BOOKS BOOSTER BULL

Don’t dismiss A Payroll To Meet, due out next month, as just a rehash of old news about the SMU football scandals. Author David Whitford does cover some ground that’s been amply plowed before, but he’s also got some fresh revelations, some quite comical. The book is especially good on the “naughty nine,” the boosters who were finally ordered to stop helping SMU, at least for a few years. One, Ronnie Horowitz, explained why he had loaned his car to a recruit: “Because after lunch he needed to be somewhere, and his body odor was so severe I said, ’Look, you just take the car, drive it to your house, and I’ll pick it up tonight.’”

Another booster, Bill Stevens, believes it was all a Long-horn plot. “Every key person that was involved [in reporting about SMU] was a University of Texas grad,” Stevens claims. He cites former Dallas Times Herald sportswriter Danny Robbins and Channel 8’s John Sparks in particular, but claims that the conspiracy reaches into the executive suites of the Belo Corporation, which owns The Dallas Morning News and WFAA-TV Channel 8.

The best bit of booster bull comes from Corpus Christi land baron Jack Ryan, who was asked not to do SMU any favors for at least the next five years. Explaining why the NCAA has so frequently punished SMU, Ryan had this novel hypothesis: Dallas is just so darn much fun that NCAA investigators love to come here. “There’s not another big city like it in the world. They go in there and chase girls, drink whiskey, and have a big time. Why go to College Station [Texas A&M] when you can go there [Dallas] and have a big time? So it’s a happy hunting ground.”

Hmmm. Maybe that explains why the fighting Lobos, of Sul Ross State University in Alpine, seldom hear from the NCAA.

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