** Running back Eric Dickerson went into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 1999 and entered the Cotton Bowl Football Hall of Fame yesterday (124 yards rushing in 1983 Cotton Bowl against Pitt). But, though he’s the career rushing leader at Southern Methodist, he’s not in the College Football Hall of Fame. Why?
** Dickerson believes that it’s due to S.M.U. ‘s “death penalty” in 1987. The NCAA cancelled the school’s 1987 season, leading S.M.U. to also bag the 1988 season. The problem was payment of players from the mid-1970s through 1986, a scandal called “Ponygate.” It was and remains the only time the NCAA has imposed the death penalty against a school.
** Along with Craig James, who has also been excluded from the College Hall, Dickerson played at S.M.U. from 1979 to 1982. The two comprised the famed “Pony Express” as a running back tandem at the Dallas school.
** Six Mustangs are in the College Football Hall of Fame, but have been inducted after 1968.
** Says Dickerson, “I truly believe that they hold that death penalty against myself and other guys.
That had nothing to do with us. We were long gone.”
** Dickerson had at one time intended to attend Texas A&M and was driving a new
Pontiac Trans-Am that he was suspected of receiving under the table from the College Station school. When he committed to Southern Methodist, he suddenly was no longer seen in the
** Even now, Dickerson refuses to answer questions about whether he accepted anything to attend S.M.U.