Essay The Original “Death Penalty” in College Football, SMU Mustangs

Essay The Original “Death Penalty” in College Football, SMU Mustangs

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People ask all the time, “Why does the NCAA put sanctions on football programs?” When I was young, my favorite football player was Eric Dickerson. I never understood why people criticized him about his college playing days, so I asked my dad about it. He said that Dickerson’s college was given the “Death Penalty”. The Original “Death Penalty” was put into effect at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.
To better understand the original question put forth, we must first define a few key terms. The NCAA is the National Collegiate Athletics Association. The NCAA has the final ruling in all matters of conduct in college sports. In short, it controls almost every aspect of athletics in college sports. The word sanction means: to penalize, especially by way of discipline. When the NCAA puts sanctions on a program, they do one of many things, such as, take away scholarships, take away championships, or just make the school’s program shut down all together. When a program is shut down all together, it is called the “Death Penalty”. In many instances in today’s time, the “Death Penalty” just forces teams to not play in bowl games, but in 1986, it was a different story, it meant two whole seasons forfeited by one of the best teams in college football.
In 1986, it was hinted that people were giving money to Southern Methodist University to bolster the football program. After this was confirmed, the NCAA began taking action and started its own investigation into the program. Upon completing their investigation, they found that all prior allegations were true and began sanctioning the program. On February 25, 1987, the SMU football program, already the most penalized program in history, received the harshest sanctions ever hande...


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...6 Feb. 2012. .


Holloway, Brent. "'Death' from above: The year a football program was banished." Gainesvilletimes.com 9 July 2011. Web. 25 Jan. 2012. .

Matula, Thaddeus D., dir. 30 For 30, "The Pony Excess". ESPN, 2011. Web. 24 Jan. 2012. .

McNabb, David. "SMU Football Cancelled For 1987." Dallas Morning News 26 Feb. 1987. Web. 24 Jan. 2012. .

"Report: Texas Governor Ordered Pay For Smu Players." sun-sentinel.com. N.p., 20 June 1987. Web. 25 Jan. 2012. .

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