In an interview with CBS Sports senior writer Dennis Dodd, Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson said there is no need for San Diego State running back Donnel Pumphrey to acknowledge Ron Dayne’s career rushing total.
“There will always be a point in time when standards change,” Thompson told CBS Sports, responding to Dayne’s wish that Pumphrey recognize the yards Dayne rushed for in bowl games.
“It’s not Donnel Pumphrey’s place to determine such. He didn’t make the ruling, nor should he apologize for rushing for 6,402 yards over his career and be recognized however and by whomever determines his ranking.”
While the NCAA record book may say otherwise, Wisconsin fans know that no player in college football history rushed for more yards than Dayne.
Pumphrey claimed the official career rushing record this past season, finishing with 6,405 yards during his four seasons with the Aztecs.
Except, the NCAA recognized Pumphrey’s bowl game performances, a luxury Dayne and every other player before 2002 did not have. Dayne’s official career mark is 6,397 yards, when in reality he rushed for 7,125 yards during his Badgers career.
Dayne has been forthcoming about his displeasure, but not everyone sides with the Wisconsin legend. In response to pressure from Dayne and others, the NCAA released a statement back in December defending its position.
Former NCAA statistician Jim “Jungle” Wright expressed a similar argument to Dodd.
“We’ll go ahead and change that because we know what Ron Dayne did in that bowl game,” Wright said rhetorically. “That’s great until you hear from the grandfather of some kid, ‘My grandson caught 10 passes in the Cotton Bowl in 1968.’
“There would be no end to it.”
In the CBS Sports column, Dodd takes a broad look at the NCAA’s decision not to retroactively tally statistics from bowl games played between 1937 and 2001, and the reasons why it took until 2002 for the rule to change.
In addition to Wright and Thompson, Dodd also spoke to Dayne about why it pains him to see Pumphrey’s name ahead of his in the records. The whole thing is worth a read for Wisconsin fans left scratching their heads — and signing petitions — because of what some view as an apparent disregard for Dayne’s rightful place in history.