Beating A Dead Mustang
Sorry to disappoint, but I’m talking about this deceased equine, not that one. As I wrote in this week’s paper version of Unfair Park, Dale Hansen’s role in the 1980s SMU pay-for-play scandal made him more pariah than Peruna. He broke the story, which, coupled with the death of the Southwest Conference, catapulted SMU football into 21 years of knee-deep shit.
At a pep rally in 1989, then-head coach Forrest Gregg promised the Mustangs would play in a Cotton Bowl within 10 years, but its been 23 -- and counting -- since SMU experienced anything but the toilet bowl. “Just ask the Rangers, it’s hard to break the cycle of losing,” says Hansen. “At this point it’s going to take a bolt of lightning, a blue-chip stud. Until then, they’re stuck.”
Hansen says he’s made up with most of his SMU adversaries. I said most.
Along with death threats and dead birds, Dale also received a nitty-gritty extortion attempt back in 1987. Most troubling to Hansen and his wife was a letter, hand-delivered to his house in Roanoke, claiming to have information and photographs detailing his involvement with drug dealers, girlfriends and sexual escapades with SMU co-eds on a pool table in a Dallas apartment. The info, according to the threat, would be released to the media if Hansen didn’t recant his SMU story and leave Dallas.
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“I flew back from Rangers spring training and met with lawyers,” Dale recalls. “But almost immediately I said, ‘Sure, tell ‘em to send me the pics’, and got back on the plane. I knew they were bluffing. Everyone knows I’ve never been involved with drugs.”
Ba-dum-bum. --Richie Whitt
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