SMU's Return from a Death Sentence


In the history of college football only one team has been hit with what's called the death penalty punishment that so extreme it essentially kills the entire football program it wasn't Baylor after it's sexual assault scandal here was that high school players were being given big sums of money to go to SMU payments of thousands of dollars tens of thousands of dollars years to its current probationary period it was southern Methodist University the Small School in Dallas Texas back in the nineteen eighties they were hit hard over guard including the NC double A. Because I mean this wasn't exactly a program with a rich tradition basically since the fifties they had not been very successful so aw crude violations and it decimated the program for decades but now the mustangs are looking for pro sir claimed some national titles in there they got three conference championships in that span and they were led by what's known as the Pony Express so Chris let's start the story back in one of the wildest errors in college football the nineteen eighty s so SMU in the one thousand nine hundred takes Chris Vini about how SMU has clawed its way back into the national rankings through a new coach and a rather unusual recruiting tactic the player to come in and that continues to move forward into eighty two eighty three eighty four they get hit with some more penalties than eighty-five and the most serious violation added seven channel eight sports takes you along route of the pony express a one hour preview of the undefeated mustangs road to their eighth postseason bowl appearance running backs Eric uh-huh family's cars you know anything you can name the that that a high school kid in a family might want it was really the wild wild west of recruiting only how SMU was competing with the likes of Texas Texas am for players it was instantly going to draw attention because people weren't used to it they get hit with some small penalties early on like steps to punish. SMU What exactly did they do really drastic reductions in scholarships they're hit with some television bands where they can't play on TV in those days but this wasn't unique to SMU it was happening at a lot of schools in the conference it was happening everywhere Smu just took it to another level there's all sorts of story from wondering and the athletic I'm under skelter and I'm could beat the Davidson it's Friday October eighteenth and this is the lead this was one of the best teams in the country wanting to talk about conference championship in consecutive undefeated they stayed undefeated untied and in their six zero and the ranked in the top twenty five for the first time in more than thirty years today we're going to talk with you end at the last minute dickerson changed to Smu and to this day he will never say why that was okay so at first the NC double A. Took some smaller I think there is something of emotion and as Persson he was presented a car by people associated with Texas am it was gold transam people joked that was called the Trans am and players who were selling tickets to boosters they get put on probation that happens in one thousand nine hundred eighty one but it doesn't really slow them down because they're really starting to get Persson and Craig James Eric Dickerson we're going to be a pro football famer one on one of the best running backs of all time was just like a man among boys out there on that field is running out officials push back against the NC double A. When they started to get sanctioned there was a point where the school disassociated itself with what he called the naughty time they've already promised money to a lot of these kids some players essentially had contracts and they knew that if they immediately stopped payments players were going to go for everybody watch him just literally explode and it looks like everybody people got position on any just began the lakes in the cushion about these boosters a little bit I mean these are happening at a time when there's this huge economic boom in Texas and it seems like the boosters are really using kind of nine boosters and that kind of called the boosters off guard they thought the school was going to try to fight back against the answer to play a little bit more but the school wanted to is about players who would flip on signing day to go to SMU or to go to a different school in the conference because someone came in late with with the new payment there's a famous story of Eric and you realize the walls were closing in everybody a some you realize that and realized that they had to figure out a way to get out of it at the same time Dallas was booming in the nineteen seventies it was there was an oil boom there was a real estate boom the TV show Dallas would J. R. Ewing was was big game winner take all we're all working together in the boardrooms and stuff like that and there's only one southwest conference school that is in Dallas in that Smu and eventually those the schools that they went through in these college football programs that they support as as they're bragging rights like you said and as kind of you know their their point of like their their biggest point of competition on the one year death penalty the NCWA the death penalty was no football in nineteen eighty-seven along with that there were strict strict restrictions on scholarships that they could do moving forward and when you cut off the lifeblood of a program which is recruiting it takes it takes a long long time to recover from have things established for years the instability thought it would be five to seven years at SMU would be able to recover from it and that was not at all the case and this was first year count on that everybody wanted to get to Dallas and so as town grew you got a lot of alumni from all these different southwest conference schools should've known you do whatever you could sabotage me overreact I'm not exactly GonNa blow up your wells you know especially since they're going to be mind this unsuitable and reveal what was going on so they were in a position where they wanted to try to stop it but they also knew they couldn't stop it cold did the school itself did any of the boosters or any of the schools nineteen eighty six monthly payments ranging from fifty to seven hundred twenty five dollars were made to numerous student athletes the sanctions levied against Smu the body trade tracy thirty two he was the type of player that does not come around very often and the team's success caught a lot of people off give off the impression that it was trying to clean itself up but there were still payments going around the players and it was not as clear cut as they wanted it to be yeah can you talk everybody else seems to be doing all right so you have these boosters who keep breaking the rules the NC Double A. is closing in and then at the end of nineteen eighty six the NC double realized in part because of the actions of people above them and people long before them this situation at Smu was so involved to the colleges from all over the country to come in try to find some good players that they wouldn't have been able to get otherwise and it was basically a free for all and I assume there were no hard feelings the penalties be truly felt and did this punishment for Smu have an effect on the other teams in their conference who as we know were brings the ultimate punishment the joint investigation between SMU and the NC Double A. has concluded that between September of nineteen eighty five and December of nine also cheating quite a bit teams in the southwest conference kept cheating even a few years later everybody everybody in the League was still under penalty and it seems like the sanctions the instability to rule that SMU would not be allowed to play any games basically not have a team in one thousand nine hundred seven had never happened before and comes in Texas realized that they can go to a new conference and make some more money they decide to jump out in that very quickly results in the core again all the way up to the chairman of the board that the end Sibley felt it had to penalize the idea of the program in order to make something that had never been done before throughout the history of college football there are deep histories of schools trying to find any edge that they can cheating left and right program brand new team so they wanted to take some time are coming to SMU's campus because they wanted to recruit these players to come to their school when the Sibley said that anybody can transfer without penalty that was an opportunity for a lot of the Litas brought to you by ziprecruiter hiring can be painfully slow process when the penalties fainted after giving that announcement it was just a complete shock to everybody and with the within minutes I mean within days other schools this toward the players who did end up transferring you couldn't blame the players you know there was no team for them to play for some guys especially if they're seniors they have dreams of ends SMU contributed to the downfall of their entire conference to you agree with that assessment I do those a lot of an that because it takes years to get players in into the program developed a culture and get used to a system when it's all brand new and you're starting from the ground up against these teams who was the reaction in the Smu community everybody was absolutely stunned nobody nobody thought the inseparably would go through with it the NC double A. Enforcer who com slash lead that's ziprecruiter dot com slash L. E. A. D. ziprecruiter dot com slash lead ziprecruiter the the delusion of the conference okay so SMU was a program that went from national championship contenders to not being allowed to play at all what what was in the nfl they gotta go play somewhere and so they they they spread out everywhere over the country as soon as they could because they needed to find a place to play they were hit with they were SMU bruce when they were conversing with versus of other schools who were winning they realized you know we want to get involved we want to have a winning program how do we get on board with the the same practices halfway all tourists. 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SMU and the whole college football world anticipate that the death penalty would result in three decades of futility no artist way to hire so Chris did the city between a lot of the schools there because they were all accusing the other schools of cheating and when Arkansas found it could join the SEC the southwest conference get smaller and then the Texas sided not to play any games in one thousand nine hundred eight they would have been allowed I think seven games they all had to be on the road and in that time. SMU's basically building a brand new qualified candidates fast dillon also use ZIPRECRUITER's candidate rating feature to filter his applicants so he could focus on the most relevant ones and that's how we that

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