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Doug Farrar

How did Jim McMahon last so long at BYU?

Doug Farrar
Shutdown Corner

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Admit it, NFL fans. When you heard the news that Brigham Young basketball star Brandon Davies was dismissed from the team for having premarital sex with his girlfriend and violating the school's honor code, you each asked yourselves the exact same question:

"If BYU's honor code is so strict, how in the world did Jim McMahon ever last there for five years (from 1977 through 1981)?"

The ‘Punky QB', who managed to either annoy or entertain just about everyone in the league through his 15-year NFL career, and seemed to especially enjoy tweaking the noses of those on the highest perches (as personified by his Super Bowl headband battles with Pete Rozelle), survive half a decade in a place where so many things are verboten?

McMahon recently discussed the subject with Gino Toretta and Steve White of Miami station WQAM. Predictably, he did not hold back. "That doesn't surprise me," McMahon said of Davies' dismissal. "It's been going on for years there so. I actually just read that on the ESPN deal you know he [Davies] got kicked out for having sex with his girlfriend. That's part of their code I guess, but I know it happens. I know it's been happening for years, but some guys get caught, some guys don't."

And that's where the controversy begins. There are some who believe that if (you, dear reader, can fill in the blanks) mega-star Jimmer Fredette was caught in an honor code violation, the university might not be so quick to punt one of its own players out the door.

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"Well again that's...I don't know what they would have done," McMahon said of the Fredette question. "Like I said, I'm sure there's other players on that team and probably in the whole school who are still doing things they probably shouldn't according to the honor code, but it happens."

One of the things I always liked about Jim McMahon the player was his ability to combine self-deprecating humor and a keen sense for deflating hypocrisy of any sort. As you might imagine, the arch standards held by BYU get quite a distance up his nose, especially when it comes to the fact that others - by the sheer law of averages - must be engaging in their own violations. According to McMahon, that goes all the way to the near-top.

"Well I saw a lot of hypocrisy when I was there and that's what turned me off about it. Guys in administration, higher ups, sneaking off for coffee, these kinds of things that are supposedly illegal too.

"Yet, some people get away with it and some don't."

Sounds like a lot of other things in college sports, no?

For McMahon, the real issue was less about the avoidance of this or that temptation and more about the evasion of certain ... legal recruiters. "They explain (the honor code) to you. They say ‘Oh we have this honor code. People will probably talk to you about the religion and this and that.' They said ‘All you have to do is tell them, ‘I'm not interested.' But I have to say I'm not interested for five years before I get out. It was every day you get hounded by it."

H/T: Sports Radio Interviews

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