It is a news story covered by 34-years of cobb webs, but when it happened it shook the world of college football.

It was also perhaps the last time the NCAA flexed its muscles at its membership.

On Feb. 25, 1987, NCAA director of enforcement David Berst announced that the Southern Methodist University program would be discontinued for the 1987 season because of a litany of repeat violations over a period of several years.

It was the "death penalty'' punishment which had been part of the NCAA's enforcement arsenal for years, but never used because of what people thought correctly would cause consequences which could last for a generation.

SMU, which voluntarily shut down its program for 1988,  has not been an elite program since that ruling, and may never be again.

Which brings us to next week when new legislation which allows players to monetize their name, image and likeness without penalty takes effect.

The irony of this action, of course, is evident at SMU.

What were violations which shut down a program then, will be acceptable at all levels of major college athletics.

Oh, we're not talking about anything as blatant as getting a free car or cash-filled envelopes.

Such blatant disregard of the rules will still be violatiions.

The new rules will allow star athletes to be paid by businesses for the use of their name, image or likeness.

It also allows athlletes to be compensated for social media outlets such as sponsorship on podcasts tick-tock and twitter accounts.

The NCAA's last attempt to prevent this came earlier this week with a 9-0  ruling by the Supreme Court.

Now we are dealing with free agency in player movement and financial compensation without limits.

Which brings us back to SMU and a time and place when the NCAA rules were strict, but were being ignored, as well as violated in the competition for new talent.

With that in mind, I tracked down former Big 12 Commissioner Dan Beebe, who was the lead NCAA investigator in the SMU case.

"A long time ago,'' said Beebe, who is now in semi-retirement in Walla Walla Washington, working as a consultant. ""But it was pretty wild.''

Beebe, who worked for the NCAA for six and  a half years, remembers gathering evidence of cars leased to SMU players , which would not be violation with certain conditions  using the new rules.

""We had tracked down 15 of them to one dealership,'' said Beebe. "But we couldn't prove anthing definitive because we didn't  have subpoena power. We would ask them who gave the cars and they would say, "My uncle'' or something like that.''

The other problem the NCAA dealt with and still does to some extent was the nature of their investigation.

""In lots of cases, we would be investigating things that the general public didn't feel was all that bad,'' said Beebe.

For me, the SMU case also triggers memoriesz.

I was in Dallas in 1987, working at the Dallas Morning News,  which was the epicenter of a series of violations and events which brought down not only a Top 10 football program, but eventually  a conference (the old Southwest Conference) and stretched across the great state of Texas, reaching all the way  to the Governor's office.

I  remember sitting in a hotel in Kansas City when SMU was pleading its case to the NCAA Committee on Infractions when one of the investigators came out for a bathroom break.

I had gotten to know the investigator over the past few years and asked him how the meeting was proceeding.

He looked around to make sure no one was listening, shrugged his shoulders and said, "These guys (SMU) are arguing that today is Monday.''

That was the final  clue that the SMU program was in serious jeopardy,

For good reason.

It was indeed the Wild Wild West in terms of recruiting.

I remember listening  in somewhat disbelief when I learned about  weekly meetings of businessmen in Dallas was described in what could only be termed an early version of Fantasy Football.

The discussion involved bankers and lawyers and other business leaders from most of the SWC schools who would bid on the high school talent in the state. 

Once securing that bid, the school "rep'' would then go to the recruit's house with a bankroll which he would use to "sign''' the athlete.

For the SMU program, which was vividly described in David Whitford's 1989 book, "A Payroll to Meet: A Story of Greed, Corruption and Football at SMU'', the network reached across the country to players from many states.

""What's different now is the amount of money involved, from coaches salaries to the state of the art facilities as well as the television contracts,'' said Beebe.

The new rules open a myriad of financial opportunities for endorsements.

In the past, a deal for the use of new cars for coaches has generally been part of a contract package offered by the school.

Take Clemson coach Dabo Swinney, who gets two new cars annually as part of his contract.

Under the new rules, former Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence could have signed a deal with the same dealership to come in once a month to sign autographs and be compensated with the use of a new car.

No one knows the extent of how much extra money will be provided to players, because college athletics has never allowed this to happen.

But across the country deals are being put together.

It will all start to officially be revealed next week, including at SMU.