SMU Football Coach Defends Cutting 9 Players

Tough-love coach, known for three-strikes suspension policy, said the players violated team rules.

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Southern Methodist University's football coach June Jones defended his decision to cut nine scholarship players from his team, citing the best interests of the team and players, the Daily Campus

reports. "It was a hard decision to make," said Jones at a faculty luncheon. "But I made the decision in the best interest of, believe it or not, the kids ... It's a privilege to play football at SMU."

Jones has been head coach for just 13 months, and already he has received much press about his three strikes policy with players, which led to numerous suspensions last football season. A "strike" could be a missed practice, study hall, weight-lifting session, or class—and after three, players would receive a two-game suspension.

Jones said the nine released players had violated team rules. The former players have the option to appeal, and if they win, they retain their scholarship but would not be guaranteed a spot on the team. At least two players have expressed intent to appeal.