At Long Last, SMU Kills Its Death Penalty
Now everyone - including Jason Garrett's nephew, Jake Flaherty - wants a piece of SMU football.
For his role, Dale Hansen got death threats, extortion ploys and, um, a dead bird.
"It was a black crow delivered right to our office," recalls Hansen, WFAA-Channel 8's sports anchor upon the events surrounding his uncovering the SMU football scandal of 1986. "It had a note pinned through its body: 'You're next.'"
For its part, SMU football received even worse. A two-year death sentence from which it took 23 years - until last Saturday's victory over Tulane - to recover.
"It was a significant historical event and a dark day for SMU and the city of Dallas," Mustangs athletic director Steve Orsini told me a year or so ago. "But there's no residue. It doesn't affect us today."
A football team that for two decades couldn't beat a group of nerds from the Cox School of Business finished 7-5 and will later today be officially invited to the Dec. 24 Hawaii Bowl, its first bowl game since 1984.
The resurrection is spurring warm-n-fuzzies on the Hilltop, but also spawning feel-good movies. How 'bout, for example, an independent film (password: Mustangs) being pitched to ESPN documentaries?
June Jones, who was awarded a two-year contract extension last week, has done what Forrest Gregg, Tom Rossley, Mike Cavan and Phil Bennett couldn't do before him: Wake SMU football from the dead.
For years acting as Elvis - tangibly gone but pratically functional - the death penalty is finally buried. The funeral will feel like a party.
While we're on the topic of embarrassments SMU, about that Bush Library ...
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Observer's biggest stories.