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Ex-SMU Student Admits to Hoax

May 16, 1987

A former Southern Methodist University student says he spread bogus rumors of organized prostitution and academic cheating within the university's athletic department as part of a "disinformation campaign."

The Dallas Times Herald reported Friday that Kevin Lerner contacted news organizations with his hoax to cloud the controversy over recruiting violations that led the National Collegiate Athletic Assn. to eliminate SMU's 1987 football season.

Lerner, 30, told the newspaper that he was the anonymous caller who began calling the news media in mid-March, after Gov. Bill Clements had disclosed that he and other SMU trustees had authorized continued illicit payments to SMU football players even after the school had been put on probation.

In the anonymous calls, it was alleged that other students were organized by boosters to take tests for athletes, and that boosters paid some female students to have sex with athletes.

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