Biden rejects some plea deal conditions for 9/11 suspects,


President Biden rejected certain conditions sought by five suspected 9/11 plotters, including the accused mastermind behind the attack, in exchange for guilty pleas.

A spokesperson for the National Security Council said Wednesday that Biden did not agree with the guarantees asked by the detainees — such as sparing them solitary confinement and providing medical treatment for alleged abuses in CIA custody. 

However, sparing them the death penalty was still on the table. 

“The President concurred with the Secretary of Defense’s recommendation not to accept the Joint Policy Principles that had been proposed by the 9-11 Defendants as a basis for plea negotiations,” the spokesperson said.

“The 9/11 attacks were the single worst assault on the United States since Pearl Harbor. The President does not believe that accepting the joint policy principles as a basis for a pre-trial agreement would be appropriate in these circumstances.

“The Administration is committed to ensuring that the military commissions process is fair and delivers justice to the victims, survivors, families, and those accused of crimes,” the spokesperson added. 

Joe Biden
President Biden has rejected certain conditions for plea deals demanded by alleged 9/11 plotters.
Bonnie Cash / Pool via CNP / SplashNews.com

Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the alleged principal architect of the 9/11 attacks, and four other suspected terrorists being held in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, had demanded guarantees from the Biden administration that they would not be forced to serve their sentences in solitary confinement and continue to be allowed to eat and pray together if they were to plead guilty to terrorism charges, according to the New York Times. 

The alleged terrorists also sought treatment for sleep disorders, brain injuries, gastrointestinal damage or other health issues that they claim were brought on by “enhanced interrogation techniques” used by CIA operatives while in custody. 

 Khalid Shaikh Mohammed
The alleged terrorists, including Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, could still be spared the death penalty.

Those conditions, referred to as Joint Policy Principles in court filings, were rejected by Biden. However, plea agreements that would remove the possibility of death sentences for the five men remain on the table, according to the outlet.

Some relatives of the nearly 3,000 people killed in the terror attacks expressed outrage when they were notified by the Biden administration last month that plea deals sparing the accused terrorists the death penalty were being considered. 

Biden, 80, reportedly took no position on the prospect of eliminating the possibility of death sentences for the five men, according to the New York Times, a matter that will be determined by the Pentagon’s Office of the Convening Authority of the Military Commission.

9/11 attack.
Families of 9/11 attack victims have expressed outrage that the Biden administration would consider plea deals that offer the accused terrorists life sentences.
New York Post

The case involving Mohammed and the four other Guantanamo Bay detainees has been mired in legal disputes and delays, particularly concerning the treatment of the alleged terrorists during their four years in CIA custody before being transferred to the US detention facility in Cuba in 2006. 

One of the accused plotters, Ramzi bin al-Shibh, was also found by a military medical board last month to be incompetent to stand trial or be offered a plea deal and has been excluded from negotiations. 

No trial date has been set for the five suspected 9/11 conspirators. 

The Trump administration had previously ruled out any plea bargains with the suspected terrorists. 

Biden will not be participating in any observances at 9/11 memorial sites in New York City, Virginia or Pennsylvania, next week, opting instead to join service members and their families at a military base in Anchorage. 

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Federal judge declines to overturn death penalty in murder


INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A federal judge in Indianapolis has rejected another request to overturn the death penalty for a man convicted of murdering two Indiana children.

Judge Sarah Evans Barker issued her ruling Tuesday in the case of Jeffrey Alan Weisheit.

Weisheit was sentenced to death in 2013 for the deaths of his girlfriend’s children: Alyssa Lynch, 8, and Caleb Lynch, 5.

Investigators said Weisheit set fire to the Lynch home in Evansville in April 2010, killing both children.

Alyssa was found in a closet where authorities believe she was trying to hide from the fire.

Police said Caleb had been bound and gagged in what the coroner called a “hog-tied position.” 

In Tuesday’s order, Judge Barker ruled that Weisheit had not proven ineffective assistance by lawyers in his appeals and that he “has engaged in intentional delay” in the court proceedings.

Barker’s ruling does allow Weisheit to appeal to a federal appeals court.

Both the Indiana Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court have rejected previous appeals in the case.

Weisheit is one of eight inmates currently awaiting execution in Indiana.

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Death penalty sought in case against Middlesboro, KY mother


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Commonwealth of Kentucky now plans to seek the death penalty against the woman charged in the death of a 17-month-old.

Erica Lawson was arraigned Tuesday morning in Bell County Circuit Court. During the hearing, a Notice of Aggravating Circumstance was filed in her case, according to Bell County Commonwealth Attorney Lisa Fugate. This informs Lawson that the Commonwealth now seeks to impose the death penalty.

The investigation into Lawson began in July after her child was taken to East Tennessee Children’s Hospital on July 28. The hospital staff attempted to save the toddler by putting her on life support; however, the child died on July 30 due to the severity of her injuries. According to Fugate, the child had signs of physical and sexual abuse.

Lawson is facing murder, failure to report child dependency, neglect, or abuse, and first-degree wanton endangerment charges. She was arrested in connection with the child’s death on July 30. Her case was bound over to a grand jury on Aug. 8.

The Department of Child Services is assisting the Middlesboro Police Department in the investigation. MPD is also gathering DNA evidence to assist officers in “bringing the culprits to justice.”

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Bell Co. Commonwealth’s Attorney to seek death penalty for


MIDDLESBORO, Ky. (WTVQ) — The Bell County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office on Tuesday filed a notice to seek the death penalty for the woman accused of killing her 17-month-old child.

The “Notice of Aggravating Circumstances” filed in Bell County Circuit Court states that the Commonwealth of Kentucky, through attorney Lisa Fugate, is requesting that if Erica Lawson is convicted of the murder of her child that the death penalty be an option the jury may choose, according to WRIL.

The filing states that:

“Comes the Commonwealth for the purpose of notifying the Defendant that it intends to present evidence regarding an aggravating circumstance, pursuant to KRS 532.025 (2)(a)(9), that being that the offense of murder was intentional and resulted in the death of a seventeen month old toddler. Therefore, the Commonwealth intends to seek the imposition of the death penalty.”

On July 28, Lawson’s 17-month-old child was hospitalized and then died following severe injuries, including sexual assault.

The child, who was taken to Middlesboro ARH Hospital, arrived with severe injuries. Due to the extent of the child’s injuries, she was flown to East Tennessee Children’s Hospital in Knoxville.

Medical staff attempted to stabilize the child but due to the incident, she was declared brain dead and died that Sunday evening.

Lawson was arrested Sunday night.

She’s charged with murder, failure to report child abuse, criminal abuse (child under 12) and wanton endangerment.

Lawson is being held on a $1,000,000 cash bond in the Leslie County Detention Center.

DNA results have not yet returned from the lab from several submissions of others that may be involved in the case, WRIL added.

No additional arrests have been made yet.

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World News | Pakistan: Rawalpindi Court Orders Death


Rawalpindi [Pakistan], September 5 (ANI): An additional district and sessions court of Rawalpindi awarded death penalty to four accused in a blasphemy case filed by the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) Cyber Crime Wing (CCW), The Express Tribune reported on Tuesday.

Apart from this, the fifth accused was sentenced to seven years in jail by the court.

Also Read | US Military Equipment Left in Afghanistan Now in Militant Hands, Says Pakistan Caretaker PM Anwarul-Haq-Kakar.

The Pakistan-based news daily reported that hearing the case, Additional District and Sessions Judge (ADSJ) Ahsan Mahmood Malik passed the judgment in two separate cases.

Judge Malik in his ruling in the blasphemy case stated, “Blasphemy against the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and desecration of the Holy Quran were heinous and unforgivable crimes. The perpetrators of these crimes do not deserve any concession or leniency.”

Also Read | Jill Biden Tests Positive for COVID-19, President Joe Biden’s Results Negative.

The judge convicted Wazir Gul, Muhammad Amin, Faizan Razak and Muhammad Rizwan, and sentenced them to death and a fine of Rs 100,000 for the crime under Section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and life imprisonment and a fine of Rs100,000 under the Section 295-B of the PPC.

The Express Tribune reported, the fifth accused in the case, Usman Liqquat has been awarded with seven-year jail and a fine of Pak currency Rs 20,000.

The CCW registered the case against the five convicts on September 12, 2022, based on a complaint filed by civilian Umair.

The CCW presented blasphemous videos and social media posts retrieved from the phones seized from the possession of the criminals to the court. (ANI) 

(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from Syndicated News feed, LatestLY Staff may not have modified or edited the content body)

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Delhi Court Awards Death Penalty To Three Convicts In


Death Penalty To 3 In Gangrape-Murder Of Woman, Killing Her Two Children

The convicts first killed the woman with a screwdriver and then strangulated her.

New Delhi:

A Delhi Court has recently awarded death sentence to three men for gang-raping and murder of a woman along with her two minor children, a boy (7) and a girl (6).

The convicts first killed the woman with a screwdriver and then strangulated her. Thereafter they killed her two children and then robbed the house. This matter pertains to the area of Khyala police station. 

An FIR was registered in 2015. The complaint was filed by the husband of the deceased. Four persons, including a minor (juvenile), were involved in the brutal rape and murders. 

Special Fast Track Court Judge Aanchal of Tis Hazari Court awarded the death sentence to Shahid, Akram and Rafat Ali alias Manzoor Ali for the offence under section 302 (murder) and 120B (criminal conspiracy). 

They have been awarded life imprisonment for the offences of gang rape and robbery. The court has also imposed a fine of Rs 35000 on each convict. The court had convicted the accused persons on August 22.

“There is a constant chain of evidence when the three accused were seen going upstairs to the place of incident and thereafter the heinous crime of three murder, one rape and robbery came into light, thereafter the four including three accused and Juvenile left Delhi one after another, then met at Aligarh on 23.09.2015 where the proceeds of offence was distributed and disposed off and the t-shirts of three accused, scree-driver, the weapon of offence of commission of murder of “S” was found bearing blood stains of deceased and none of the accused presented any hypothesis inconsistent to the finding of their guilt,” the court said. 

The court said that it was also proved that the three accused Shahid, Rafat Ali and Akram conspired in the case.

“Call records and accompanying evidence in the form of the recoveries effected in pursuance of disclosure statements prove that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the conspiracy existed between accused Shahid, Akram and Rafat Ali and one JCL before the date of the incident, even on 19.09.2015 and it continued till 23.09.2015, the day when the proceeds of the crime where shared amongst the accused persons,” the court noted. 

The court also noted that a pattern was observed that no call was made back-to-back but the calls were made after a lapse of a few minutes or hours. “Rafat Ali left Delhi on 21.09.2015 at about 10 am morning and thereafter Shahid reached Anand Vihar, Delhi at 10:29 pm of the same day on 21.09.2015 to leave Delhi and then his location was at Aligarh at 10:34 am of 22.09.2015,” the court said.

The juvenile was in the roaming network since 08:20 am of 22.09.2015 and Akram was out of network of Delhi even at 08:20 am of 23.09.2015 but there was always a call between the one who left Delhi and Shahid and then calls between Shahid and Rafat Ali and similar communication when accused leaving Delhi reached his destination, the court noted.

The court observed, “It is very strange that frequent calls were being exchanged between the SIM used by Shahid and Akram only around the time which matches to the time of the commission of three murders and a number of calls were exchanged between four only on the date of commission of the offence and on 23.09.2015, the day when they were at Aligarh.”

“Therefore, though no content of the calls are on record, their call records are showing very unusual conduct, indicating intensely their involvement in the commission of the offence of three murders, rape and robbery,” the judge said.

“These are proved as a link connecting them to the crime of the present case and these are also the evidence which proves that the four accused Rafat Ali, Shahid, Akram and Juvenile were sharing a common agreement to commit the offence which is proving that the accused Rafat Ali, Shahid, Akram and Juvenile were sharing a common agreement to commit the offence,” the court further noted.

The FIR in the present case was registered on the statement of the husband of the deceased lady ‘S’ and father of two deceased children who were found dead on the Second Floor of their House in Raghubir Nagar, Delhi on 21.09.2015.

The complainant had stated that he was residing at that very address since the last three years on rent with his wife ‘S’ and two sons aged seven years and one year respectively and three
daughters, aged six years, three years and two years respectively.

He was a permanent resident of District Kashganj, Uttar Pradesh and used to sell old jeans pants and for this, he used to go to Jaipur every Saturday and in the same manner, he went to Jaipur at about 09.30 pm on 19.09.2015 leaving his wife and children in good health and when he returned on that very day about 06.00 am and reached on second floor then he found that the door was latched from outside and as he opened the same, he found his wife and one son and one daughter dead and his remaining three children were sleeping on the floor and there was blood in the neck and nose of his wife and her neck was tied with dupatta, whereas neck of his daughter was tied with a handkerchief, and finding them in such condition, he got perplexed and started crying due to which his three children got awake and then he called his brother-in-law (Saala) and one Azim.

During this course, someone called the police and he had doubts on his landlord Fahim for the murder of his wife and children and he intended that he may be enquired.

On 21.09.2015, he also stated that on checking his house, he found that one silver anklet, gold earrings (jhumki), silver maangteeka coated with gold, two pairs of silver hathphool, silver dastana, two necklaces of artificial jewellery and a sum of Rs 18,550 were not there.

When he enquired at his level, Shabbu son of another tenant, who resides on first floor of the same house, said that last night at about 09.45 pm, Akram and ‘H’ alias ‘F’ (minor) and two boys ascending the stair, went into the room of deceased and locked the door and he had not seen any person other than them going there.

The complainant informed that he doubted that Akram, H and his two friends had taken those articles and committed murder of his wife and children. He gave the name of the father and address of the accused Akram and also stated that he knew Akram and H.

On the basis of the post-mortem report of deceased ‘S’, Section 376 (Rape) IPC was added. Further, on receipt of information from the informer, two accused Shahid and Mohd. Akram were apprehended on 04.10.2015 from a park near HMP Raghuvir Nagar.

They were interrogated and they disclosed the commission of murder, robbery and gang rape with the deceased by them along with their associates Manzoor and H and the case was converted u/S 376(D) IPC. The two accused Shahid and Akram were arrested.

One mobile phone with two IMEI numbers with SIM cards was found in possession of accused Shahid, whereas a black colour Lava mobile phone bearing two IMEIs with SIM cards and some money was found in possession of accused Akram.

The juvenile was arrested from Khajuri Chowk and Rafat Ali was arrested from Aligarh.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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SC asks Patna HC to reconsider death penalty given to rape,


The Supreme Court on Monday set aside the Patna High Court order awarding the death penalty to a man for killing and raping a minor girl in Bihar and asked the Patna HC to reconsider the matter.
The apex court remanded the matter back to Patna High Court for fresh adjudication.
“…we are left with no other alternative but to set aside the impugned judgment of the High Court and remit the matter back to the High Court for deciding the reference under Section 366 of the CrPC in the manner it ought to have been decided, more particularly keeping in mind the serious lapses on the part of the defence in not proving major contradictions in the form of material omissions surfacing from the oral evidence of the prosecution witnesses,” the court said.
The top court was hearing the appeal of convict Munna Pandey against the capital punishment given to him by the Patna High Court.
The case pertains to the killing and rape of a minor girl in 2015 in a village in Bihar’s Bhagalpur district.
A trial court convicted Munna Pandey for the offence and sentenced him to the death penalty. The punishment was later confirmed by the Patna HC.

Munna Pandey later challenged the order in the Supreme Court

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Rape and murder of minor: SC sets aside Patna HC verdict


The Supreme Court Monday set aside the Patna High Court verdict handing down the death penalty to a man accused of raping and strangling to death an 11-year-old girl who had gone to watch television at his home in 2015.

Finding fault with the appreciation of evidence, the top court remanded back to the Patna High Court for “expeditious re-adjudication”, the appeal of the convict and the plea of Bihar government seeking confirmation of the death penalty.

“We are remanding the matter to the Patna High Court for fresh adjudication after setting aside the judgement,” a bench comprising Justices B R Gavai, J B Pardiwala and Prashant Kumar Mishra said.

It said the hearing in the case turned “topsy turvy” in the high court.

It asked the Chief Justice of the Patna High Court to allocate the case to a bench which would decide the matter expeditiously keeping in mind that accused Munna Pandey was in jail for around nine years.

The top court also asked the high court to provide the accused the services of a reputed criminal lawyer to argue his case during the re-hearing.

The detailed judgement is awaited.

According to the prosecution, the accused had raped and strangled the girl on June 1, 2015 when she had allegedly gone to his home in a village in Bihar’s Bhagalpur district to watch television.

The trial court in Bhagalpur had in 2017 convicted the accused of rape and murder and handed down the death penalty, holding the offence fell under the rarest of rare category.

The Patna High Court had in 2018 dismissed his appeal against conviction and confirmed the death penalty.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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SMU joins the ACC: How the Mustangs rose from the death


SMU football is set to have a seat in a major NCAA conference for the first time in nearly three decades after the ACC accepted the Mustangs, along with Cal and Stanford, as expansion members in time for the 2024-25 academic year. The addition of those schools, approved by ACC members Friday in a 12-3 vote, puts SMU back on a stage it hasn’t seen since 1995, which was the final season before the Southwest Conference — which the Mustangs were members of for the bulk of the 20th century — dissolved. 

“This is a transformational day for SMU,” university president R. Gerald Turner said in a statement via the ACC. “Becoming a member of the ACC will positively impact all aspects of the collegiate experience on the Hilltop and will raise SMU’s profile on a national level. We want to thank everyone who has helped position SMU for this important moment. Joining the ACC is an historic milestone in our institution’s history, and the start of a new chapter in SMU Athletics.”

For more than three decades, SMU has sought a return to prominence after it was rocked by the NCAA “death penalty” stemming from repeated NCAA violations, most notably under-the-table payments to players. The Mustangs have spent plenty of time wandering in the desert since, but a program that has flashed recently is now set to take a milestone step in joining the ACC next year — even without receiving any conference revenue for nine years. 

“It’s just great for our university; obviously for our athletics program, but also our school as a whole” SMU football coach Rhett Lashlee, entering his second year at the helm, told reporters Friday on campus.”You think about where our school has come from in the past three or four decades, and there are so many fans, alumni and board members that have longed for this day for decades. … There’s a lot of validation that we are back in a position where we can be on that stage and compete at that level where we feel like we belong.” 

Below is a look at SMU’s trek back to having a seat at the table in the power conference landscape. 

1987-88: SMU football goes dark after NCAA death penalty

SMU’s on-field momentum from the early 1980s was already waning after posting back-to-back 6-5 finishes from 1985-86, but then came the crushing blow in February 1987, when the NCAA slammed SMU with a “Death Penalty” punishment for widespread recruiting violations, shutting the Mustangs’ football program for two seasons. Scholarships were stripped away en masse, and SMU did not take the field again until 1989 — the NCAA canceled the Mustangs’ 1987 campaign before the school itself elected to not play in 1988 — as it faced NCAA sanctions that have been seen since in terms of severity. It all made for an abrupt halt for a program that flourished in the early 1980s amid emergence of the “Pony Express” running back duo of Craig James and Eric Dickerson.

SMU didn’t draw many fans to this 1995 game vs. Texas at the Cotton Bowl.

1989-95: Mustangs a non-factor as Southwest Conference fizzles

SMU returned to the field in 1989, but due to the effects of the severe sanctions, the Mustangs only won two games that season. It marked the start of a seven-year stretch in which the Mustangs only won 13 games, not winning a conference game again until 1992. Problems on the Hilltop only compounded when the Southwest Conference, which SMU had been part of since 1918, began to fracture, starting with Arkansas’ decision in 1991 to exit for the SEC. The league eventually dissolved after the 1995 season, and the Mustangs were not included when Texas, Texas A&M, Baylor and Texas Tech joined forces with the Big Eight schools to form the Big 12. Rice, Houston and longtime rival TCU were also left behind during that split. 

1996-2012: The wilderness of the WAC, Conference USA

With the Southwest Conference no more, SMU found a home in the WAC in 1996, where it remained through 2004. The 1997 campaign — the program’s fist under coach Mike Cavan — brought the Mustangs their first winning season (6-5) post-death penalty, but they wouldn’t finish above. 500 again while in the WAC. Lows from that stay included a winless season in 2003. 

SMU found a new home when it joined Conference USA in 2005. The Mustangs endured consecutive 1-11 finishes from 2007-08, but a coaching transition from Phil Bennet to June Jones between those seasons ultimately ushered in some hope for SMU. Jones guided the Mustangs to eight wins and a bowl game in 2009, feats that SMU had not accomplished since a 10-2 finish in 1984. That kicked off a stretch in which the Mustangs reached a bowl game in four straight years under Jones before SMU again found itself on the move.

2013-23: Twists and turns in the AAC 

SMU’s admittance into the American Athletic Conference a decade ago was a step forward for the Mustangs in terms of conference strength, but the early returns weren’t promising. SMU’s AAC debut in 2013 saw the program finish below .500 (5-7) before the bottom gave out in 2014. Jones resigned two games into the season as SMU plummeted to a 1-11 record. Jones’ eventual replacement, Chad Morris, got the Mustangs back to a bowl game by 2017, only to leave the Hilltop for an ill-fated tenure at Arkansas.

Morris’ departure, however, gave way to SMU soon putting together its best three-year stretch of football in decades when the Mustangs went across the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex to hire Sonny Dykes — then an analyst at TCU — as coach. SMU showed growing pains during a 5-7 finish in Dykes’ 2018 debut, but an increased emphasis on NCAA transfer portal — specifically power conference players with Dallas-area roots — gave way to SMU flipping the script under Dykes in 2019. The Mustangs rode a 8-0 start to their first 10-win season since 1984, and also spent time in the AP Top 25 rankings for the first time since 1986.

SMU continued its winning ways under Dykes for the next two years, going 25-7 in a three-year stretch from 2019-21 before he was eventually poached by TCU to replace longtime Horned Frogs coach Gary Patterson. The Mustangs subsequently turned to Lashlee — Dykes’ offensive coordinator at SMU from 2018-19 — to fill the void. Lashlee guided SMU to a 7-6 finish in his debut last season. 

2023: ACC gives SMU a seat at the table

Friday’s ACC announcement marks the culmination of a strong push by SMU to join a power conference amid a stretch in which college athletics has been dominated by conference realignment and NIL. The Mustangs were seen for the better part of the last year as strong candidates to join the Pac-12 if it sought to backfill the loss of USC and UCLA to the Big Ten. Of course, the Pac-12 now finds itself sitting on the brink of extinction with 10 of its 12 members departing in 2024, but those dominoes opened a door with the ACC.

The wealthy booster base at SMU’s disposal is no secret — it’s a big reason why SMU is willing to forgo ACC revenue payments for nearly a decade — and the Mustangs haven’t been afraid to flex that. Within the past year, SMU broke ground on a new $100 million end zone complex at Gerald J. Ford Stadium, bolstered by a record $50 million gift to its athletic department from the Garry Weber Foundation. The university isn’t expecting donor support to slow down either.

“I expect that the individuals who have gotten us to this point will continue to invest, because that is who they are and what they do,” SMU athletic director Rick Hart told reporters Friday. “This is really an opportunity. We need to broaden that support base, and we need others who have been on the sidelines or have been hesitant, whatever it is to step forward. And I don’t think there is any other moment where you could replicate the opportunity we have.” 

Unsurprisingly, SMU has also been a major player in the NIL landscape since the NCAA permitted players to be compensated for their likeness two years ago. In August 2022, it was revealed that SMU football and basketball players could earn $36,000 annually in NIL compensation through the Boulevard Collective, spearheaded by a group of SMU alumni and donors. The school also hasn’t been afraid to embrace its notorious past that led to the NCAA sanctions now that student-athletes can profit freely. 

It remains to be seen how SMU will fare amid increased competition in the ACC, but the Mustangs sit in the heart of a fertile recruiting ground in North Texas. SMU’s 2023 signing class was ranked No. 41 in the country by 247Sports, which included the No. 13 ranked transfer class for that cycle. Add in power conference branding with NIL backing, and luring talent shouldn’t be an issue on the Hilltop. 

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