Awkward as it may have been after a loss that was arguably Indiana’s worst of the season, IU athletic director Fred Glass said he still believed the decision to have a ceremony after the Senior Night speeches complete with a presentation of the Big Ten championship trophy, hats and net-cutting was the right thing to do.
“I think it was great,” Glass said. “I think it’s very important to celebrate accomplishments like this. This team absolutely earned this. The game didn’t turn out the way we wanted to, but the body of work shows that these guys are Big Ten champions. Given what this team has been through and these players have been through, I think it’s entirely appropriate.”
Glass admitted the atmosphere surrounding the ceremony was more somber than Indiana would have liked and that the players were significantly less enthused about the idea for having lost the game, but said there was still no discussion about abandoning the idea.
“I think they were disappointed not to win that game,” Glass said. “I think everybody there got that. It’s hard to shift gears from a disappointing loss to what was a broader accomplishment. I don’t think that takes away form the broader accomplishment itself. I think it was very appropriate to recognize that, to recognize that at home and recognize it on Senior Night.”
Glass also said he thinks it’s fair to recognize this team with its own banner, even though Indiana traditionally doesn’t hang separate banners for Big Ten championship teams, instead hanging one banner and adding the numbers of the years every time the Hoosiers clinch another one. However, Glass cited the 1983 Big Ten championship “Fans’ Banner” to make his case that it would be appropriate for this group to have its own.
“There’s certainly precedent for setting forth a specific year,” Glass said. The ’83 Big Ten championship team Coach Knight deemed that the ‘Fans’ Banner.’ It seems to be extremey appropriate for this team to have its own banner. I might call it the ‘We’re Back Banner’ not only for the accomplishments of this team. In my personal view, it would be a tribute not only to this team and this year but all the players in this era of bringing Indiana University basketball back. Last year there was discussion about putting a banner up there for that team that helped bring the whole thing together. I understand the sentiment behind that. But I don’t think we celebrate things that are less than championships. All of these kids sacrificed to come to this program when it was down. … Setting this apart as a separate accomplishment seems entirely appropriate.”
Crean said Tuesday night that he hoped to individualize all of Indiana’s 20 Big Ten championships with banners. Glass said he would support that if IU could make it work in Assembly Hall.
“Sure,” Glass said. “We were talking about 1983. That championship has its own story. The 2002 team has its own story. They all have their own stories. If the logistics of all of that work out, I wouldn’t have any opposition to that at all.”