, 2012 7:54 a.m.

    I'm Sorry Vai, to induct Jim McMahon into the Hall of Fame would be far more disrespectful to the vast numbers of young men and women who do live their lives with exactness and honor than it will be to Jim McMahon to not be inducted.

    With all due respect, Jim knew the rules going in. "Men are instructed sufficiently that they know good from evil, and the law is given unto men, and by the law no flesh is justified."

    As much as I liked JM's play on the field, his willful flaunting of the rules he agreed to abide by and the constant disrespect he showed to BYU throughout his pro career and life cannot be overlooked when compared to those who live a Hall of Fame worthy life and expect nothing in return.

    It would send the wrong message and undermine who and what BYU is.

  • jmchess1 Kemah, TX
    Sept. 8, 2012 7:56 a.m.

    I can't believe that BYU (coaches and/or the admin)were not aware of Jim's behavior while he was playing at the school. If what I've read about McMahon is even close to being true - as far as his on and off campus activities are concerned - then surely some of that got reported up the line. If that's the case then Jim and BYU are guilty. McMahon should have been put on probation or kicked out of school. Look at the Penn State example of what can and should happen to a school that is aware of infractions (moral or otherwise) and doesn't properly act.

    Either allow McMahon in (for both he and BYU are at fault) or wipe out all four years of McMahon's records while he was at BYU.

    I think both should repent(to each other)and FORGIVE EACH OTHER, Let the records stand, let McMahon in, and move on.

  • gchris rock springs, wy
    Sept. 8, 2012 8:23 a.m.

    I haven't read the SI article, but it seems that Jimmy Mac might have bigger problems. The whole "high standards" issue at BYU will always present these "Hobsons' choices." The rigidity with which the rules are applied leaves little room for compassion, charity or individual expression. The comment to Mo about his hair demonstrates that perfectly. As a BYU student who actually perferred short hair in "the age of Aquarius," I found it odd that none of the statues on campus could have passed the dress code. While I accepted and lived the Honor Code, I thought life at BYU was a little like living according to Leviticus and avoiding the Pharisees. Jim McMahon's contribution to BYU goes far beyond the HOF. His number should be retired and hung next to Steve Young's at LES. A statue of LeVell Edwards with his arm around Jim McMahon should stand in front of the stadium and every BYU fan should send him a letter thanking him for his contribution to their school. Oh, and an honorary degree might be in order, also. Then, Sunday sermons about charity and compassion might mean something.

  • BlueHusky Mission Viejo, CA
    Sept. 8, 2012 8:46 a.m.

    Vai is right. BYU football put the school on the map and its great players should be awarded in the BYU Hall of Fame based on how they played, not whether a grown man should meet an arbitrary grooming standard. I don't think BYU should regulate anybody's hair! They allow tattoos - why not long hair and dreads? The 1965 anti-hippie regulation can be dropped now, I think.

    As for Jimmy Mac and Jason Buck, well, they were great football players. That should count for something.

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    Sept. 8, 2012 9:04 a.m.

    BYU is a unique institution and has high standards. BYU considers graduation very important. They should stick to those standards. If a player doesn't meet those standards, he doesn't get in the Hall of Fame. If a player wants to get in the Hall of Fame he must meet those standards. That's it!

  • timpClimber Provo, UT
    Sept. 8, 2012 9:17 a.m.

    Jim never lived the honor code or met the required academic standards while at BYU. Sure he was a great football player but BYU is one of the few schools that tries to see that all students and faculty live by the honor code. I wish Jim the best but not this honor.

  • t702 Las Vegas, NV
    Sept. 8, 2012 9:20 a.m.

    another example byu folks are in a bubble and unreasonable - please get out of Provo to see that there is more to life than the honor code

  • USAlover Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 8, 2012 9:25 a.m.

    BYU Administration's track record of people skills is not stellar.

    Don't plan on Jim's acceptance. Sending Jim best wishes in his newest and scariest challenge in life.

  • teleste Austin, TX
    Sept. 8, 2012 9:26 a.m.

    If there is a set-in-stone-rule that one has to be a graduate to be inducted into the HOF then BYU should really uphold the rule. Every member of the 1984 team that didn't graduate should be removed. Their faces should be sanded out of the team photo. (See, doesn't that rule seem silly now?)

    BYU let McMahon play and reaped the benefits of the ticket sales/football victories...so keeping McMahon out of the BYU HOF due to Honor Code standards would be complete and utter hypocrisy on part of the school and those who support that decision.

    Jim McMahon IMO is the greatest football player to have ever played for BYU. As long as BYU is going to keep Foot'Baal' as an item to be worshipped--Mac should definitely be inducted.

  • Andrew J. Marksen Deseret, UT
    Sept. 8, 2012 9:27 a.m.

    There is the desire to be great, and a great desire to be different. At BYU often times these intersect and when they do, it causes problems among the Cougar faithful. Those of us who grew up in the 80’s remember the hypocrisy, and gotcha attitude. High profile athletes, and many low profile athletes can attest to the climate created by those with the great desire to be different. Those of us who were watching BYU in the early to mid 80’s tasted a level of greatness that may never be duplicated again at BYU. We also know the stories, because again that incessant desire to be different caused tremendous problems. Jimmy Mac called it how he saw it. The one undeniable fact about the man was his desire to be great, and be himself. Vai is correct the hypocrisy runs deep. The Mo story highlights that. There must be application of principle tempered by compassion and mercy. What harm would be done by inducting Jimmy Mac? Forgiveness is not always about convenience. As BYU faithful, we must evolve past the great desire to be different and desire to be great. We can do better.

  • staypuffinpc Provo, UT
    Sept. 8, 2012 9:30 a.m.

    The point isn't to compare McMahon to these others, but to highlight that many of BYU's greatest footballers also don't qualify for HOF honors. Vai is advocating a clear double standard here and if he's honest with himself, he'll acknowledge it. Giving this award to McMahon would be a very slippery slope, as many of BYU's all time greats are in the same boat.

  • Blue Rampage Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 8, 2012 9:41 a.m.

    How about a completely NEW rule for BYU? A rule that BYU administration and others can try to apply on a daily basis. A rule that all too often is subordinated by so many of the other rules at BYU. The rule I suggest is something I will steal from my former employer, IBM:

    "RESPECT THE INDIVIDUAL."

    Thank you, Vai Sikahema for pointing out an area where BYU can improve. There are many instances and this is only one. Over time, as any organization grows, the tendency is to gradually replace "respect for the individual," with "preserve the organization." As this happens, people become marginalized, treated like numbers or objects rather than human beings. This is rampant at BYU just as it is with many large institutions.

    Jason Buck has carried the flag onto the field. He's somewhat regular around campus on special occasions. He's LDS and hasn't fallen through the cracks. But a few other people have and it's time to start practicing what we preach.

    Who has Mo Elwonibi's phone number?

  • Denver Brad Highlands Ranch, CO
    Sept. 8, 2012 9:46 a.m.

    Vai, the thing about standards is that once you compromise, no matter what the reason, it's no longer a standard, and it can never be taken as a standard again once compromised. You yourself take the opportunity of talking about Jim to open the door to others. You aren't calling for an exception, you're calling for the standard of a college degree to be eradicated.

    BYU has chosen to honor STUDENT athletes--those who have used college athletics for the reason college athletics exist and have used their time not only to play a game, but to better themselves through education. Jim McMahon not only failed to do that at BYU, but he failed to do it in the decades of life after BYU when neither time nor money were an obstacle. What you're calling for is for BYU to give accolades to those who do not represent the BYU value of education over sports. The same mindset that led to the downfall of Joe Paterno. Compromise is but the sacrifice of one right or good in the hope of retaining another - too often ending in the loss of both--Tryon Edwards

  • NMcoug Edgewood, NM
    Sept. 8, 2012 10:14 a.m.

    Vai makes a compelling case. However, If Jimmy Mac truly doesn't care, I don't know what good it would do to change the standard. I think a new category for HOF players who didn't graduate would be appropriate.

    I am sorry about what was said to Mo. Those are the kind of careless words by a BYU administrator that tarnishes the otherwise great experience that is BYU. However, anyone who has spent time in the BYU environment for a few years while pursuing their degree has run into that kind of self-righteousness from the occaisional student or staff. I don't hate on BYU for that. I chuckle, and I move on. So should Mo.

  • PGVikingDad Pleasant Grove, UT
    Sept. 8, 2012 10:37 a.m.

    I am a former BYU athlete, and I wholeheartedly disagree with Vai. Jim's current condition is indeed tragic, but Jim has been very clear about his lifelong disdain for BYU. He was never proud to say he was from BYU, and you admit he doesn't even care about BYU's HOF. So, tell me again why he should be the player for whom we should lower our standards?

  • Heater BALA CYNWYD, PA
    Sept. 8, 2012 10:46 a.m.

    Local Blue - Vai is being extremely modest in assessing his own BYU credentials for the HoF, so for you to say he did "nothing at BYU," is comical to those of us who watched him play. Arguably BYU's most famous play -McMahon to Brown to beat SMU would not have happened if 17 year old freshman Vai Sikahema doesn't return a punt 83 yds in the 2nd Q. That was just the beginning of what was an outstanding college career that landed him in the NFL, where he blossomed. Ask someone in your ward who may have seen him. Great as he was though, turns out he's even better with the written word. I can tell you as a Philadelphian, he's highly regarded in our city, it's a tough place, but he's beloved and respected. Obviously, more than in Sandy, UT.

  • Bifftacular Spanish Fork, Ut
    Sept. 8, 2012 11:12 a.m.

    Vai, I agree with you. If McMahon was good enough to stay on the team (and I mean that in every sense of the word), then he's good enough to be honored. If BYU had a problem with his violations of the honor code than they should have kicked him off the team - that obviously didn't happen because of his unique talents. Not honoring him makes BYU look petty and by honoring him, very little, if not nothing, is lost by BYU.

  • CA. reader Rocklin, CA
    Sept. 8, 2012 11:16 a.m.

    What some are overlooking is the fact that McMahon owes just as much to BYU as some of you think BYU owes him. Who else recruited him? He said he wanted to transfer to Notre Dame after Marc Wilson started ahead of him 1979. Did Notre Dame have any idea who he was? Even if he had gone there, he would have spent what games he did play handing off the ball to some "star" recruit. He would not have been drafted in the first round by the Bears, maybe not drafted at all. Obviously his talent and drive would probably led to a tryout and an NFL career but he would never have made nearly the money he did.

    In addition to totally disprecting the Church, BYU and the opportunity it gave him he has continued to portray himself as a victim. He claims he was kicked out of BYU yet in his book he joked about how he left school simply because he got a letter from the Honor Code folks. Now he shames himself and his family his continued immorality. That leaves a lot to be desired as someone to be honored by BYU.

  • PapaSmurf Rocklin, CA
    Sept. 8, 2012 11:47 a.m.

    Vai, I enjoy your work but I completely disagree that Jim McMahon should be inducted into the BYU HOF. I respect what he did on the field, I enjoy his competitive fire, I loved his unique sports personality.

    However, I grew up in the house of a BYU administrator. Jim did things beyond what has ever been discussed publicly. Things that not only put himself in jeopardy but others as well. Maybe if it had been confined to things that affected him only, I would be willing to look the other way. When it affected others, put others at risk, and he has NEVER apologized or even spoke about it, then no way he belongs in anyones HOF, ever. And it wasn't just items I overheard, I attended high school at that time and Jim's actions affected classmates of mine as well. And it was not confined to items of moral codes, it was beyond that.

    I believe there is a reason Jim doesn't care and BYU does. Having observed Jim for a long time, I am fairly confident he will never discuss those things let alone apologize for them.

  • BleedCougarBlue Enid, OK
    Sept. 8, 2012 11:58 a.m.

    Look, I LOVE Jim McMahon. That guy was the biggest stud EVER at BYU. His 'in your FACE' competetive attitude, athletically speaking, is sheer genius and BYU was blessed beyond belief to have a guy like him.

    However....

    BYU is, first and foremost (as is every other college throughout the world) a place of academic learning, NOT a sports machine. Because of that, academics has to have priority. Think about it: the NCAA refers to them as "student athletes" and not "athlete students".

    Yet I would LOVE to see Jim McMahon in BYU's Hall of Fame.

    So, what to do?

    Easy. BYU should, at the school's expense, pay a tutor(s) to tutor Jim through the last few classes. Literally send the tutors to Jim home town, cover their housing, their food and their transportation, for as long as it takes, and help Jim finish the classes he needs.

    BYU goes the "extra mile" to help someone (which our religion believes), Jim McMahon earns a college degree, BYU doesn't have to bend the rules, Jim enters the Hall of Fame and adoring and grateful fans are happy.

    Everyone wins.

    Piece of cake.

    What do you say, BYU?

  • WA_Alum&Dad Marysville, WA
    Sept. 8, 2012 12:02 p.m.

    Via did a good job providing his perspective as Mac's friend and fellow player. From the perspective of a student who was in the stands cheering the teams they played on, I can't agree that BYU should continue to make exceptions for McMahon. Regardless of how good he was as a player, he despised what the school stood for and delighted in being the source of embarrasment to it. I and all of my fellow "nobody" students I cheered with knew that if we were caught doing a tenth of what Mac was doing, we'd have been gone that same afternoon. We were relieved to see him move on. That said, I was glad to see him back and honored as one of BYU's AA QBs.

    He's had a lifetime to complete his degree. If he's had no interest in doing so, why should it be BYU's fault he (once again) didn't meet a minimum standard expected of everyone else?

    Honor him in every other appropriate way. Don't let him be an embarrasment to the university one more time.

  • Biased Coug Canyon Lake, CA
    Sept. 8, 2012 12:04 p.m.

    I was the editor of the Daily Universe during Mac's senior year. We devoted a senior investigative reporter to see if all the talk about the wild lifestyle of our QB had merit and worthy of official disclosure by the school's student newspaper. This reporter spent months on the project and found some incidents we could have disclosed, but chose not to. Clearly, Mac didn't live the classic BYU lifestyle, but it wasn't so outrageous that we chose to ruin his BYU career by running the story. I'm with you, Vai, it's time to simply remove the graduation requirement from the Hall of Fame criteria.

  • Hawkyo SYRACUSE, UT
    Sept. 8, 2012 12:35 p.m.

    ugh, too many people on here are using the word "flaunt" the wrong way. The teacher in me is cringing! McMahon was a great player. There ought to be a way to honor his blood, sweat, and well, he probably never shed tears so we'll say swears. He did flaunt his violations of the honor code, but again, that was a long time ago. He was a dumb college kid. Don't any of you remember being at that stage? He's come back to BYU. To my knowledge never said a bad word about Lavell, just some of the hypocrisy he saw at the Y. Let's be honest, that is one of the biggest gripes BYU haters have against us Cougar fans. We do have need of repentance. Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's. Render unto Mac the athletic accomplishments he has earned. Let Mac's personal choices work themselves out. It's really none of our business how he makes his peace with his maker. Judge not unrighteously.

  • jttheawesome Scranton, PA
    Sept. 8, 2012 12:55 p.m.

    There's this thing amnongst those of us who call ourselves Christians called "Grace,", something that seems to be lacking here. For that school administrator to have grilled Jim on why he didn't get a haircut for his visit to the school reeks of legalism - or "Phariseeism," as Jesus would have called it. If Jim McMahon had been the repentant thief on the cross next to Jesus, I somehow don't think Jesus would have required him to get a haircut before he could get into Paradise. Lighten up, folks - we all need the Grace of Jesus Christ, but if He held us to the same standards that some are holding Jim up to, none of us would ever recieve that Grace.

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    Sept. 8, 2012 1:22 p.m.

    A lot of people contributed to BYU's success who did not buy into the culture of the campus. Jim was perhaps more "in your face" about being different, but he was just one of many such players who built that stadium down in Provo and brought forth the glory years even though they were not LDS. The time to recognize Jim and many others is past due.

  • AJF American Fork, UT
    Sept. 8, 2012 1:22 p.m.

    I believe it's the right thing to do for BYU to recognize Jim McMahon's athletic legacy and his contributions to BYU. For him to academically qualify to be inducted into the BYU football hall of fame BYU could give him an honorary degree, then by having a BYU degree he would academically qualify to be inducted.

  • gdog3finally West Jordan, Utah
    Sept. 8, 2012 2:23 p.m.

    Honor code or not, things were different at BYU when McMahon played. McMahon was wild and everyone knew it. BYU allowed him to play football for four years despite this.

    Today the parameters that the administration and Bronco set are not the same loving and patient setting LaVell Edwards set. McMahon didn't do well with judgmental dogmatic dictators like Mike Ditka in Chicago. McMahon wouldn't do well under the current Bronco regime, but that doesn't change the fact that BYU let McMahon play until he was done with football eligibility and shown the door. Isn't that what stopped him from getting his degree?

    McMahon was the greatest Cougar ever I believe, even more than Young. Disagree if you will, it's okay, but McMahon belongs in the football hall of fame. The honor code hall of fame should not exist. McMahon gave BYU football it's national recognition birthplace.

  • gdog3finally West Jordan, Utah
    Sept. 8, 2012 3:05 p.m.

    For those on the honor code soap box. It's an ideal that you don't want compromised right? I get it. But again, look in relative terms. If Mac was good enough to play, break records and represent your school when he played, then why not honor him now? Mac was not kicked out of school when eligible for football. That is hypocrisy to say he is not worthy after the fact in my opinion.

    Players who suffer honor code discipline now may be guilty of things milder or possibly even more extreme than Mac, but if the hammer comes down then it does. It never did on Mac. BYU is more letter of the law now. I am not saying that is bad. What I am saying is that if you must judge, judge according to the parameters in place when a given player (Mac here) was at BYU.

    BYU's administrative judgement quells honor from McMahon now, but BYU lacked that same honor in the late 70s and early 80s for using McMahon for on field success.

    What now is was not before. I understand arguments against honoring Mac, but they are based on current view.

  • Roscoe West Jordan, UT
    Sept. 8, 2012 3:14 p.m.

    Jim McMahon was good enough to watch play. He filled seats and brought in millions in revenue to BYU. He played successfully in the NFL and won a Superbowl. Somehow he isn't good enough to be honored in the BYU Hall of Fame? It's time to induct him while he still has the capacity to appreciate the gesture. I agree with you, Vai.

  • gdog3finally West Jordan, Utah
    Sept. 8, 2012 3:23 p.m.

    My comments BYU's honor code are perhaps unfair in this specific topic. Although Mac's wild side is often brought up here, I don't think the BYU administrators have said publicly that this stuff would keep Mac out of the HOF. It's always about the degree right? If so, why is that? Maybe it's because the school realizes that letting Mac play football would make them hypocritical relative to honor condemnation.

    Outside of public communication forums, I don't know if the honor code platform is being talked about in regards to keeping Mac out of the HOF (behind closed doors so to speak). Thus, I won't go there anymore. Still, I hope these types of talks aren't a reality. What I do hope is that the said reason for keeping Mac out can be resolved. Hopefully Mac and BYU will care enough to make a few college credits happen. That said, I would still like the graduation requirement dropped. I don't just say this for Mac, but for other greats and future greats to come.

    If a future star honors BYU, turns pro early, and never gets a degree. Then what?

  • OnlyInUtah Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Sept. 8, 2012 7:50 p.m.

    I just can't agree Vai... lowering the standard for the HOF would be like giving a temple recommend to a smoker or non-tithe payer but because they've bee the best scout master ever.

    Jim was a great player but the requirements for the HOF shouldn't be changed just because we feel sorry for him.

  • oldcougar Orem, UT
    Sept. 8, 2012 10:09 p.m.

    The hall of fame should be for accomplishments on the athletic field. To not honor great athletic achiever for not graduating strikes an odd chord. Aren't a diploma and other honors for academic high achievers enough? Why tie athletic achievement to academic achievement? Should we require a valedictorian to also letter in a varsity sport? Another contributor mentioned Jabari Parker...who, if he chooses to play at BYU, will not likely play four years and graduate. If he were to accomplish on the basketball court what many think he's capable of, would it make sense to keep him out of the hall of fame?
    And, for those who keep speculating on Mac's alleged honor code violations, thezs violations are not cited as the reason he is excluded from the HOF...it's his lack of a degree. I dare say others in the HOF have been guilty of honor code violations...or innocent victims of the standards police. The honor code is not at issue here.

  • Blue Cougar Oak Harbor, WA
    Sept. 8, 2012 10:22 p.m.

    I think that BYU should never have instituted the graduation rule--it punishes anyone who leaves early to pursue their sport. As for McMahon's past behavior and current lifestyle--if BYU is willing to use Jim McMahon in a commercial, then apparently, his lifestyle is good enough. He was a truly great ahtlete, and he's promoting BYU now. But don't forget the many times that he's visited our troops overseas, paid for former colleagues' drug treatment, and helped out other people in need. Time to honor him.

  • AZJazzFan Gold Canyon, az
    Sept. 9, 2012 12:09 a.m.

    I disagree. I am a big fan of Jimmy Mac as a player but outside of that he did not represent the university well. He doesn't care so why should we. We already honor him in other ways. As many others have written, why should we lower the standards? Does his athletic accomplishments overide his disdain for rules and the university? Sure he did a lot for BYU, but BYU did a lot for him. He is lucky he was not kicked out of school. The program still would have continued to be successful.

    As for Mo, too bad the big guy let one person's comment taint his view of the whole university.
    I usually agree with Vai but not on this one. Go Cougars!

  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    Sept. 9, 2012 6:35 a.m.

    This is the first article you've written Vai that I agree completely. Good Call.
    BTW Collie, Unga and Staley can't tie Jim's shoes.

  • mohokat Ogden, UT
    Sept. 9, 2012 11:35 a.m.

    Vai I disagree. McMahon has done nothing but bad mouth BYU and mock it at every chance.

  • AJF American Fork, UT
    Sept. 9, 2012 12:44 p.m.

    It is time for BYU to reward Jim McMahon for his athletic legacy and contributions to BYU by inducting him into their football Hall of Fame. If the only issues is that he doesn't have a BYU degree then the school should award him an honorary one ( ie.the spirit of the law vs. the letter of the law) which would then qualify him for induction.

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    Sept. 9, 2012 1:41 p.m.

    I belive that Jimbo should be in.
    All the talk about the honor code means nothing. The Y ignored it, as in Jim's case, until his usefullness was done, then they went after him. I for one do support the honor code, but I found it to be the Law of Moses. If your Bishop passes you, then you shuld be left alone and let Agency govern. If you screw up and you don't get the ecclesiastical endorsement the next year then you are out. Once you have the endorsment, then you could assume that the university trusted you. The positive to that would be, that the self righteous honor code gestapo students would be out of a job. If a temple recommend lasts for two years, and you are trusted to live your life for those two years in a good way and tillattend the temple, then why can't the Y treat students in a manner consistant with the higher law of Christ?

    Forgive McMahon, move on, and let him into the hall of fame.

  • nunya sacramento, ca
    Sept. 9, 2012 4:24 p.m.

    so Jim's failure to plan and accomplish what he already knew he needed to do is now an emergency on BYU's part? I doubt that's how u raise your kids Vai......why do u want BYU to do otherwise?

  • Aloha Saint George Saint George, Utah
    Sept. 10, 2012 9:47 a.m.

    I agree with you Vai. What does the Hall fo Fame represent- the best players for the sport they played. Does it give them a life time temple recommend?? Free passes in the suites to games? An honorable degree? NO

    HOF is great place to remember players who excelled on the field. Should they honor those who have disgraced themselves off the field such as a Pete Rose- of course not!! It's a gray area. But to be aware of the disgraces of those who were also in the HOF helps to keep sports in perspective. Many sports fans CANNOT separate the two.

    Jim McMahon is an icon in football history. Is his life great?- Maybe not- that's the point.

  • BYUtah Fan Herriman, UT
    Sept. 10, 2012 12:44 p.m.

    I have to agree with Vai on this one. I watched Jim play and he was magnificent and gutsy every game. Yeah, he had his issues. But, don't we all. I generally support BYU standards. But, rules must be considered for potential exceptions or we could be ruled by machines. If Jim is suffering from early dementia, as the article states, he may be unable to complete his degree. I think charity should win this one. I would love to see Jim honored at halftime with an induction.

  • Cambrai Salt Lake City, UT
    Sept. 10, 2012 2:11 p.m.

    Jim McMahon is the greatest QB to play at BYU.

    At the end of his career, he held outright or tied 95 NCAA records...more than any other BYU QB by a long shot. The 1980 Miracle Bowl is arguably the most pivotal game in BYU football history (no disrespect to the 1984 Michigan game, the 1990 Miami game, or the 1996 Cotton Bowl), and BYU won that game simply because McMahon wouldn't quit when the coaches wanted to.

    He deserves to be in the BYU HOF. Nice piece, Vai!

  • Dennis Harwich, MA
    Sept. 11, 2012 6:19 a.m.

    Jim McMahon was loved by his teammates. Steve Young, not so much. You might want to ponder over the reasons why.

  • TJ Eagle Mountain, UT
    Sept. 11, 2012 8:23 a.m.

    I've never liked it when someone in the media uses the media to call on an individual or an institution to change. In this case, I have to make an excepton to that line of thinking. I know that many people, probably including Vai, have petitioned BYU to change this rule. I too am in favor of changing the rule rather than making an exception for Jim McMahon only. I love BYU for the Honor and Integrity that it stands for but don't think this would diminish what BYU stands for at all. Personally, I don't care for Jim McMahon as a person, but I believe he deserves to be in there. I vote for change.

  • spud Payson, UT
    Sept. 11, 2012 8:57 a.m.

    wow folks edwards stadium is the house jimmy mac built. his last two years there forced byu to enlarge the stadium, you simply couldnt attend a game there. no room. yes i followed jimmy mac his entire carreer. what a caracter. but what he did in provo still resonates. i hear it everygame.. a comparison he's no jim mcmahon...yes beck hall sarkesian even neilson so folks this is the proverbial 64$ question..do you finaly embrace your prodigal son accept his sins love the sinner... or continue to punish and profit from his success. steve young said in his nfl hall of fame acceptance speech " he was blessed to play behind two great quarterbacks. one in college JIM MACMAHON. one in the pros JOE MONTANA". his own quote in the book they came to pass. when he took the feild the first time to 72,000 faithfull fans made him puke. he was scared. he thought of jimmy mac. boils down to choices..byu please do this. let your radical prodigal son enjoy his moment.. maybe he will wear all his superbowl rings

  • Southern California Redondo Beach, CA
    Sept. 13, 2012 10:05 a.m.

    No way! Vai is totally wrong on this one. Mostly because a rule is a rule and secondly because Jim doesn't even want it anyway!