A PAYROLL TO MEET: A Story of Greed, Corruption, and Football at SMU by David Whitford

A PAYROLL TO MEET: A Story of Greed, Corruption, and Football at SMU

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A contributing editor of Sport magazine undertakes to survey the slippery slope that led Southern Methodist Univ. to become a money machine in order to fund a winning football team--thereby receiving the ""death penalty"" from the NCAA: a prohibition against any football games in 1987 and any home games in 1988. Whitford focuses on head coach Ron Meyer, who typified Dallas bravado from his first year at then-lowly SMU (1975). Meyer was an image-conscious, flashy dresser who pinned hundred-dollar bills on high-school bulletin boards as his business card and always wrapped a hundred-dollar bill around his singles to flash at every purchase. Determined to build SMU into a national power rivaling Notre Dame and Southern Cal, Meyer took advantage of the new openness in southern race relations to recruit heavily from inner-city schools in Houston and Dallas. Since most of his prospects were poor, it became a convenient matter to woo them and their parents--first with the occasional twenty-dollar bill, later with monthly stipends to their families (totalling some $4,500 per year), and ultimately with gifts as large as $25,000. Meyer's tactics paid off in the short run (SMU had the most successful five-year record in its history), but they brought infamy to the school. Whitford's narrative includes the roles of Texas Governor Bill Clements (who was also president of SMU's Board of Trustees and approved the illegal payoffs as being ""contractual"") and mogul Sherwood Blount, who provided much of the funding. A manual for anyone interested in how not to proceed in college football.

Pub Date: Sept. 20th, 1989
Publisher: Macmillan