Indiana Basketball vs. LIU-Brooklyn Tonight; as With Most FBS Home Schedules, Something Needs to Change

by Kent Sterling

I don't believe any of these guys have eligibility remaining for tonight's game, but fans wouldn't notice if they played.

I don’t believe any of these guys have eligibility remaining for tonight’s game, but fans wouldn’t notice if they played.

Somehow or another, every FBS program in college basketball has decided that it’s wise to schedule an endless stream of patsies at home prior to conference play.  It cheats the fans, the game, and the competitive spirit that college basketball is supposed to embrace.

Indiana will play LIU-Brooklyn tonight at Assembly Hall in front of rabid fans hoping to see meaningful basketball.  What they will get is a scrimmage between a team that needs to take some live batting practice and another team that knows its job is to groove those fastballs.

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If the game is competitive, Indiana fans will see it as a portend of horror when the fur flies for real on New Years Eve against Illinois.

Indiana is no different from any other major college program.  They play the easiest home schedule they can because home losses in November come back to bite you in the ass come March as the NCAA committee sits to evaluate which at-large teams fit in the field of 68, and because home games mean significant money.

The victims are the fans who buy season tickets, and are forced to buy Samford in order to get Michigan State.  The dynamic is very similar to cable packages.  I watch sports 95% of the time on TV, but in order to get all of that programming, I have to buy access to hundreds of networks in which I have no interest.

It’s also very similar to the preseason NFL games that are must buys for season ticket holders.  They are meaningless and have no value to ticket holders, but there is no way to opt out of buying the Bengals vs. Colts in August if you want Broncos & Peyton vs. Colts in October.

The non conference home schedule for Indiana includes games versus opponents whose acronyms I don’t recognize, like UNF – which I assume is North Florida.  Let me click on it – yes, I was right.  The Hoosiers will play the University of North Florida Ospreys on December 7 at Assembly Hall.

The Ospreys?

The Hoosiers also play the Blackbirds, (not Georgia) Bulldogs, Seawolves, Purple Aces (that one I know is Evansville), Grizzlies, Colonels, and (not Temple) Owls.  If you can tell me which schools pair with those mascots, you are the sports information director of a division one university.

This isn’t an Indiana University problem.  The majority of programs stay away from playing real competition home and home because it makes no economic sense to do so.  It’s much better to play more home games against teams who happily accept tip money for their trouble instead of demanding a return game.

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The fans will pay to watch their favorite team play five hobos (one of the few nouns currently unclaimed by a college for its nickname), so why risk a loss and forfeit cash?

Just like my stupidity in continuing to pay my television content provider for networks like Nickelodeon, AWE (whatever the hell that is), OWN, MTV, Animal Planet, and hundreds of others, the collective ignorance or indifference of season ticket holders for college basketball drives the very behavior that we complain about.

When fans stop being sheep, the athletic departments of universities will stop abusing loyalty.

It’s hard to blame FBS schools for cashing in on our idiocy when we are unwilling to change our behavior.

You know when the NFL will change the preseason schedule? When fans stop reporting for duty to watch the slop.  Until consumers wise up and modify their behavior, there is no reason for coaches and athletic directors to change the construct of their schedules.

The question fans need to answer is whether fans want half as many great home games as those blowouts they currently get to see, or the maintenance of a schedule with meaningless games against unknown and unworthy competition.

I’ll be in Bloomington for the game against the Blackbirds tonight, and so will 17,000 Hoosier fans who seem not to give a damn whether Indiana tees it up against Long Island University-Brooklyn or the Long’s Doughnuts All-Stars.

As with so many annoyances today, it is what it is – until we decide that it shouldn’t be anymore.

13 thoughts on “Indiana Basketball vs. LIU-Brooklyn Tonight; as With Most FBS Home Schedules, Something Needs to Change

  1. Jeff Gregory

    I agree with this post, although I have to protest the mention of the University of Evansville in your post for two reasons:
    1. Evansville is at least in the Missouri Valley Conference – perhaps the best mid major conference in the country. With a recent history (the past few years) of a couple of teams being ranked throughout the season.
    2. I live in Evansville, so I am somewhat a homer (although I am an IU alum).

    The point is taken; season ticket holders kind of get the shaft.

  2. Rick

    I am in full agreement with you on topic. Also as a booster of IPFW I think it is ridiculous that IU has never given IPFW the opportunity to play in Bloomington. (IPFW has played at Purdue a number of times.) Then as an Indiana taxpayer I resent the fact that IU brings in small or mid-major schools from other states who leave Bloomington with large checks for these guarantee games. As long as this practice continues, I’m pretty sure that IPFW would be happy to show up at Bloomington to play for a large check that would then at least stay within the state of Indiana.

    1. kentsterling Post author

      I was a big IPFW backer when Dane Fife was the coach and Ben Botts the point guard. Ben is going to be an outstanding coach, and Dave continues to do great work at Michigan State.

  3. quick11

    “Indiana is no different than any other major college program”
    Michigan State v Kentucky and Kansas v Duke both on TV tonight.
    Sounds like some major programs playing big games early.
    Maybe some schools don’t subscribe to your theory.

    1. kentsterling Post author

      The post was about their home schedules, not neutral site games. Everyone plays competitive neutral site games.

  4. Fire Crean Corn

    Tonight’s game only proves that Indiana University needs to rethink signing huge contracts to giant blowhards like Crean Corn. He brought a Patsie and almost lost.

  5. M S L A

    This patsie understands how to play ball and took the north east 3 years 2010 , 2011, 2012 . what team did you play for ? and what year? and what are you doing now ?

    1. kentsterling Post author

      True enough. LIU-Brooklyn is very well coached, and Brickman is a hell of a good player. Regardless, losing to LIU-Brooklyn would be an unacceptable result at Assembly Hall.

  6. JD

    You should be embarrassed about this article . TheLIU Blackbirds were 2 free throws short of beating the IU Doughnut Allstars in a very exciting game.

    1. kentsterling Post author

      The problem is not with the competitiveness of LIU-Brooklyn or Samson, South Carolina State, or UMKC. It’s in the focus on cash as schedules are plotted. Fans will show up for any opponent, so the programs book teams that are long on heart and short on talent.

      That LIU-Brooklyn competed exceptionally well with Indiana was not part of the plan.

  7. Michael P. Warnock

    You bring forward an interesting point one that has been discussed by many people over the years. I think it is a matter of perspective really where people like you see these patsie games scheduled serving no benefit, yet I am more in alignment with it serves two benefits: 1) it provides opportunity to smaller lesser known schools to play on a big stage and gain experience, and 2) it allows our teams to get ready for tougher matchups to come and allowing young players to gain experience.

    Perhaps this is why we see more smaller schools like LIU making it to the big dance. They get opportunity to play and gain experience and sometimes even sneak a win here and there. I believe it serves as a benefit to both larger schools and smaller typically less talented or less experienced teams. However, I do agree that it would be nice to fit IUPUI and IUPFW in there every now and then for reasons you stated.

    Your article is well drafted but I just disagree to some degree.

    1. kentsterling Post author

      You are correct that there is benefit for the programs. That’s true with preseason NFL games too. My primary concern is for the fans paying retail for bargain basement competition – or more accurately game that provide no intrinsic excitement. Even if IU vs. LIU-Brooklyn was a very competitive game, who wants to see it?

      1. Michael P. Warnock

        Ah okay. Yes I see your point more vividly now. At least this game some of the proceeds go to cancer research (i think being part of the 2k classic or whatever). But yes I see your point. It is a very valid point. I’m not a season ticket holder or go to games very often. Usually I will if they are playing at Lucas Oil or Bankers Life. I do look forward to watching on tv but that’s a different story.


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