Eric Dickerson says SMU should 'kill' flailing football program

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Eric Dickerson was one of the greatest Mustangs of all time.

As a two-time All-American for Southern Methodist University, the bruising running back and future Pro Football Hall of Famer set the team's records for single-season and career rushing yards - records he still holds today, three decades later.

But the SMU legend wasn't afraid to speak his mind when speaking to a Dallas radio station earlier this week, when asked about his feelings concerning the Mustangs' football woes in the time since his graduation in 1983.

"I talked to four former players yesterday and we all said if they don't want to do anything, just kill the program," Dickerson said. "Just stick to the academics and basketball and kill that program."

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In turmoil

When Dickerson finished third in the 1982 Heisman Trophy balloting, behind only Herschel Walker and John Elway, the Mustangs were huge contenders in college football.

That year it claimed a share of its second consecutive national championship, based on the rankings of the Helms Athletic Foundation, though the Associated Press and Coaches' polls picked Penn State.

From 1980-1984, SMU was 49-9-1.

Then came the death penalty, the only program-terminating punishment for recruiting violations that has occurred in college football. Then came two seasons of inactivity, with the Mustangs sitting out 1987 and 1988.

The football squad has struggled to rebound; when the team returned to play, it had an underweight and less talented roster to work with. It quickly fell into irrelevance.

Things were looking more positive in recent years, but the team still battled irrelevance on the national stage.

Then this week, it's coach left.

Abrupt resignation

Head coach June Jones resigned unexpectedly two games into the season, during a stretch in which the Mustangs were outscored 88-6.

He did not have any explanation, except for a generic "unspecified personal issues" statement.

Jones had been a hot coaching prospect after going 76-41 in nine seasons at Hawaii, while going 4-2 in bowl games. During his time at SMU, he restabilized the program, getting it to a 7-5 record that was the most wins since the 1980s. He finished his career there with a 36-43 record.

Dickerson said he hoped the school was willing to make a greater commitment to winning if it wanted to keep its football program going into the future.

"The main thing is getting the help there," Dickerson said. "I think June has been frustrated the last couple of years with not getting the help that he needed from upper management."

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