McRobbie gives stern talk to athletic department following latest basketball incident

The latest off-the-court incident involving the Indiana men’s basketball program has drawn the ire of university president Michael McRobbie.

Asked if it was a fair characterization to say McRobbie read the riot act to the athletic staff, including coaches and support members, during an annual department-wide meeting on Tuesday, Indiana athletic director Fred Glass said simply, “Yes.”

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday afternoon, Glass said the IU president shared his feelings about the recurring off-the-court issues.

“He took the opportunity very appropriately and forthrightly to express his expectations about student-athlete behavior, and that was to our coaching staff from top to bottom,” Glass said. “I gave an annual report on where we are as a department and follow all that with my own expectations in that regard.”

In a transcript of his remarks released by the university, McRobbie told staffers that he’s had enough of the off-the-court transgressions dominating university headlines.

“This misbehavior simply has to stop,” McRobbie said at the meeting.

The president juxtaposed the recent news regarding IU basketball with a breakthrough scientific discovery by IU’s Department of Geological Sciences’ Dr. David Dilcher, who led a team that last week identified the earliest form of ancient flowering plant life that emerged 130 million years ago.

McRobbie said that is the kind of achievement he wants the university associated with in national and global conversation.

“What I do not want to see is any more stories of repeated student misbehavior,” he said. “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.”

Glass declined to address Saturday morning’s alcohol-related incident involving sophomore Emmitt Holt and freshman Thomas Bryant. Holt, 19, and Bryant, 18, were cited at 12:50 a.m. Saturday by Indiana State Excise Police after uniformed officers allegedly observed each of them in possession of a bottle of vodka while sitting as passengers in a parked vehicle outside Convenient Food Mart in the 1400 block of North Dunn street.

Indiana released a statement Monday indicating it was still gathering facts about the situation, and Glass said Wednesday that he will defer to that statement.

“While you never want one of those incidents to happen, it was helpful that we had so quickly an opportunity to express the president’s perspective and my perspective on our expectations on that.”

Indiana has not announced any possible or pending discipline for either Holt or Bryant. For Holt, it’s the second time he’s been involved with an off-the-court issue in his first full year on campus. In November, he was cited for illegal consumption and operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol content above 0.02 when former teammate Devin Davis jumped in front of and was struck by a vehicle Holt was driving on 17th street outside Memorial Stadium. Officers determined that both players had been drinking and that Davis was at fault. Holt registered a BAC of 0.025.

Saturday marked the sixth off-the-court incident involving IU basketball players since Hanner Mosquera-Perea’s arrest on OWI charges in February 2014. Five of those incidents have included multiple players. Bryant is the seventh individual player to be included during that span.

It also comes two months after former IU safety Antonio Allen was dismissed from IU’s football team on multiple drug dealing charges. Allen was arrested at the Indiana football complex on June 16 by Indiana State Police and charged with dealing cocaine and dealing heroin of 10 or more grams — both Level 2 felonies, which carry a penalty of 10 to 30 years in prison if he’s convicted. Allen, who recently transferred to Indiana State, was also charged with dealing methamphetamine.

Prior to his arrest, Allen was captured on video counting money, weighing heroin and methamphetamine and handing the drugs to an Indiana State Police informant in an apartment across the street from Memorial Stadium, according to a probable cause affidavit.

Speaking publicly about Allen’s arrest for the first time, Glass echoed coach Kevin Wilson’s statement that it was an isolated incident that did not involve others on IU’s football team. Glass said he believed Allen was living alone in a single-bedroom apartment.

“We took a comprehensive review of where (the Allen situation) is across the whole team,” Glass said. “Without getting into details, I think we’re confident to state, as Kevin did, that that is an isolated incident with Antonio.”

Although Wilson’s team of over 100 players has remained relatively free of arrests and off-the-field transgressions entering his fifth season in Bloomington, Allen’s run-in marked the third arrest of an IU football player this year. In April, defensive lineman Ralph Green III was initially charged with misdemeanor battery, public intoxication and disorderly conduct. In July, he was sentenced to 50 hours of community service and one year of probation. The battery and public intoxication charges were dropped in favor of a guilty plea for the charge of disorderly conduct for unreasonable noise. A month later, receiver Isaac Griffith was arrested on OWI charges. That case is still pending.

It all built to a brief, but very direct and blunt address from the university president on Tuesday.

“I expect all of you to ensure that my message is heard loud and clear by all students,” McRobbie said. “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.”

21 comments

  1. Thanks iulongago, we all agree. Almost 100 years ago, the University of Chicago, a founding member of the Big Ten gave up athletics because of the corrupting influence of college athletics on its university. If we continue to let incidents like this this define us as a university, we might as well just change our name to Florida State North Campus.

  2. Know someone in high places and keep it in your dorm room

    Most importantly, stay away from the booze and drugs when you’re an athlete at a school that hasn’t won a championship in 30 years and the NCAA is looking for a 3-way calling scapegoat to make example for all the true criminals in college sports

    Other than the helpful hints above, attach yourself to a black book with a cross on the cover while claiming your problems are different than those put on the bus when the witch hunt was going on….Your digressions are merely harmless fun and simply what college kids do.

  3. I don’t contribute thousands to IU but I’m not even sending my small annual amount to a university that allows this behavior to continue. Clean up athletics or do away with them. Thank you Pres. McRobbie.

  4. This is a challenge that all major schools seem to face. There are no easy answers. Many programs sweep these issues under the rug. I’m gratified to see us acknowledging the challenges issues and making an effort to deal with them and if we continue to say the right things and back up our rhetoric with appropriate actions, I’m confident we can create a culture at IU such that incoming students understand the drill and behave appropriately. This was the strategy that Notre Dame adopted back in the 80(s) and early 90(s) though they’ve since abandoned it for whatever reasons. No, we are not ND but that doesn’t mean we can’t create a positive value centric culture within our students. I think this is the essence of President McRobbie’s message.

  5. McRobbie said recently, “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.” Clearly, you’re not going to hear that statement from Kentucky’s President. And many other university Presidents’ would get struck by lightening if they uttered such a statement. I applaud McRobbie for making that statement. I completely agree with that philosophy. But I ask some of our most devout basketball fans on The Scoop, is that philosophy and the standards-of-conduct it requires compatible with IU Basketball winning national championships? Can any university really expect to adhere to that philosophy and win NCAA Championships these days? I suggest the answer is “no.” Not when schools like Kentucky have made an art form out of exploiting loopholes in NCAA policies and turned their basketball program into an NBA D-league. Not when Coach K has acquiesced and now openly recruits one-and-done players without regard to them seriously pursuing a degree. Not when their is so much money offered to teenagers to play professional basketball that most athletically gifted young men consider a college education irrelevant. It seems to me that there is an inherent conflict between IU’s ideals, as articulated by McRobbie, and Hoosier fans’ expectations of winning more NCAA Championships in today’s college-sports marketplace. It seems to me that many of the talented young men that are required to win NCAA Championships are not all that interested in being “first and foremost, students.” Unless and until the NBA changes its policies regarding drafting players after their freshman year in college, either IU is going to modify its ideals for the purpose of seriously competing for NCAA BB Championships, or Hoosier fans are going to have to accept that IU is no longer a University willing to compromise its ideals and values in order to win NCAA Basketball Championships.

  6. Sorry, that last sentence should have been, “or Hoosier fans are going to have to accept that IU is not a University willing to compromise its ideals and values in order to win NCAA Basketball Championships.”
    From my direct experience, IU never has been that type of university. And I don’t expect IU to change its ideals and values any time soon. That’s one reason I’m proud to be a Hoosier. And keep in mind, McRobbie used the words, “stressed repeatedly.”

  7. But Crean jumps on a plane with his son to join the Kentucky guy(and his son) to watch their former “stellar” students take to the professional court….Yup, the same head coach friend that allowed a player to use someone else to take his SAT so he could wear the Memphis uniform. What’s worse? Getting an ‘F’ in a subject or having an impostor make the passing SAT grade for you? Calipari believed Crean deserved ‘Coach of the Year’…..I wonder if Tommy Bahama thinks Calipari deserves ‘Cheat of the Decade’ when he’s boarding a plane with him to share milk, cookies, and watch their pupils….?

    Crean has had plenty of talent to do far better than Sweet 16’s. He’s a horrible coach whether you give him flunkies, junkies, or choir boys….or any combination his excuses will find a way around his coaching inadequacies. Calipari doesn’t win simply because he can recruit kids that don’t take academics seriously… He wins because he isn’t a coaching misfit when the pressure is on like our Disani disaster..

  8. Stunned to find myself in complete agreement with Harvard. Podunker – I agree somewhat, but the moralizing crowd is asking for something that doesn’t and never really existed. I have seen former IU all stars drink and smoke weed, seen them at Kilroys and Nicks drinking underage, seen them at parties at University Commons complete with burning couches in the yard. What bothers me about this is the behavior of the excise cops. When I was at IU (hey kid – get off my lawn!) and I was 20 in a car full of friends from my dorm with several bottles that we had illegally obtained with fake IDs (I wasn’t drinking – just getting the knuckleheads back to Reed safely) we were pulled over. The cops just made them dump out their booze and thanked me for staying sober while driving. When my cousin came to visit and we riding from party to party on my motorcycle (again, me not drinking at the time) and he had a flask full of booze and a pocket full of joints – we got pulled over and the cops just took the joints and made him dump out the booze and again, thanked me for being a sober driver. I am not sure what has happened since then. I know students get out of control – they always have. I get it – and I know some of the frat boys have been killed in hazing incidents. But come on – how does what happened to Holt and Bryant help them. How did it keep them safe? How did it keep them from drinking too much or otherwise being good students. I know – they messed up and I am not saying they didn’t. But this is petty. They were in a car full of people trying to hide the booze. Been there sober a number of times and I didn’t get a criminal charge or get sent to jail – in fact, nobody did anything other than make us dispose of the booze. This is due to two big changes in the way our criminal justice system works. First, it is a revenue center that funds barely literate cops with big fat salaries – that didn’t used to be the case. Cops were public servants. Second, our cops have started acting like members of an occupying force rather than members of our communities. This zero tolerance idiocy needs to stop and we need to use different tools to deal with these issues rather than our criminal injustice system. I would also like to know why the police report did not include a big fat fine and closure for the c-store that served minors.

  9. Crean brought the “moralizing” with his “YOU WRECKED THE PROGRAM!” mission statement and now it’s blowing up in his face…His apologists are wiggling like clowns in straitjackets.

    I’m actually wondering if these young kids are being set up so Crean can cut them and get 10 more years of excuses and millions.

  10. Please, will someone lift the needle off of that record? It’s obviously scratched because it just keeps repeating the same “I hate Crean, I hate Crean, I hate Crean,” over and over and over.

  11. And your needle was lifted when Doug Mallory served as your personal scapegoat for getting cut from a Hoosier football team…Talk about a long tune of gloom and doom? How many games must Wilson win? Want to refresh us again? …scratch…scratch…scratch….scratch….scratch.

  12. OldIUGymnast, hurry, go to an urgent care center or E.R. immediately. I’ve heard they can cure you if they catch that virus in time.

    Seriously though, it’s not the cops, it’s the people who control the cops. Those people are afraid that if the cops use common sense and tell a kid to pour out/confiscate the alcohol and then let them go, and those kids get ahold of more alcohol and then hurt/kill themselves or somebody else, the cops and the entire community government will be held liable for not eliminating the risk. “So, Officer Kelley, please tell the court why you did not site the young men for the illegal possession of alcoholic beverages. Isn’t it true Office Kelley that if you had sited these young men, or even arrested them, this tragic incident would not have happened and so and so would still be alive today?” And who knows, maybe those vigilant “zero tolerance” policies save lives.

  13. Anyway….I should quit while I’m ahead. NoMendacity is a voice to cherish. You boys go back to your cigar room at the Apologists Yacht Club for Lonely Seamen ….where you can sport your censorship captain hats and brush dandruff off Jeremy’s polo shirt into your clam chowder made from thick Crean.. …or whatever floats your Love Boat. I’ll join NoMendacity for some laughs and a couple beers at Nick’s……

  14. ^^^think of Donald Trump’s hairdo ….meets Hee Haw…..meets bottle of Heineken….meets Sunday brunch at the Crean’s Now that’s a mess.

  15. Then you should have quit decades ago. Or better yet, you should never have gotten started, cause its obvious that you’ve never been “ahead.”

  16. After all this has settled down a bit I think President McRobbie better take a tougher look at his general campus. IU has been known for a long time as a “Party School” and to think you are bringing in young popular athletes that won’t join in isn’t very smart. Don’t get me wrong I think players need to be held accountable but until the IU campus rids itself of the good time party school athletes will take a wrong step now and then.

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