FanPost

The Pony Expre$$


If you haven't had a chance to catch this on ESPN (or watch it on ITunes) then I highly recommend that you do so at your earliest convienience. I am not a huge fan of the WWL for the sheer reason that I think that they play "king maker" and meddle in sports entirely too much.

That being said the film was VERY well done combining interviews with the key figures in the scandal with actual TV footage and print articles from the period. I really enjoyed seeing how "business" was done in the old SWC back in the day. Even though SMU was the only school that got caught you can be certain that every other school in the conference was doing the same thing. I also found it interesting how blatant (and stupid) the boosters and administration who were in on the whole thing acted. One recruit received his payment in an SMU envelope and the accompanying letter was on SMU stationary!!

  What I think is lost in the middle of this whole thing is how good those '81-'83 SMU teams really were. I remember watching them play and thinking how cool it would be if they would play the Dawgs for the National Championship (of course that couldn't happen back then since the SWC was obligated to the Cotton Bowl and the SEC was obligated to the Sugar Bowl). There was a ton of talent of those teams other than Eric Dickerson and Craig James, especially on defense.

I also thought that it was interesting how the NCAA thought that SMU would recover from the Death Penalty in 5-7 years when in reality it has taken 30 (if you can call 8-5 and playing in the CUSA championship game being "back"). I don't think that they will ever levy the Death Penalty against another school unless it is an extremely egregious offense. Short of handing the players stacks of money as they run on the field I doubt that anything else would be as bad.

It will also be interesting to see if the whole Camgate/Auburn/Mississippi State fiasco follows a similar path. The similarities between the two situations are remarkable. You have two teams that have been fairly average the preceeding 3-5 seasons who suddenly get an influx of top shelf talent including the best recruit available (Dickerson/Newton) and become a dominate team overnight. It has been pointed out that the '81 recruiting class at SMU had MANY athletes suddenly change their commitments at the last second and sign with the Mustangs, coincidentally the 2010 Auburn class also had several athletes that had sudden changes of heart around Signing Day.  At the end of the day there may never be any smoking gun proof that Newton (and other players) were on a pay for play plan (but wouldn't it be great if there was an Auburn envelope/stationary floating around out there?), however I think any reasonable person can conclude that SOMETHING shady went down and somebody got paid. I wonder if we'll see and ESPN movie about the 2010 Auburn team in the future.

 

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