From 1981-1984, a small private school in Dallas owned the best record in college football. The Mustangs of Southern Methodist University (SMU) were riding high on the backs of the vaunted "Pony Express" backfield. But as the middle of the decade approached, the program was coming apart at the seams. Wins became the only thing that mattered as the University increasingly ceded power of the football program to the city's oil barons and real estate tycoons and flagrant and frequent NCAA violations became the norm. On February 25, 1987, the school and the sport were rocked, as the NCAA meted out "the death penalty" on a college football program for the first and only time in its history. SMU would be without football for two years, and the fan base would be without an identity for 20 more until the Mustangs' win in the 2009 Hawaii Bowl. This is the story of Dallas in the 1980's and the greed, power, and corruption that spilled from the oil fields onto the football field and all the way ...
Did You Know?
In the opening titles, Brent Musberger mentions the joke that Eric Dickerson got a pay-cut when he went to the NFL, suggesting he was paid even more when he was at SMU. This joke originated with 1950's running back Hugh McElhenny, who, after decades of denial, admitted to receiving improper benefits while attending college. As it turned out, the joke with McElhenny was actually accurate. According to him, his payments in college, both legal and illegal, amounted to $10,000 a season, compared to his first NFL salary of $7,000 a season. See more
If you're gonna be a dirty program, you better be good at it. You better understand that the group handling the dirtiness has to be small, and it has to be committed, and it doesn't go out and chirp at bars.