Winner 1986

SMU Investigation


WFAA-TV has shown great courage in investigating a major college football program in its own back yard. At times it appeared that physical violence was possible as a reprisal against the persons who broke the story. But, WFAA-TV continued to air the story and to push for reforms. Ultimately, the NCAA imposed the so-called “death penalty” on the SMU (Southern Methodist) football program, shutting it down for one year and severely limiting it for two more. Even Texas Governor Bill Clements admitted that, as chairman of the SMU Board of Governors, he had approved illegal payments to football players. The lesson learned at SMU will doubtless be learned nationwide. For breaking an important story that may be a prime mover in cleaning up college athletics, a Peabody Award to WFAA-TV.