Since coming off the death penalty creating football success at SMU has been like trying to push the proverbial boulder up the hill (or hilltop in this case), but June Jones has managed to find traction.
And the mustangs Hawaii Bowl trip this past season has had a substantial effect on the university as a whole.“That was the only game,” said Jones, “that every high school player every college player every pro player was going to be watching that football game that night.”
That exposure has generated quite a buzz.
The university commissioned a study to study the impact of the Hawaii Bowl and the numbers are interesting.The publicity from the bowl trip -valued at more than 30 million dollars.and donations to the athletic program jumped 25 percent.
The mustang’s bowl trip will certainly help Jones with recruiting and the future of football, but its more than just about the gridiron - good football has a carry over effect here on campus. “Its good to have something good happening in an area that has been replete with a number of negatives over the past few years,” according to university president R. Gerald Turner.
The study also showing traffic on the schools web site was up 45 percent during the ponies bowl-run, and new student applications were up 35 percent from a year ago.
Particularly for Texas students,” said Turner, “since that's where most of the publicity was, it did help increase the number of Texas applicants.”
“We're an auxiliary here,” says athletic director Steve Orsini."The core function on this campus is academics. Its important that we show the results of how we can help them.”
Jones sums it up like this,“I've been in this situation many times before in the NFL and in Hawaii and I know that what we do works, and I know that how we do it people gravitate to."