Skip to content

Jim McMahon on the BYU honor code: ‘I saw a lot of hypocrisy when I was there’

Mar 4, 2011, 4:15 PM EDT


The BYU Honor Code demands that Students must live a chaste and virtuous life, be honest, abstain from alcoholic beverages, tobacco, tea, coffee and substance abuse, and attend church regularly. We assume that Jim McMahon stuck to that while attending the university, where he was a two-time All-American (1980, 1981) before helping the Chicago Bears win a Super Bowl. We also assume that he made up for it once he left. The Super Bowl Shuffle itself would have broken three or four provisions of the code.

Here’s McMahon’s take on the dismissal of Brandon Davies, who was suspended from the basketball team for having sex with his girlfriend. McMahon talked about it on WQAM radio in Miami with Gino Torretta and Steve White.

McMahon: “They explain it 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 everyday you get hounded by it.”

Torretta: “I gotta think the people who are enforcing these rules are not abiding by all of them? They have to have skeletons in their closet don’t they?”

McMahon: “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.

“I wouldn’t imagine it’s any different [from when I played there]. Like you said with all the things going on nowadays the IPhones, tweets, and all this kind of crap, I mean I don’t see the campus any differently. I mean they’re college kids, man they’re going to do things. You know sometimes people will tell on you and sometimes they won’t.”

Unfortunately, Feb. 9 was the last show for Steve Young on KNBR-680 in San Francisco, where he is a weekly guest during football season with Tom Tolbert and Ralph Barbieri. I would have loved to hear his take on this.

Jon Stewart takes on the controversy beginning at the 1:48 mark below:

Jim McMahon On BYU Honor Code ‘I saw a lot of hypocrisy when I was there. That’s what turned me off about it’ [Sports Radio Interviews]

  1. formerbyuathlete - Mar 6, 2011 at 12:00 AM

    As a former student/athlete at BYU from 1973 to 1974, with two (2) years absent for church service, then from 1977 to 1983 for three (3) degrees: undergraduate, and two (2) graduate degrees, and an All-American in my chosen NCAA Division I sport, I can offer my perspective regarding the Honor Code.
    The BYU Honor Code is a wonderful protection and a guide to happiness and safety. By following its guidelines, I was kept safe from many hazards to my health and personal well-being. Obedience to its principles never restricted my academic preparation for my classes or career. Refraining from coffee, tea, tobacco, alcohol, and illegal drugs never hampered by athletic achievements. My observance of the moral rules also helped keep me safe from unnecessary risks. My parents and grandparents were proud of me for wanting to keep myself clean and prepared for my schooling and sports.
    My son and three (3) daughters have also attended BYU and are keeping the same standards. As a parent I am proud of them for their desire to keep these standards. I would hope any parent would want the same for their children.
    There are many members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who do not attend BYU. Some of those students are also athletes. Many of those students choose also keep the Honor Code standards wherever they attend school and compete in sports. It’s part of our total lifestyle, not a temporary, conditional requirement. We choose these standards and allow all others to choose their own. We encourage others to live clean lives.
    The BYU Honor Code is stands on its own as a standard to be met by those who chose to enter into its contract. I chose it and endorse it’s power for good.