Indiana Basketball – More words from Bloomington as IU Athletics hopes in vain kids will suddenly listen

by Kent Sterling

Athlete misbehavior was an athlete problem that became a coach probrem that became an AD problem, and now it's an IU president Michael McRobbie (above) problem.

Athlete misbehavior was an athlete problem that became a coach probrem that became an AD problem, and now it’s an IU president Michael McRobbie (above) problem.

Unless former Indiana University president and chancellor Herman B. Wells can be reanimated, the highest authority in Bloomington has spoken on the recent spate of misbehavior authored by athletes – primarily basketball players.

University president Michael McRobbie told a meeting of athletic department employees Tuesday, “What I do not want to see is any more stories of repeated student misbehavior. They embarrass the university, they embarrass all of you in Athletics, and they are a complete distraction from our primary role as an educational institution.  This misbehavior simply has to stop.

“I expect all of you to ensure that my message is heard loud and clear by all student-athletes.  I have stressed repeatedly that our student-athletes are first and foremost students! Our ultimate goal is to help them obtain a degree that will prepare them for career and life success.  We owe this to them.”

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Can’t argue with any of the words, but listening hasn’t exactly been a strength of the athletes who have recently been cited, arrested, and suspended.  Admonishments haven’t been in short supply, but actions continue to embarrass.

That’s because young men aren’t stupid.  They understand the difference between meaningless and meaningful consequence, and minus Hanner Mosquera-Perea and Devin Davis being shown the door a couple of months ago for reportedly getting stoned in a dorm room, responses to their idiocy by the supposed adults in the department has revealed a frailty in leadership.

Kids smell fear like sharks smell blood, and it has been clear from the time Tom Crean suspended Hanner Mosquera-Perea for two games following his OWI a year and a half ago that he was more concerned with athlete availability than student education and discipline.

The horse sprinted from the barn at that moment, and he hasn’t looked back since.

Basketball players aren’t stupid, just like the other 39,987 students on campus aren’t stupid.  Before acting, they ask, “What’s the worst that can happen if I break a rule?”  If the imagined consequence doesn’t reach a level that gets their attention, they act with impunity, and that is where the state of discipline within the Indiana Basketball team exists today.

For those who defend Crean by pointing out the patently obvious that Crean cannot monitor the players 24/7, I would remind them that no authority figure in life can do that either – not a parent, boss, coach, or mentor.  What authority figures can do is hire or recruit the kind of people they feel can be trusted, establish solid boundaries through clear communication, and enforce a culture by exerting outcomes that serve as meaningful incentives and disincentives.

Judging by the rampant drinking and drug issues in the basketball program, Crean’s report card as a leader of young men in those three areas reads F, F, and F.

When Mosquera-Perea was arrested for that OWI, it was a Mosquera-Perea problem.  When Perea’s behavior didn’t change, it became a Crean problem.  When basketball players continued to break laws and department rules for alcohol and drug use, it became athletic director Fred Glass’s problem.  And now, with yet more bad decision making, it is a McRobbie problem.

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“Who are we?  What do we stand for?  What are we willing to do to enforce those positions?” are the questions that lead to the development of a culture.  Those who assail Indiana Basketball for a lack of culture miss the point.  The culture of the basketball team is clear.  It was initiated through an indifference to enforcing boundaries and metastasized into routine debauchery shortly thereafter.

Words are not going to change the behavior of young adults, regardless of the level from which they are delivered.  It is action that determines obedience.  Crean has yelled.  Glass has yelled.  And now McRobbie has yelled.

When will they learn that the only people listening are those who don’t need to be told?

10 thoughts on “Indiana Basketball – More words from Bloomington as IU Athletics hopes in vain kids will suddenly listen

  1. Matterhorn

    As Bob Knight used to say “Fear is a great motivator.” This starts at the most basic level when you are a coach. Player turns ball over player comes out of game, player takes bad shot player comes out, none of this happens with Crean on the court so why would we expect him to have control off the court. He has ZERO control of this team. What is the administration waiting for, IU is past the July 1 deadline so his buyout goes down, fire him now, don’t turn this into a circus in the springtime. Also, what coach “allows” his star point guard to have a party at Ruth’s chris (I realize it got cancelled but still) to announce he is coming back, has Crean not taught any humility to these guys has he not broken them down and built them back up……NO.

  2. Realist

    Not to worry!!! We will just buy each IU player’s parents a copy of the Zeller’s new book: “How to Successfully Raise Middle Class White Kids in a Small Town”. Problem solved!

      1. Rb

        It just blows my mind, with the salaries of the coach, AD and president, they can’t figure this out. (These guys are some of the highest paid employees in the state) They have great contracts, when the players win, they get raises and promotions, when things don’t go so well, they run for the hills, but still get to keep their paycheck????

  3. Steve Brown

    Finally, thanks to President McRobbie, someone finally clearly stated what the behavior standard is going to be at Indiana University. I appreciate the fact that Crean, Glass, and Wilson have taken steps to address some of these behavioral issues. However, guess what! Any more issues may directly fall on the IU Athletics Department Management. What a wake up call! I love it even though it may mean another 10 years of mediocre play.

    Good Bye, Emmitt Holt. I loved the way that you played last year. I anticipated that you would become a star at IU. You had every opportunity and you blew it. Two strikes and you are out! Go play at PODUNK STATE and see how highly you are drafted into the NBA.

    As for the other kid, he gets one strike. Any more stupid moves, and he can go play for Jim Boehiem. Boehiem is used to dealing with these kids. He just lets them do what they want with no repercussions.

    Coach Crean, the days of touchy, feely, lovey, family days are over. Otherwise, you can pack your bags with Emmitt and accompany him to PODUNK.

    1. sha

      Jim Boehiem stopped recruiting him so did John Calipari. Looks like Crean is the coach who lets kids do what ever they want.CTC has got to come down hard on these kids.

      1. Steven Brown

        Crean and Glass have to come down on these kids, or guess what, McRobbie is going to see that they will be employed somewhere else. That’s the message. Thank God, McRobbie finally decide to manage this situation.

  4. Rb

    I GET IT! This is all a movie, a scene out of animal house, Dean Vernon Wormer says I hate those guys and can never discipline them.


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