DALLAS — Southern Methodist University will scrap its limited 1988 football season in the wake of NCAA sanctions against the school for improper payments to athletes.
SMU interim president William B. Stallcup Jr., in a statement Friday, said the school should be able to return to full participation in the Southwest Conference in 1989.
The NCAA sanctions, announced earlier this year, banned the football program for 1987, and restricted the 1988 schedule to seven games, all on the road.
"The cancellation of the 1988 season in itself does not have a significant bearing on the longer term future of SMU football and intercollegiate athletics," Stallcup said in the statement.
"It is our understanding with the Southwest Conference that we will be able to return to full participation . . . in 1989."
The penalties, announced in February, stemmed from $61,000 in payments to 13 SMU football players.
"The challenge before our university is one of reconsideration and reform, and we have no intention of simply removing ourselves from the intercollegiate athletics scene," Stallcup said.
Fred Jacoby, Southwest Conference commissioner, said: "From my vantage point, I think it's a prudent decision based on the numbers of athletes available. The numbers wouldn't be there and there would be a safety problem. It would have been embarrassing for SMU to play in 1988 from a competitiveness standpoint."