Scandals in College Sports

Text: Ben Glicksman
Photo: Ronald C. Modra/SI; David Breslauer/AP

The Death Penalty at SMU

SMU football rolled over opponents during the early- and mid-1980s, with the Mustangs earning the moniker "The Pony Express" for their success on the ground. In 1987, however, that success was ground to a halt. It came to light that boosters had paid players an estimated $61,000 from 1985 to '86, using a slush fund that was approved by former Texas governor Bill Clements. The program was given the "Death Penalty" in return, becoming the first and only college football program to receive that punishment. The Mustangs missed the entire 1987 season.

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