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McMahon should be in BYU Hall
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2008, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Your thoughts

Should Jim McMahon be in the BYU Hall of Fame? E-mail your thoughts to sportseditor@sltrib.com.

Editor's note: What follows is an actual letter provided to The Tribune by Jim McMahon Sr. The letter is written to BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe.

Mr. Tom Holmoe,

I am writing this letter to you because it has been bugging me for over 25 years that my son Jim is not in the BYU Hall of Fame and that his jersey has not been retired. I am now 72 years old and I do not have much time left, so I am putting in writing what has been in my heart for the last 27 years.

If Jim had gone to any other university in the United States, his jersey would have been retired and he would have been in their Hall of Fame in 1982. Jim was without a doubt the greatest quarterback ever to wear a BYU jersey. In fact, he was the best quarterback in the history of college football. He set 57 NCAA records, the most records ever set by anyone who ever played the game. This is a feat that was never done before or after him. He has the best winning percentage of any quarterback in the history of BYU. He led BYU to its first bowl win and also its second bowl win. He is the only quarterback with two bowl wins to this day.

Jim was a consensus All-American for two years. Jim was the recipient of the Davey O'Brien award, given to the most outstanding quarterback in the country. Jim was first-team All-WAC for three years. Jim was the most valuable player in the WAC for three years. Jim was named first-team quarterback for the WAC's 25th anniversary team.

Jim was also inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame the first year he was eligible.

But! He is not in the BYU Hall?

How can you explain that? Oh! I know, he did not graduate, and that is one of your requirements. In that case, you will need to take out about 60 percent of the people in your Hall, as they did not all graduate.

If you will take the time to take a poll of all Division I schools and ask them if graduation is a requirement to get into their hall of fame, you would find out that 99.9 percent of them would say it is not. After all, the Hall should be based on their athletic ability, not scholastic ability.

If you go back to see when this rule was put in place, you will find it was put in 1980 or 1981 and is known secretly as the Jim McMahon rule. It was put in as the only way to keep him out of the Hall. To make sure he did not graduate and mess you up, he was suspended from school right after his last game with only nine credits left to graduate.

When he was recruited, the coaching staff assured me and my family that even though he was not a Mormon, he would be treated fairly. Obviously, that was a lie. The university and the Mormon church should be ashamed of themselves for allowing this miscarriage of justice to my son Jim. I can only hope that before I die this miscarriage of justice is corrected and Jim's jersey is retired and he is inducted into your Hall and his name is placed on the ring of honor on your stadium. If this is not done, then you should rename your Hall of Fame the Hall of Shame.

Very Truly Yours,

James F. McMahon

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