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SMU Faculty Asks End to 'Quasi-Pro' Sports

November 21, 1986|United Press International

DALLAS — More than 200 faculty members at scandal-racked Southern Methodist University have signed a petition calling for an end to "quasi-professional athletics" and abolition of athletic scholarships and special admissions standards for athletes.

SMU, already in the second year of a three-year probation imposed by the National Collegiate Athletic Assn. for recruiting violations, last week suspended senior tight end Albert Reese from the final two games of his college career, pending results of an investigation into claims that a booster was providing Reese with a free apartment.

Earlier in the week, former SMU football player David Stanley told a Dallas television station that he was paid $25,000 to sign with the Dallas school and that he and his mother then received $750 a month until he dropped out in December 1985.

At a special meeting of the faculty senate Wednesday, faculty members said the school needed to revise its priorities in favor of academics to recoup prestige.

"SMU is No. 1 on the nation's list of the imbalance athletics has taken in higher education," said Carter Murphy, a professor of economics and member of the senate.

A biology professor, Frank Sogandares, said: "Right now, I have colleagues laughing up their sleeve at me in Michigan and at Harvard and other places. I think that like any cancer that is initiated, you better cut it out completely because it's going to eat you up alive as an institution."

The petition was to be presented to SMU President L. Donald Shields, who had asked the senate to give him its opinion.

"We urge the immediate, unconditional and permanent abolition of quasi-professional athletics at this institution," the petition said. "We are categorically opposed to subsidies of any kind to athletes as athletes. . . . We are similarly opposed to the university's maintaining a staff, the main business of which is the recruiting and management of quasi-professional athletic teams."

A separate unanimous vote urged an investigation into the recent allegations.

Senate member Lackland Bloom, who voted against abolishing athletic subsidies, said faculty members should not act on unproved allegations.

If the allegations are proved, the NCAA could invoke a rule that allows suspension of a program for two years at a school where two serious infractions of NCAA regulations have been committed within five years.

After the senate's action, football Coach Bobby Collins said: "They have the right to their opinions."

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