Indiana was presented with a no-win scenario. They chose bad option B over Bad option A.
IU Athletic Director Fred Glass had no good option.
Two weeks ago, Glass had to choose whether Indiana should host a first round NIT game at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall or go on the road. This was contingent upon Indiana not playing well enough to be invited to the NCAA Tournament, but succeeding to the extent they qualified for the NIT.
Neither choice was inviting. If Indiana chose to host, it was likely the Hoosiers would play in a mostly empty Assembly Hall for two reasons – it would fall during spring break, and the majority of Indiana fans do not care about the NIT.
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Fans see an invitation to the NIT as a failure, and that is especially true during a season when Indiana found a way to beat Kansas and North Carolina early in the season, but lost 12 games to Big 10 opponents.
The second option was difficult to embrace because passing on the opportunity to host a tournament game against a quality opponent is virtual treason at Indiana. Choosing to travel instead of play at home runs counter to logic. The Hoosiers are a competent team at home, and routinely unsuccessful on the road.
Glass decided to pass.
The driver of the decision was the lasting damage of social media reports and photographs of a sparse – and frustrated – audience.
One of the remaining great selling points of IU Basketball is the passionate fan presence throughout the season. Corrupt that, and all might be lost.
In 2005, the crowd for a similar game was reported to be less than 4,000, despite upwards of 7,000 tickets being sold. That crowd – and the empty seats’ representation of apathy – was the final straw for then coach Mike Davis, who lasted one more very long year.
Since 2005, social media has exploded as each of us with a smart phone travels with a camera and multiple platforms for sharing photos, and it’s likely the pics of all those empty seats would haunt the Hoosiers program for decades. It would be seen as the all-time nadir for Indiana Basketball, and the damage would be to the foundation of the program.
Playing on the road would be a fixable and forgettable issue – more along the lines of a shattered window.
At least that’s what Glass determined after IU’s team forced him in this unenviable position through its mediocrity.
There was no positive road out of this, and the decision was made to take lumps now rather than invite longterm scorn in-perpetuity.
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One road led to a gang of thugs waiting to beat the hell out of Indiana Basketball, and the other led to a cliff over which the Hoosier program might drive.
No one likes getting the crap kicked out of them, but those wounds heel.
Kent Sterling hosts the fastest growing sportstalk show in Indianapolis on CBS Sports 1430 every weekday from 3p-7p, and writes about Indiana sports at kentsterling.com.
I think just talking about the empty seats that would have made Assembly Hall look like a ghost town isn’t as bad as actually seeing those empty seats. I don’t think the 3 players supposedly leaving for the NBA add Hartman, should Aty. Do something special next year whomever the. Coach is, and raise their stock. I’m over the Crean anger. I’m over a season that could have been. I’m just ready for something to change. I have become disinterested in. Lot of ways for the first time in my life. Until something changes, ithe mediocrity has taken away the hope I feels before each season.
Glass should have never committed to play in the Not Important Tourney. Make the coach and players wallow and think about their disastrous effort this year. BTW – if Crean isn’t canned within a week or so, Glass should be fired too.
Totally agree it is in the best interest of the Indiana Basketball Program for both the coach and Director to be let go.! We are Hoosiers and we are Basketball!
Kent – why didn’t you press Glass on Crean’s future? Why let him off the hook? IU & Assembly Hall are in this embarrassing predicament because Glass has allowed an incompetent coach to stick around too long – now look at the program. It’s a disgrace.
When should he have been fired sooner? After the 2013 outright B1G title or the 2016 outright B1G title?
Because I already knew his answer, and the question would have done nothing more than a grandstanding play. He would have said what he always says that he’ll evaluate the season when its work is complete.
If I’m an IU fan, you gotta wonder if there are other cracks somewhere else. I don’t think anybody should be hunting for Mr. Glass’ job yet. I’m hoping they are putting enough pressure on him to make sure those cracks are shored up and there isn’t something percolating underneath.
Our administration’s Norma Desmond type response to the at home NIT game shows just how out of touch our admin is…No imagination, no empathy for our fans. There are 10,000’s fans who would love to have the chance to watch even a mediocre IU team. So you give tickets out for $5. You give tickeets for canned goods, You have a contest for funniest dressed kid. IU’s response shows a group of overpaid people who are too good to actually have to SELL tickets to the public and feel it is beneath them to do so.
God love ya Kent, but you have jumped the shark with the daily IU BB reports.
We dont need to hear about it every time someone farts in Gods country.
Harry has a couple of vodka gimlets doubles waiting at the bar for you to help you cope with the woes of this.
Maybe you can give some talk about the 3 remaining teams from this state that are playing in the NCAA Tournament. Not everyone is enamored with IU . There is basketball outside of Bloomington(I know its hard to believe), and you know what,, its pretty darn good.
Besides the constant IU belly aching drivel . you have the best local sports radio show and website here in the Indy area. IU is done for now ,move on. It really is okay to let go. I know you can do it!!
This is IU…a program so deficient that these decisions have to be made. That’s the truth. Sorry, IU nation