Offutt to visit Ohio on May 15, hopes to make decision by May 17

Walter Offutt confirmed reports from the Indianapolis Star and Indiana Daily Student yesterday that a scholarship offer from Ohio has now made it a 50-50 race between Indiana and Ohio for his services. The former Warren Central star who transferred from Ohio State and then Wright State said he will visit Ohio next Saturday, May 15, and will make his decision by the following Monday.

“Honestly right now, it’s 50-50,” he said. “One day I’m leaning towards Ohio, one day I’m leaning towards Indiana. One day, one person close to me is saying I should go to Ohio, one day someone’s saying Indiana. It’s really back and forth. I don’t really know at this point.”

Offutt said last week that he would attend IU if the school could produce a favorable academic- and need-based financial aid package. As an in-conference transfer, he can not accept an athletic scholarship according to Big Ten rules. He said his mother Darlene had a meeting with Indiana officials last week, and though he didn’t know the particulars of the meeting, he told her it went well.

The situation changed, though, when Ohio formally offered Offutt a scholarship, which became available when Indiana transfer Armon Bassett announced that he was keeping his name in the NBA draft. Offutt said his parents told him that if he wanted to go to Indiana, they would take  care of any financial costs not covered by aid, and he should not consider money to be an issue, but he admits it’s still a factor.

“I don’t want it to be a strain on them,” he said.

Still, he said he’s trying to decide between the two schools as if money is not a factor. There are benefits, he said, to both schools. Indiana is obviously closer to home, it’s the school he grew up watching, and even though it’s rebuilding, it’s still in the Big Ten and a traditional power. Ohio is coached by John Groce, who recruited him to Ohio State as an assistant coach there, and is coming off an NCAA tournament appearance and first-round upset of Georgetown.

“I’m basically trying to figure out what’s best for me and who is going to help me get better as a player,” he said. “Who I can get more exposure from. What teammates I like, would I rather play with these guys or these guys, little stuff like that. Who all I would be coached by. It’s a lot of stuff I gotta factor in.”

18 comments

  1. With no possible scholarship to offer, IU is still listed as 50-50 I think we are in as good a position for this players services as we could possibly be in. If the Ohio scholarship meant so much and he liked their coach so well he would have already said yes to the Bobcats offer. He says there has been a clear road map charted by his family to allow him to attend IU. With only two years to pay out of pocket I think he commits to being a walk-on and moves to Bloomington.

  2. In a perfect world, JB…

    I know it’s somewhat unfair to suggest that Rivers shouldn’t be on scholarship simply because of his father’s financial situation — but seriously.

    Tuition and college expenses would be a drop in the bucket for Doc Rivers, and with the logjam we have scholarship-wise, it’d be such a help to free one up.

    In the end, it’s a way for the Rivers family to help the team and support IU. Not to mention, it’d be a gem of a PR move for both of them.

    I guess there’s something to be said about being a scholarship player instead of a lowly walk-on. It’s probably a status/self-esteem thing.

  3. One, Rivers scholly doesn’t have anything to do with the Offutt situation. Two, it sure is easy to spend other people’s money.

    The article on the IndyStar quoted Offutt as saying he thought Ohio would be going to the NCAAs and he would get a lot of exposure out of that. Crean needs to tell him that:

    1. Ohio has to win their conference tourney to get in, which is hardly a sure thing.
    2. IU’s B10 Network, ESPN and National TV exposure is far, far, far superior to anything that might occur with Ohio.

  4. Even if Rivers did give up his scholarship, which for various reasons seems like the right thing to do, Offutt cannot take a scholarship from another B10 school since he left his scholarship at Ohio State. Same reason Cody Larson, the Iowa de-commit, ended up at Florida following Lickliter’s firing rather than another B10 school.

  5. To the Daves,

    You’re right. The Offut and Rivers topics aren’t related. I think JB and I were just speaking to the topic of recruiting in general.

    GF – It IS easy to spend other people’s money. But it’s also easy to pay college tuition when you make $5.5 million per year. Does Rivers really need a scholarship? Let that money go to someone who does.

  6. I’m not in love with the fact that he’s going to make his decision *directly* after his weekend visit to OU. Since he’s vacillated so much, I think–unless things at OU are awful–that he’ll end up there… which is a shame since he could contribute significantly to our team (even if he couldn’t play until the spring semester).

    Michael Jordan’s kid walked on at Illinois … but I don’t think it was MJ’s generosity, I think it was a lack of talent.

  7. IU vs Ohio? A chance to choose to play for either one? Come on – that is a no brainer for crying out load. I must admit I don’t even know what conference Ohio plays in, but the exposure playing for IU, in the Big Ten, with all games televised, in front of huge crowds every game, against top talent and great opposing coaches? On the Bloomington campus? Big Ten tournament every year. How do you even consider a school like Ohio when you have such a better option? He says he always wanted to play in the Big Ten – well then, he needs to just say the words and do so and live with his decision. I don’t get the uncertainty.

  8. Rob…

    I know what you’re saying but it’s far from a no brainer. He has a close relationship with the Ohio coach and he’ll be going there for free. And if he’s talented enough, the NBA will find him.

    If it were a no brainer he’d have made his decision awhile ago.

  9. His pride would lead him to Ohio so he isn’t a financial burden to his parents. I always laughed when people said Rivers should have his parents pay since they are rich but every man takes pride in being self sufficient and making their own path. If I’m Offutt, I’d go to Ohio. It’s not like the chance of winning more games is greater at IU.

  10. ^^Yeah…because Rivers has never accepted any $$$ from his dad. Not that I know the guy or anything but I just find that very hard to believe. Wonder what kind of car he drives LOL.

  11. Dave,

    If he is headed for the NBA, then the few thousand dollars of debt he will have after graduation is peanuts. Even if he never made it to the NBA, it is still peanuts in the grand scheme of his life. And where would he have a more fulfilling experience – Ohio U that no one has heard of (outside the midwest, anyway), or a large university in one of the power conferences in the country. It is a no brainer for anyone with a long term view of life. His going to Ohio would be a decision based only on short-term considerations – which generally do not provide lasting results.

  12. Ohio U is a tier 1 university, just like IU.
    Athens, OH is very similar to Bloomington.

    As a walk-on Offutt would be required to supplement meal money to eat at the training table. Not knowing all the

  13. Not knowing all the details, I will stop now. Except to say that the decision is Offutt’s, not ours.

  14. The point about Rivers family having the financial means to pay for his schooling so as to free up a scholarship is not the point that keeps stabbing at me. The point I see is he is not worth a B10 scholarship. But that is again one of the prices you pay when putting a recruiting class together quickly as had to be done.

  15. What happened to all the talk about how he loved watching IU and all that other stuff? If he wants to go to Ohio because it is free, then fine. But don’t change the story. Just say its because of the money.

  16. Millport, it was my understanding that the rule was changed and now walk-ons (which, together with partial scholarship athletes, comprise most of the student-athletes at IU) get the same training table, access to academic advisers, strength and conditioning coaches, necessary equipment, etc. as scholarship athletes. I don’t think that there are any additional charges. Does anyone know the rule for sure?

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