Southern Methodist University, seeking ways to stay strong during its probation, will try to put seven players on scholarship by Jan. 1 and may redshirt its entire freshman class from the past recruiting season.

To use the seven scholarships, SMU must sign the players before the new year and they must enroll for the spring semester, which begins in January.

The NCAA put SMU on probation in August for recruiting violations. But the NCAA and the Southwest Conference told school officials they can award the scholarships because the Mustangs are seven short of the NCAA limit of 95 football scholarships, the Dallas Times Herald reported.

Under the NCAA sanctions, the Mustangs lost all their scholarships in 1986 and can award only 15 of a possible 30 scholarships in 1987 . . .

One of seven players kicked off the Texas Christian University football team for taking payments from boosters said his "salary" ranged up to $1,500 a month, in addition to bonus payments he got when he made a big play.

Ron Zell Brewer, who played both as a defensive end and tight end, said he received between $200 and $1,500 a month from a Fort Worth land developer, and later received payments mailed to him or delivered by messenger, according to USA Today and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

"I was getting so much money that I thought the college level was pretty good," the fifth-year senior said. "I felt like I might like to stay an extra year."

Brewer identified his cash source as TCU alumnus J.C. Williams. Williams was involved in TCU recruiting efforts while Fred Taylor was coach from 1967-70 and then resurfaced in recruiting under F.A. Dry from 1977-82, the Star-Telegram said.

Brewer said players become accustomed to boosters during recruiting. He said the schools he visited -- Texas, Texas Tech, Baylor and TCU -- all hinted at what payments he might get. He said he received $2,500 when he signed a letter of intent to attend TCU. Then he got $200 a month from his booster until Jim Wacker became head coach in November 1982. Thereafter, he received $1,500 per semester in cash.

TCU has suspended seven players, including Brewer, for accepting payments from boosters.