DALLAS, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – The so-called death penalty is finally a thing of the past for SMU, with a nationally-ranked football team for the first time since the 1980s. With the newfound success also comes a campaign between SMU and the city of Dallas to spread school spirit deeper into city lines – and turn the university into “Dallas’ team.”
It’s the day before Game Day, but a group of Mustangs are on the opposite side of coaching than usual. They spent part of the day teaching elementary school students at The MLK Learning Center the SMU fight song.
“I grew up in this area,” said defensive end Delontae Scott. “I’ve always wanted to do stuff in the community and be there for the kids, because I know I was just like them growing up.”
Scott and his teammates volunteer at a Dallas school before every home game. The idea: to mentor and inspire, but also to educate young students about the education they’re receiving just a few miles away.
“Let them know you have a great university right up the street and kind of opening up that bubble of SMU and really get us being Dallas’ team,” said Defensive Line Demerick Gary, who grew up in Oak Cliff.
That push comes from a new partnership between SMU and Dallas, who recognize they’re stronger together then apart. SMU debuted new helmets with a Mustang inside the city logo and new jerseys that say “Dallas.”
The school also launched a billboard campaign highlighting local players. Dallas Council Member David Blewett wore a Mustang uniform himself in the 80s.
“I think to be a great city, you have to have a great university, and SMU is the natural partner for us,” Blewett said. “The city of Dallas likes a winner, so whether it’s the Cowboys, the Mavericks, the Stars, the Rangers, or the Mustangs, when you’re winning, good things happen.”