A fascinating few days in the world of misbehavin’

Some of you have been here a while and slogged through those intense, entangled days when Indiana drew so much of the NCAA’s ire by not following recruiting rules (or the sanctions that stemmed from the time the coach IU hired failed to follow rules at his previous school.)

Because I am a reporter and am therefore not in the least bit normal, I think longingly of those days. There was so much to discover, so much to try to figure out, so much thirst for understanding from all around. Obviously it was a heartbreaking time for all involved, and especially the fans who played no role and suffered slings and arrows and, worse, the prospect of being lumped in with mischievous programs such as Kentucky.

I never want any of you to go back there. But I can’t sit here and pretend that this stuff doesn’t fascinate me more now than it ever did. After going through the NCAA process, and seeing some of the holes and flaws in it, I’m drawn to any issues that arise with major programs. There’s been plenty recently.

First, there’s the Michigan mess. You can find excellent coverage of that whole deal from our friends at AnnArbor.com. The basic story there is that Michigan had a massive failure in recording and reporting how much its athletes were working out and who was working with them. It has admitted to the mistakes, but is spreading punishment out to a number of people and departments. A central point to watch is that the university is actively fighting only one charge, that head coach Rich Rodriguez failed to foster an atmosphere of compliance. If the NCAA Committee on Infractions disagrees, it could add to the self-imposed punishments already proposed by the university (limiting practice hours, eliminating quality control guys and changing what they’re allowed to do, two years of probation.)

At Oklahoma — where Kelvin Sampson toiled  and created turmoil before a brief, bruising stay at IU — there’s trouble again. Evidence appears to point to at least one player receiving payment from a booster. Worse, an assistant coach who has since resigned probably knew about it. Gregg Doyel, a national columnist from CBS who always has an interesting take, thinks that if Oklahoma doesn’t get the death penalty this time around — it had the troubles with Sampson and also has had boosters providing sweet-heart jobs for football players — then who ever will? He makes a compelling case.

You might tire of the love I show to Yahoo! here, but so be it. They’ve once again produced some of the best investigative reporting I’ve seen in a while with this story that links the Pump Brothers, long thought to be runners for UCLA in addition to serving somewhat more legitimate roles within college athletics, to a ticket scalping operation involving Kansas and almost a million bucks. Fascinating reading, if you have time.

(For those wondering if Matt Carlino had any direct ties to the Pump brothers, not that we can tell. Just tangential ones.)

Meanwhile, the USC football program waits (and waits and waits and waits) for word on its case, which the Committee on Infractions heard in February. That one involves the small matter of up to $300,000 being funneled to running back Reggie Bush. And a few other things.

A constant refrain we heard during the investigation into Indiana was: “When are they going to catch the people paying off players and doing things like that?” At the time, we tried to point out as frequently as possible that Indiana got caught and dealt with somewhat swiftly because a good portion of the proof was in the cell phone records. It was difficult to trace what happened.

Now, a few years later, there’s at least some evidence that the NCAA is trying to push into areas that aren’t as easy to monitor. Of course, it took reports from Yahoo! and newspapers to launch several of these investigations. (That wasn’t the case with Indiana, which discovered its impermissible calls while conducting an audit as part of a year-end revue needed to satisfy the NCAA’s show-cause on Sampson.)

As I wrote in my column today, the NCAA and its conferences can no longer pretend that “self-reporting” even comes close to working. Not with compliance people reporting to the same athletic directors whose jobs depend on the success of football and basketball teams. The system is absurd and obviously flawed. Enough money flows through the NCAA and the conferences these days. Somebody needs to take the lead in creating a compliance and enforcement staff that works from a centralized location. It would be an independent body charged with holding all schools accountable in the same ways. The procedures and forms would all be the same, and the investigative body would be well-staffed by well-paid people (that’s not the case now.)

If leaders in college sports are going to expand tournaments and conferences in search of more money, they must concurrently find ways to ensure member schools stay true to their missions. Otherwise it becomes even more of a charade. It becomes the minor leagues dressed up in letter-man jackets.

79 comments

  1. Chris, this is an excellent article. I couldn’t agree with you more. I only hope that Indiana steers clear of further trouble with the NCAA; once was intolerable enough. My confidence in Crean and even Bill Lynch is high in terms of compliance. But I’m sure people at those other schools were confident of their invariably-compliant athletic departments also, and look what’s going on at the programs you mention and others.

  2. I bet the NCAA will not add to Michigan’s punishments. UM made the calculated judgment that by self punishing the small stuff and targeting the small people involved that there would not be sufficient outcry to force the NCAA to go after them harder. They are right.

    Its a lesson to learn and it is that self immolation isn’t the way to go. Of course we had a repeat offender as coach, so the wickets were stickier. But still, Michigan will not be set back in the slightest by firing “quality control coaches” and losing a few hours of practice. Meanwhile we toil trying to dig out of the hole that we dug too vigorously for ourselves.

    I’m not advocating cheating here, so don’t get me wrong. I’m just saying we hurt ourselves more than what was required and it didn’t buy us a damn thing.

  3. BTW, Just caught the last two innings of IU’s win over UN in the B10 baseball tournament. Love the B10 network. Love it! Go Hoosiers.

  4. Chris, as always I enjoyed your contribution. The HT is lucky to have you. I do think Carlino’s connection to the Pumps is more direct than you let on. His dad coached one of their AAU teams with Matt playing up 2 years a couple of summers ago. They spent some time with the Pumps at a hotel in Indy during the final four. But this is no account, the Pumps are the Pumps.

    It is hard as an IU fan and alum to see our proud bball program in the tank from our ncaa experience. All of the matters you mentioned and several others dwarf IU’s in terms of the seriousness of what happened. Think about it. The only ncaa rules broken at IU were the phone calls mostly by Senderhoff. 1/3 of the schools in the B10 self reported excessive phone calls as minor violations that same year. Its not punished. Now those are not illegal. The 3 way calls were not even illegal then. That’s all that happened at IU. IU was punished for what Sampson did at OU and for hiring him in the first place which was not against the rules.

    None of these other schools will draw more significant punishment than IU in my opinion. Their fans and alumni wouldn’t stand for it. IU is different because our fanbase has thrived for years on this puritanical holy self image. The Knight split left more former IU basketball fans than you can imagine inflamed with a Tea Partier’s sense of moral indignation. Many of them left permanently, but the really damaging ones still remain and worked against IU during this process. They lobbied NCAA employees tirelessly. They’ve created a bizzare morality circus that still dominates the Peegs.com forum and your commentators on this blog.

    People who defended every one of Knight’s outbursts to absurd lengths and didn’t care when he ran off player after player are now licking their lips hoping Crean talks a player into leaving so they can wallow in the same comforting moral feces they have always thrown around. If IU does not have a transfer they will be crushed and be forced to just get on their high horse about offering too many kids.

    I’ve always been an enormous Knight fan so I understand, but as much as I admire him this cult of personality left behind some seriously deranged people and their constant moralizing pushes coverage in otherwise bizzare directions. We have HT reporters asking recruits where their scholarship will come from. I challenge you to find that anywhere else in the country. Its responsible reporting here only because the debate is dominated by the extremes and there is a market for it. You won’t find Kentucky fans having the same worries to the extent that the local coverage starts asking recruits where their ride is coming from. No one knows that Illinois has “lost” 4 recruits in two years. No one knows that PU is still under the APR guidelines because Painter’s first round of recruits had so many transfers they still haven’t caught up.

    I’m not advocating ignoring what your bizzare readers ache to hear. I’m not advocating that I approve of the B10’s oversigning rule. I don’t like coaches running players off. I didn’t like it when my hero Knight did it. I don’t like it now. But it does disapoint me to see IU’s present coach get punished for the possibility it may happen when its become an epidemic all over the country and is not against the rules and most of all because this same guy ran off kids who would’ve made his transition easy on the court to help rebuild the purity of this program’s self image. If he’d let Ellis and Bassett back on the team and been a little more accomodating to Crawford and Holman he’d be winning enough that none of this would be an issue like in Kentucky.

    I love your work. Sorry for the long reply. But beware, there are witches in the hills.

  5. blah…blah…blah.

    Bottom line? The Yacht Club’s desperation/overreaction to the NCAA’s nothing investigation making IU look like a pile of dog crap in the middle of a living room left us with two straitjacketed choices: the current blowhard selling the “because it’s Indiana” snake oil, or an answer to the prayer a moron like 4guards pleading for dinosaurs from the past.

    The NCAA is a sad mismanaged organization answering to empowered elitists with personal agendas.

  6. We have HT reporters asking recruits where their scholarship will come from.

    this cult of personality left behind some seriously deranged people and their constant moralizing pushes coverage in otherwise bizarre directions

    Chris M-

    I enjoyed your comments. I’m sorry that I didn’t at first take the time to completely read your post..The “blah..blah…blah” frustration I exhibited was not aimed at you. I thoroughly understand the direction of your arguments. I share in most your opinions and believe they were right on target. I spent a year on the IDS blog site(formerly Basketblog)voicing opinions very similar to yours. I was constantly pushed into the moral high ground corner by the same clan(I refer to them as Yacht Club members) you have assessed as the strong sphere of “deranged” influence on our basketball program. Any attempt to put things in proper perspective were twisted against me in the form of defending druggies and flunkies. I have been a fan of IU basketball for over three decades. It’s very sad to see the vengeful insiders(and outsiders that want nothing more than to watch us struggle with our own overblown self-created pious image) exert their destructive agendas to what end I shall never know. It’s true disenfranchisement.

  7. Chris M,

    Good to have you chime in, as always.

    A lot of what you say is interesting, and I’ll give it plenty of thought.

    As for Dustin asking recruits about where their scholarships would come from, I assigned him to do it and thing it was the right thing to do. And I think it would have been the right thing whether fans were talking about it or not. I’ve certainly seen coverage of scholarship crunches in both basketball and football before, but even if I hadn’t I’d still believe it’s a story.

    Asking a question is not making an accusation. We honestly want to know how this thing might shake down. It’s fine to say, “It will all work out.” We’re interested in the details. We want to know how Tom Crean is explaining the situation to recruits and what they think of it. And we reported what we found. We also added whatever context we had time to find. We’ll continue to report the story that way.

    When it all works out, we’ll be able to tell you that and explain the process. And we’ll be able to do the same if it doesn’t all work out. That’s the job.

  8. Disagree. It smells of purpose beyond reporting. It smells of 4guards and hidden agendas. Whether you care of wrongful perceptions or not, it’s a slippery slope and a topic of discussion that would never be addressed without the microscopic examination of a coach that many seem to wish failure. It sells the same gentle air of mockery to the recruit being questioned and thus surfaces the appearance of its intent.

  9. That’s fine, Downing. You’re entitled to an opinion.

    I stated my case. Our job is “microscopic examination” of a coach no matter his record or popularity level.

  10. I agree with Goran and Chris M on questioning recruits about where their scholarship will come from. I think it’s unfair to the recruit to be asked a question like that and plants a seed that may create doubt about what the coach is (or is not) telling them. It’s certainly a fair question for the coaching staff, but not for recruits. I think it goes beyond reporting facts and strays into the territory of injecting a certain slant or agenda into the story. In other words, it’s a loaded question, isn’t it? By asking a recruit, “Have you given any thought to where your scholarship is coming from given the scholarship crunch at Indiana?” (or something akin to that) you are essentially implying that he isn’t being given the whole story by the coaching staff.

    That being said, I think you guys generally do a great job covering IU sports and your coverage is second to none.

  11. On a bit of joking note…

    You know our football program isn’t cheating. Our record speaks louder than any investigation ever could.

    No offense intended. I love our football program, we’ve just never really been the most successful in the country.

  12. Korman-

    I respect your opinion. I truly don’t think you have an agenda. There is a time when pulling the reins back a bit may give you the same answers you seek. When the question of scholarships was asked to recruits, I personally felt it broke from a level of sincere decorum that maybe should be granted to a kid in that moment..Maybe others didn’t see it that way. I felt the young men were being baited with a question that seemed forced and a bit abrupt. I don’t see any point in deflating young men at a venue intending to showcase their talents..I would rather see positive comments given to their efforts and an appreciation their interest in Indiana.

    It may be a reporter’s job to give “microscopic examination” the every move our coaching staff, but I’m still not sure it’s appropriate to stick a microphone in a 16-year-old recruit’s face to spontaneously do the same. Though far from your intention, it may leave the recruit with a sour taste they’re being fed the “real facts” in an effort to show them the door. Is this the best way to proceed because Crean won’t clarify or answer your questions directly regarding the scholarship squeeze?

  13. In no way should questions of that nature be ask of recruits. These young people are unprepared and not seasoned enough to deal with microscopic examinations. I am sure the programs staff is well prepared and that is the obstacle you are trying to circumvent. I think going after these teenagers with clever queries is the low road approach.

  14. The Crean Apologists just want to hide everything from recruits. Sounds like something Sampson would do.
    To me the bigger question is how in the world did these guys not know about it? Aaron Thomas was really caught off guard. Sorry Aaron, but we have no room for you. We have no scholarships available and Zeller and Davis are priorities over you. Thank Crean.

  15. Very interesting debate this morning.

    IMO, as a reporter, it is a story that you can write in your paper. As a fan, it almost seems like negative recruiting being down by someone from the Indiana family.

    Also, everyone knows that it is there, so should it really be that big of surprise to the recruits. If they are so easily influenced by one question, what are they going to do when other college coaches start calling.

    I can see both sides to this arguement. In the end, I guess it is determined by which side of the aisle you sit on.

  16. It was said:

    “I would rather see positive comments given to their efforts and an appreciation [for?] their interest in Indiana.”

    Wow. If that’s not taking it to the other extreme entirely. What happened to a reporter being objective and unbiased. Seems showing appreciation for interest is inappropriate as well.

  17. Sound reasoning by 4tickturds for promoting the exploitation of teenagers to advance his agenda. No credibility and now no heart, what a life.

  18. I’m sure that the recruits fully understand the scholarship situation at IU. Mentioning it in an interview is probably not telling them something that they didn’t know already. I’d say you guys did fine.

  19. Would Bob Hammel have asked such a question? Probably not. Does that make the question wrong?
    Probably not.
    Times have changed. Media people have gotten more aggressive. Blogs are certainly aggressive.
    Perhaps someone with ties to people who are in the know should gather some informed opinions from other media types.

  20. Mr. Korman, very interesting article on institutional violations and longing for more interesting pursuits in the world or journalism. I can imagine those days were more challenging and interesting than the current coverage of which kids would and wouldn’t be affected by the “scholarship crunch.”

    I don’t believe the criticism of you and Dustin about asking “the” question of recruits is quite fair. The kids have to be aware of who is on the team and who is not and how many grants have been provided and how many are available. If they are not, they are not doing their appropriate homework on their choice of institution.

    The criticism of you and your ilk asking “the” question is based on a fan’s perspective. The only reason not to ask “the” question would be either you have enough information from those who make the decisions (i.e. – coaches or athletic director-types form the university) or the kids making the decision to attend. A journalist’s job is to find the topic that would provide the advertisers the most eyes (and pursue the truth, but that is another topic), to keep the news-providing organization with revenue, and therefore, keep his job. If this line of questioning provides these ends (either revenue producing or truth seeking), then it is fair game as a journalist.

    Journalists do not work for the University – typically – and therefore have no obligation to make its employees look any particular way. Journalists can have axes to grind, but if their job security is tied to getting access, it would be detrimental to grind the ax that gives them access.

    This was a long way to say, I support the right of the reporter to ask “the” question.

  21. fwa-

    I don’t think complimenting a kid’s game(even if it sucks and looks like a game that will never rise to the collegiate level) and his genuine effort on the court in a scrimmage intended to showcase talent is anything approaching the unscrupulous planting of a seed in their head they best not look at Indiana because our scholarship situation has possibly been mishandled by our coaching staff. I think most of the kids approached by Dustin had already shown “interest” in Indiana.

    Bottom Line: Be friendly and respectful their right to a decision based on information and discussions between school, family, and coaches. I don’t think a journalist/reporter representing a Bloomington newspaper politely telling a kid it’s nice to see Indiana on his list of places he hopes to achieve his dream of playing collegiate hoops smells of impropriety or an ill intent to influence a decision process..Thanking a player for an already disclosed interest influences the decision process? I don’t think so. There’s what I believe the key component of unbiased reporting. Are you, by way of your access and belief your expertise(and I’m not positive just how much a journalist is an expert on the fluidity of a university’s scholarship issues), attempting to influence a decision process. Now if Dustin was on his knees and tugging at Hanner Perea’s shorts…? That could be construed as a little too much interest worth a thanking for an effort.

  22. Man…it sure is crazy to think recruits might be asked about the situation at a school they’re interested in. We probably shouldn’t ask them about Crean or the rebuilding process either. Groundbreaking stuff. Why would IU or anyone associated with Indiana be concerned about those kinds of questions?? Is it because our scholarship situation is so awesome??

  23. And if you’re implying the scholarship situation is not “so awesome”, then why mince your words? Why not just ask the recruit “are you sure you want to come play for a coach that doesn’t know what the hell he’s doing”? 4guards and his “deranged” followers always want to put a pretty bow on the crap-filled package their ugly gifts of intent. It’s very sad to see reporters buying into it..Very sad indeed. We know the intent of the question.

  24. No Goran or Downing or whatever your name is, it is a sad day when reporters can’t ask obvious questions without the apologists going insane. And don’t worry so much about my words. All you post on here are negative overblown posts. You think you are some literary genius but you are not. You are deranged and your posts never make sense. I mean “crap-filled package their ugly gifts of intent”. Seriously. What are you ever talking about?

  25. That’s even worse than the pot calling the kettle black, my friend.. “Overblown” is its intention and it’s nothing more than lighting the match held to the stockpile of one-sided negative sticks of blasphemous dynamite you’ve been assembling with 4guards under Crean’s front porch for the last six months. Only igniting the ill will aimed at our coach in your faces. There I go again..What am I ever talking about? Gee…”What’s a metaphor?..I met-uh-four guards at a Travelodge once…Dat wutch ya mean?”

    For all future gift package references concerning 4gonorrheagurards and Justin Bieber’s constant pleasantries aimed at Tom Crean and his decision making processes effecting the Hoosier basketball team, please refer to this more appropriate clip in a box.

  26. Lets talk basketball for a minute. Has anybody watch Jeff Howard play? What is he going to be able to bring to the court for IU next season?

  27. Downing is en fuego .

    Dustin’s Korman-ordered questioning reminded me of the Katie Couric interview with Sarah Palin. In that case, I believe the end justified the mean.

    Here, however, it was inappropriate. We all know that there is no such thing as an ‘impartial observer’, nor in journalism nor elsewhere. Everything you see these days is either an editorial masquerading as a “report,” or a blatant attempt to cater to a certain “market” and thus reducing news reporting to the status of a business pandering to the wealthiest or most vociferous customer. Call it the Rupert Murdoch effect.

  28. ^ oops, I forgot the conclusion. I am a real airhead.

    To conclude, if there is no objectivity, then the least that journalists can do is to openly try take a moral position and stand behind it, rather than try to hide ideology behind pretensions of impartiality. Come out and say what you feel; in other words – don’t feed us the ‘Just the Facts’ mantra that has made a joke out of FOX.

    What is the moral imperative at stake here? To support a young program and eager coach in its still-fragile state of development without the insidious questions that are just as ideologically laced as any so-called Crean “apologist.” I have never seen parts of a fan base call for mutiny within the administration so early, and certain elements within the press come so eagerly to its service.

  29. Husky,

    If there’s a moral imperative here, it’s for us to find out the truth. That’s not a business to us. If business is what we were after we would have studied it. We’re actually idealistic enough to believe that finding the truth matters.

    So, yes, we want to know how Tom Crean is explaining the scholarship crunch to the people he has offered scholarships. And we’re not about to take Crean’s word for it.

    Obviously plenty of our “customers” have disagreed. But as I’ve said before: I believed and still believe it was the right thing to do, and we’ll continue to ask those sort of questions if we think they’ll help us understand how the IU basketball program is actually being run.

  30. Korman-

    Is “truth” an end in itself? And does it even exist? Or are we all living out an existential crisis, where truth is only our perception? Could it even be that “truth” is simply the ideology of the ruling class at any given historical moment?

    Relating this to IU basketball, even when we find out how the basketball program is ‘actually’ being run, there will be at least two varying interpretations.

    And JB- finish college, please.

  31. The line of questioning led us to the truth.
    The truth is that Crean is not even telling these kids about the scholarship situation.
    I thought it was great work and people obviously care about this topic.

  32. The line of questioning was to bait the recruits with a ridiculous inference our coach’s mishandling of an unpredictalbe future. I’m far from expert on the number of spots, allotted over-signings, and the numerous methods a coach can use to work through the ever-changing dynamics of potential roster’s needs vs. realistic available moves..Am I wrong to think a plethora of variables(transfers, decomits, earlier than expected NBA aspirations) could still fall into the recruiting pot that makes all this second-guessing look like a foolish witch’s brew at the end of the day? As most have already stated, there’s not a lonely mouse in a wall that didn’t know the scholarship “situation”. I thought “situation” was a nickname for Capobianco…? Am I confused again? Is the “situation” to get rid of the “situation” so fair-questioning journalists not drop hints to recruits on how Crean mishandled the entire “situation”? Is that all it took for 4guards to be happy? Send “The Situation” packing so we have another open slot and less a situation? You guys need another year at Hogwarts.

    I agree with Husky Tom…(as usual, only wish I could be as eloquent) You’ll just find another situation, a line of questioning used for the bacon-wrapping your inferior quality filet mignon to give taste your version of the truth.

  33. I find it hilarious how much the truth scares the apologist. I mean you got HuskyTom out there questioning whether or not the truth actually even exists.(you gotta go to Washington for that kind of degree) Maybe they are nervous knowing that Crean is not being honest with recruits about such an obvious situation. I mean what is there to hide? SHHHHHH don’t tell any of our recruits that we don’t have any scholarships (minus the oversign of course!) Most of these kids are looking to sign with someone in the fall and it doesn’t look like anyone is leaving BUT hey it’ll all work out.

  34. Did Crean not face an unprecedented “situation” of starting a roster from scratch? (Not that I once again want to argue with the Kelvin “Sanctions” crowd on how necessary that undertaking)

    I’m no mathematical genius but when you fill a bushel with freshly picked juicy Washington apples don’t you have to bake a pie or two before you can return to the orchard to partially replenish the cupboard. Doesn’t the eventual staggering of pies(seasons)start to relax the constraints upon this dreadful too-many-pies-in-the-oven “situation”?

    I’m almost running out of metaphors.

  35. Crean knew what kind of “situation” he was getting himself into. Not all of the “apples” he picked have been good. Now Uranus one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch. So you gotta get those bad apples out of there and make room for good ones. It makes for much better pie.

  36. Here are a few more questions for potential recruits that I brainstormed that address “truth” in some way:

    1)
    Dustin/Korman: “So Jeremiah, in less than a decade, IU, has already seen 4 different coaches. Are you worried that if you commit to IU, this trend will continue?

    Davis: “Wow, I didn’t even think about that. I guess I will reconsider.”

    2)
    Dustin/Korman: “Cody, there is a small but vocal group of deranged fans who already are calling for Crean’s ouster. They claim to have influence in decisions. Will this influence your decision to play here?”

    3)
    Dustin/Korman: “Ron, the team has only won 16 games in two seasons. Are you sure that they can it around and that you will be an adequate piece of the puzzle”?
    Ron Patterson: “Well, gee guys, now that you mention it, I’m not so sure…maybe I’ll give Purdue a call.”

    There you have it: more “objective” questions for the recruits. By the way, JB, Washington is a national top-10 public university, thanks in no small part to their medical and law schools, as well as engineering programs.

  37. Is “truth” an end in itself? And does it even exist? Or are we all living out an existential crisis, where truth is only our perception?

    Yeah, I remember, that’s exactly how Kelvin Sampson started his press conference to respond to NCAA’s allegations and they all just fell for it — immediately.

    Korman, Dustin, Hugh: don’t let Husky get in your heads. He’s the master of sillogisms (e.g., “I am nothing. Nothing is perfect. Therefore I am perfect.“) and he will soon run circles around you if you give him an inch. Stick to what you do, because you’re doing it well.

  38. Stovepipe:

    You mean “double-standards”.

    Husky is definitely the undisputed master of double-standards and deception. His unique goal in life is to see IU struggling while the Huskies enjoy their unprecedented (and objectively speaking still way below average) ambiguous “success”. That’s why he likes Crean for IU but wouldn’t ever want to see Crean coaching his beloved mutts.

  39. It was hilarious that he wouldn’t talk about Crean coaching at WA at all. He avoided it like the plague.

  40. You win..I should have given more thought to that blogging name. Uranus should not be the apple of your eye.

    So why are we beating around the bushel? I propose you give Dustin your list of “bad apples” and tartly give public implication(as was done with the questioning of recruits) to their face. Let’s get to the core of the matter. Find that bad worm…Extract it… Swing it against the wall of Ted Kitchel’s kitchen and let it know how rotten their taste has spoiled our “situation”. Don’t you dare take one bite that insincere slice of your excessively sweetened sugary pie of hypocrisy that taints Assembly Hall with an insincere supportive cheer.

    I like our roster. I like the batch we have coming in. An overlooked apple doesn’t necessarily equate “bad”. Hidden apples nestled deep in branches under the cover of shade can give you something far tastier than the sun-drenched easy pickings…I think the pie is still in the oven…Sometimes when grandma whips up a pie she claims to be hurried and consisting of a mishmash of late-season apples she doesn’t traditionally use, she ends up pleasantly surprised with claims the best she ever baked…

    Of course, she may not immediately win a blue ribbon at State Fair when going against Granny Smith Calipari that has regularly been seen bringing her pie from the same car driven by one of the Pillsbury Doughboy judges.

    GO HOOSIERS!!

  41. You guys crack me up. Although I surely deserve some of the flack I take from you, you are gravely mistaken about my loyalty to IU.

    When I am done here in Bloomington, I will have spent 8 years of my life rooting on the Hoosiers. I want, very badly, to be able to say “I was there when IU returned to glory on the hardwood”; “I was there when IU football finally made a national splash.” Thanks to Mike Davis , I was able to catch a whiff of what winning playoff basketball was like around here. Next year, I expect Crean to help us relive that sensation.

    TO address the Crean at UW situation, if UW was rebuilding from scratch and a coach as good as Crean was available, I’d take him in a heartbeat. Luckily UW has managed it’s hoops program pretty well for a good 6 years now during which it has been to 3 sweet sixteens with a total of 0 5-star players. It doesn’t face the problems that IU does at the moment, mainly because it doesn’t have a deranged cadre of looney-bin fans like 4tards, Hoagland, PB&J (I mean JB), and some of the reporters at the Scoop who want to confound every effort for the basketball program to remake its image for today’s world.

  42. This is probably good a place to end as any. I don’t feel as if I belong on here anymore. If they made enhancers for the brain I might be able to keep up for 15 minutes with distinguished intellects invading a simple pleasure of ball through basket.

    It really doesn’t matter the opinions..Support Crean vs. Degrade Crean..Loyalty Through Thick and Thin vs. Kicking What Have You Done for Me Lately Right in the Shin… You’ve all turned the game into a cheap whore through your superior wisdom..Each day I visit ends in another destruction of fading happy Hoosier memories. And I had plenty during Knight, Davis, and Sampson years…Favorite players and games removed from these higher judgements and deep intellectual analysis of the day.. And I was wrong to imply Korman and Dusitn did anything wrong outside the growing cultural phenomenon to dissect every inch of anything into a most rudimentary and basic form. I know they are good people just doing their jobs…And what a strange job it has become..I must apologize that I grew up loving sports and specifically the game of basketball for everything I can’t explain..What is the point of debating with hellbent experts? I don’t desire the same never ending quest to dissect into most rudimentary form every aspect of the game that I came to love because of its beautiful unpredictable nature and the mystery withing its imperfections that I could never get enough of.

    Some see a hundred year old oak tree and think of the history of every living soul it gave unappreciated shade a hot summer’s day…Some would rather drill a hole in its bark and unlock the keys of its imperfect nature and make one just like it.

    May the greatest Hoosier season be the one you least expect your best memory to ever hold.

  43. The Oak Tree

    Trees with no branches, they’re growing everywhere,
    I saw a man climb one high into the air.
    He attached some long wires while hanging up there,
    I guess now trees with no branches don’t look so bare.

    My Daddy said giant old oak trees used to be along that street,
    Even older than my Grandpa, I thought that was neat.
    Cool shade their branches gave on a hot summer day,
    Along the sidewalk my Grandpa would once walk and play.

    They made the street wider, the old oak trees are gone,
    It wasn’t long after that my Grandpa passed on.
    The trees with no branches now follow the road,
    That covers the sidewalk Grandpa had strolled.

    My Daddy said today we will plant a young oak tree,
    In front of the house where the walk used to be.
    He said this oak will grow tall like me,
    So tall, that even from the sky Grandpa will see.

    In that tree will grow thoughts from summer days,
    Our memories can live on in many ways,
    His love for his Daddy and his love for me,
    Forever in the comforting shade of an old oak tree.

  44. If you want to get answers straight from the horses mouth you would build relationships with the programs staff for that result. But if you are not able to accomplish that goal then maybe you should author a novel or when a recruit quits talking the next step would be to put his little sisters head in a vice and ask him for his true feelings. That is a terrible scenario but when does the next step stop in finding a truth that is so trivial? I do not care what Coach Crean’s real answer is to what he is telling recruits about present and future scholarships. There are only two things possible that can happen. A player commits and a player will transfer or no player commits and no player will transfer are the simplest common denominator. No need to manufacture news, fore one of those two things happening will be the news.

  45. Hoosier Clarion,

    We’ve heard answers from Tom Crean. He’s one of the horses in this scenario. There are multiple sides to every story, and we thought we should get comments from somebody else.

    I care what Tom Crean is telling recruits. Because I think he should be honest and up front with them. And I want to understand how, exactly, the process will work when a kid who doesn’t yet have a spot commits and, subsequently, somebody has to transfer.

    That’s the sort of reporting we’ll do on this blog. It’s up to you whether you want to read.

  46. I think we found out from the questions that Crean is not being honest with them. Nobody had a clue about it at all.
    Hotel boy went home crying after being put in his place like that.

  47. Chris- this stuff has been going on as long as college basketball has existed. Why the sudden quest for The Truth? If you were that curious, you could have researched the issue a few years ago without a problem.

    It looks like now we will all have to suffer from your curiosity, since it will undoubtedly cause recruits to think harder about their decision.

  48. Chris K.,

    I must say I am truly amazed to have revealed to me Coach Crean is one of the horses, I could never have presumed that. In all my years of work and play I have found there to only be two sides to an issue, right and wrong or yours and mine.

    I do not think you, from your professional chair give a bag full of hair about the recruits. You might very well personally. You are only hunting the “gotcha” experience by advancing on them. As far as the process goes I laid it out earlier, add a commit to a full scholarship roster and some player will transfer. I would hope you do not think someone would unofficially tell who those two names before being announced officially without a relationship with someone. Your questions to the recruits will not reveal that either. So we are back to the “gotcha” factor.

    Bob Hammel had RMK’s trust and RMK had Hammel’s. A solid relationship made the trust work. Proving relationship building is a very doable concept in human relations. If it could be done with RMK, it can be done with anyone.

    By the way I will not be interested in reading a teenage response grown in a microscopic examination about what Coach Crean is telling of the recruiting process.

    Thanks for for the give and take.
    HC

  49. Clarion, you make it sound as if Hammel tamed Knight. Knight chose Hammel and Hammel transcribed. Knight kept winning and Hammel kept transcribing what the Master was saying. Knight needed someone to express his point of view. One person was enough. He chose Hammel. It could have been anyone else.

    Knight abhorred journalists and most of them abhorred him. Hammel was the lone, necessary exception for Knight. Sadly, Knight was also the lone exception in Hammel’s life. How many other great coaches has Hammel befriended and earned the trust of in his life? If it hadn’t been for Knight I doubt we would have heard much about BH. The reverse is not exactly true, as Bob Knight was far bigger and far more conspicuous for anyone to avoid (for good or bad) and none of that was due to BH. BH never had any opinions about Knight other than those ordered by Knight. Such was the nature of their relationship.

  50. Your attempt to rewrite history has fallen very short. On your next attempt put some smattering of truth in it so as to draw in a reader to take a closer look. Don’t break your keyboard.

  51. ^^^ And as always your rebuttal is just a few blows of hot air, nothing substantial, nothing even remotely related to what was said before. I guess there’s some truth in that saying after all:

    Hoosier Clarion: he put ‘butt’ in ‘rebuttal’.

    It’s called sacrifice. You put the only functional part you have in that word. Sheer sacrifice, I tell you!…

  52. ^^^ Clarion, are you aware that that is Korman himself you are sparring with? Just thought you should know.

  53. If I am Korman then Clarion is Bob Hammel. Seriously, Clarion, let me assume for a moment that I am wrong and invite you to provide some facts to that conclusion. Let’s take John Feinstein’s (Season on the Brink) relationship with Bob Knight and compare it with Hammel – Knight. Knight gave Feinstein all the assistance in the world, and Feinstein produced a book. When Knight didn’t like the end result he never again spoke to Feinstein. Everybody knows that. Like Feinstein, Hammel was a gifted writer. Unlike Feinstein, Hammel offered his friendship to Knight in exchange for the right to ever write a single line of criticism against the coach. This arrangement may have been implicit, neither needed say anything out loud, and was to the benefit of both, not to mention IU. If this is not true, Clarion, please give me an example of a single line of criticism against Coach Knight that was written by Bob Hammel. You won’t find any. Unlike Feinstein, Hammel did not allow himself independent opinions. He was working for Knight.

    Prove me wrong, Clarion, please.

  54. Don’t hold your breath waiting for Ol’ Clarion to clarify his comments. He will come up with some smart comment that has nothing to do with the facts at hand. “Windbag Clarion” that is hilarious.

  55. Hoosier Clarion,

    I appreciate the chance to discuss the issue.

    I understand the math, which seems to be what you are focusing on. But I’m focusing on the people involved. Are the recruits aware, like Donnie Hale was with Purdue, that their scholarship might not be available if players don’t leave? That was the intent of the story: to find out what their understanding was of how, exactly, it might work out.

    I do, from this professional chair, care about the recruits. We cover them, tell their stories, follow them for years. They’re the lifeblood of the program we cover and the focus of most of Tom Crean’s time.

    I’m not sure where you’re going by bringing up Bob Hammel. In the time I’ve known Mr. Hammel, he’s always been a gentleman. I know he worked very, very hard while here.

    He’s not a role-model for me, journalism-wise.

    Have a good weekend.

  56. I own the the JF book, you have told me nothing. RMK/Hammel relationship was strong and personal. Nothing like the tale telling BS you have dreamed up. Another Indiana sports giant he was close to was Hilliard Gates of Fort Wayne. I am very aware why you are backing away from your outlandish post. To many people know the truth for you to rewrite history.

  57. Husky,

    Just noticed your comment.

    Why cover it now? Well, it’s happening now to the Indiana program. We’re covering the specific instance, not the general trend. Just like we’ll cover Maurice Creek’s rehab — even though many guys have rehabbed before him. And we’ll cover Jordan Hulls’ and Verdell Jones’ attempts to add strength and weight — even though that’s a normal off-season activity.

    Kelvin Sampson, suddenly the hot name in NBA circles, once told me that he preferred not to have 13 guys on scholarship. The real reason was that you’ll never have playing time for 13 guys, so why have 13 on the roster? But he also liked having that spot open should he need it in a special circumstance.

    But maybe you’re right. Maybe this happens everywhere, all the time. But I don’t know that for a fact. What I know is that it’s happening here and that we’re going to cover it.

  58. Clarion,

    I am not backing away from anything at all although you still can’t spell. I asked you to give me one example and you have given me exactly none, as always. Well, who cares about you anymore? What can one expect from a windbag other than scorn, lies etc…

  59. Thanks, CK, I think each generation establishes boundaries at different distances, such as you and I are expressing. How do we know when to not step over the line? When in your profession does a sports reporter become paparazzi?

    My mention of Hammel was only to express my decades long practice using strong relationships as the only way to do business of a sensitive nature and/or with a difficult, distant individual to attain my objective.

    Hope your weekend is full of family, friends, coolers and BBQ.

    HC

  60. Their relationship had mutual trust and would not allow personal criticism in public because of their professionalism. There was no taming to be done by anyone as the relationship started from zero and the who needed who never was in the equation(which is what you have backed off of). I am certain BH had many other professional relationships but none as strong as RMK. But you spin your tale any way you feel comfortable.

  61. It’s completely understandable the heavy attention given to everything that burps out the mouth of someone idolized…There is nothing more powerful to cloud fairness and introspection than a fixation someone you truly look up to. And now because Korman’s eyeglasses are steaming up, the inability to see the true gist of the matter at hand becomes glaringly evident in the rationalization of his line-crossing mistakes.

    Aren’t some of these recruits only 16-year-old kids?…I hardly had a wondering hair on my slim 6-pack at that age. Even though these young lads play a fine game of hoops, aren’t they still quite wet behind the ears and removed the harsh realities of dreams never realized collecting like daily lint balls a fat-bellied blogger?
    No matter if the recruit is informed or uniformed in what you believe to be a potentially dire scholarship circumstance(Yippee..avoided “situation”), you have no right to abuse your access, shove a microphone in the youngster’s face, and attempt to affect his decision process and dreams. You’ve likely put the kid in an uncomfortable place. And I think you knew the negativity bomb near end of interview would follow them out the doors of Assembly Hall …Even if he is highly rated prospect and has firsthand knowledge a special word of assurance from the coach recruiting him, he would be crazy to share those private feelings/discussions with you…And when it comes to the borderline kids that have a dream to play for Indiana and are maybe experiencing added anxiety because they feel their performance at the event was not up to snuff…?..Nothing so terrible about giving them a good dose of the scholarship truth even if it deflates the spirit? Is it really fair in that public moment to add insult to injury when the circumstances surrounding scholarships could still have unpredictable variables that none of us can foretell? The interviews ended with sour taste and gave nothing of a hint that approached a genuine concern for young kids simply deserving praise their efforts to showcase talents of a lifelong ambition. Do any of us remember how it feels to have far-fetched goals? I think we should err on the right of privacy over our own selfish desires to rip at flesh like uncontrollable vultures feeding on forgotten reasons every need a morsel of food/information/scoop(?} a mission to write a story.

    I only wish one of those kids would have given you a real line of humble truth….It could have went something like this: “If the New York Times had no slots available on its sports journalism team, I’m confident they would find a way to give someone as talented Chris Korman from Herald Times a spot on their roster”. And then he could throw in one of those little cynical chuckles Husky Tom likes to use…”he he”.

  62. Clarion,

    Thanks. You just proved my point.

    No personal criticism in public because they were not two independent entities. Knight had NOBODY on his side in the journalists camp and Hammel could NEVER decide to have an opinion of his own because he was working for Knight. Period. Hammel was a journalist who put his friends ahead of the readers, you say. Then he doesn’t deserve to be called a journalist by that standard. Feinstein was a journalist because he wasn’t afraid to be unpopular. Knight was also not afraid to be unpopular, only Hammel could not afford an own opinion in public because he was in fact representing his friend, as you admitted. Who would have heard about Hammel without Knight? He even wrote: “Beyond the brink with Indiana” so as to take Feinstein out of the spotlight because it angered Knight. QED.

    Hilliard Gates was a broadcaster like Don Fischer. I asked you specific about coaches. You gave me the name of a broadcaster. This just shows how much you care about accuracy.

  63. Bob Hammel wrote six books:

    1. The Bill Cook Story
    2. The Glory of Old IU
    3. Bob Knight: My Story
    4. Beyond the Brink with Indiana
    5. 1993: A Banner Year at Indiana
    6. Hoosiers – Classified: Indiana’s Love Affair with Basketball

    Did he write any others?

    If I wanted to be mean I’d say: propaganda writer.

    Not that Indiana didn’t need his talents, or that this didn’t work out to the benefit of everyone involved. But his one-sided-ness makes him less objective an observer to anyone else besides Indiana fans. And to some of the Indiana fans that didn’t like Knight in spite of his winning.

  64. It is accuracy I am supporting. You are comfortable rewriting history, so have at it. Puff out your chest and make your ego feel good.

  65. Clarion, you are putting out an admirable effort here. Not my terrain, or I’d back you up if it was.

  66. You have an excellent point and there is a very EASY way to implement it: you hire 11 x-FBI agents, each with NO Big-10 ties at $102,000/yr and you tax each school $102,000 to pay for it out of their revenue share. The agent must live and work at the school 12/months out of the year, be provided with office, secretarial and related services. They must have total power over any university employee, including the President, to access all compliance information 24/7, with no exceptions. They must have the power to order new policies and procedures at each university to implement the NCAA and Big-10 rules, and compliance with these changes MUST take place in 3 business days. They will have the power to terminate any employee-excluding only the President- for cause, subject to a direct appeal to the Big-10 which must be decided in 10 business days. Any additional expenses incurred by the Big-10 agent with regard to compliance will be taxed against the university’s share of revenues plus a 100% penalty. This would be EASY to implement in 60 days or less and cost the Big-10 $0 and the university very little-$102,000 out of a sports budget of $50,000,000 minimum (.002%)! I say DO IT!

  67. Santa, Wrong! Crean makes $2.3 million, 1/3 would be $766,000 but my plan needs $1,366,000. Also Coach Crean has not cost IU one penny for compliance, or to pay off any leaving coach or for any other reason! I am excited about next season and IU is way ahead of Iowa, PN St, MI, MN in terms of program strength for Men’s Basketball right now in the Big-10, and Coach Crean has not even started year 3! I think that we will move ahead of Northwestern and get in the group with IL and OSU below MSU, Purdue and WI in 2010-11.

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