SMU has just announced their NIL agreement which will pay their football and basketball players an annual salary. In total, the Boulevard Collective will pay out $3.5 million in athletic salaries to players.

SMU v Cincinnati
(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

Back in the late 80s, SMU was involved in a pay-for-play cheating scandal in which the NCAA determined the school was paying football players to play for the University.

Fast-forward to 2022, paying college athletes and allowing them to profit from endorsements is now legal, but doing so in decades past...not legal one bit.

Sure, it happened, and arguably almost every college allowed it to happen in some shape or form.

Most got away with it.

Some did not, and paid incredibly damaging penalties for doing it.


In 1973, UL, then known as Southwestern Louisiana, was found guilty of 120 violations by the NCAA.

According to most of the violations "involved small cash payments to players, letting players borrow coaches' and boosters' cars, letting players use university credit cards to buy gas and buying clothes and other objects for players. However, the most severe violations involved massive academic fraud."

As a result, they received the "Death Penalty" from the NCAA.

Initially, the NCAA wanted to kick the Cajuns out of the NCAA completely but eventually decided to strip the school of NCAA voting privileges until 1977.

Texas Tech v SMU
(Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)

Throughout the 80s, SMU was found to be in pay-for-play scandals and recruiting violations 7 separate times leading up to the NCAA handing down the "Death Penalty" in 1986.

From -

  • The 1987 season was canceled; only conditioning drills (without pads) were permitted until the spring of 1988.
  • All home games in 1988 were canceled. The NCAA allowed SMU to play their seven regularly scheduled away games so that other institutions would not be financially affected and so that SMU could avoid uninsurable default liabilities to those schools if its failure to uphold the contractual obligation to appear for the competition was not beyond the school's control. The university ultimately chose to cancel the away games and accept the uninsured "failure to appear" liability.
  • SMU's existing ban from bowl games and live television was extended to 1989, and the team's existing probation was extended to 1990, resulting in essentially two full years of lost appearance, broadcast media, and advertising sponsorship income.
  • SMU lost 55 new scholarship positions over 4 years.
  • The team was allowed to hire only five full-time assistant coaches instead of the typical nine.
  • No off-campus recruiting was permitted until August 1988 and no paid visits could be made to campus by potential recruits until the start of the 1988–89 school year.

Now, SMU is basically doing the same thing that destroyed their football program in the 80s, but now it's legal.

And, SMU's NIL agreement is a pretty interesting one.

SMU Boulevard Collective NIL Deal Paying Players Yearly Salary

According to, SMU's Boulevard Collective revealed details about the school's NIL agreement to pay SMU football and basketball players a yearly salary.

With the NIL agreement, SMU football players would receive an annual salary of $36,000 per season.

The total for all athletes will cost the University $3.5 million annually. "the NIL deal is already one of the best in college athletics, and it could certainly entice top high school prospects to come aboard."


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