Tony Dungy, OU quarterback? If not for scholarship restrictions, it could’ve happened
NORMAN — Can you imagine Tony Dungy as Oklahoma’s quarterback in the mid-1970s, running the wishbone offense?
It could’ve happened, Barry Switzer said, had the NCAA not imposed scholarship restrictions in January 1973.
I interviewed Switzer late in the summer for a package about the rule changes in the early 1970s that, first, allowed freshmen eligibility in football and men’s basketball and, second, restricted the number of scholarships football programs could offer.
A couple stories about the changes ran in The Oklahoman on Sunday, Aug. 26, but there were several leftover — and very cool —anecdotes from Switzer and others I interviewed that I didn’t have room for. Then, the season started and I got busy.
But over the next couple weeks, I’ll be posting some of those stories here on the OU blog. The first is about the Super Bowl-winning coach who could’ve been a Sooner.
Back before the rule changes, when Chuck Fairbanks was head coach and Switzer was still offensive coordinator, the Sooners had “eight or nine teams of depth” and “over 200 kids dressed out,” Switzer said.
Back before the NCAA mandated a 30-scholarship limit, the Big Eight Conference allowed its schools 45 each year — and, if they weren’t all used, up to five scholarships could be banked for the next year, or five could be borrowed from the next year.
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