The SMU Death Penalty
This remains one of the darkest moments in NCAA history and a warning to every college sports program. SMU had one of the leading football teams in the nation through the eighties. But that’s because the school blatantly bribed college athletes and their families to join them. It was illegal but SMU didn’t care because they were winning.
However, the NCAA knew something was wrong and finally uncovered the reality. They hit SMU with a football death penalty in 1987 and this catapulted them into the wilderness for two decades. Suddenly, the Mustangs became irrelevant and it all came to nothing. It was a major humiliation for the college and the NCAA (via Time).