Offutt says he’s going to IU if financial aid package works

Walter Offutt, a former Warren Central High School star and transfer from Ohio State and Wright State, confirmed an Indianapolis Star report Thursday that he will attend Indiana as a walk-on as long as IU can produce a favorable financial aid package.

“We just want to make sure everything’s on the table and what needs to be paid for can be paid for,” Offutt said. “After we have that figured out, I’m good to go.”

The 6-foot-3 guard said he always wanted to go to Indiana but the heat the Hoosiers were under in the wake of of the Kelvin Sampson scandal made it virtually impossible and he committed to Ohio State.

However, Offutt suffered ACL tears in both knees in high school, including one his senior year, and never seemed to recover in his freshman season at OSU and was stuck behind the Buckeyes’ loaded backcourt. He played in just 21 games as a freshman, averaging 4.9 minutes and 0.9 points per contest. At the beginning of this, his sophomore season, he played in two games and scored 14 points in a total of 22 minutes. However, he decided to transfer to Wright State in November.

Earlier this month, however, Wright State coach Brad Brownell left to take the head job at Clemson, leaving associate head coach Billy Donlan to be the new head coach.

“We didn’t see eye to eye so to speak,” Offutt said. “I wish the best for Wright State, but I just decided it wasn’t the best opportunity for me.”

Offutt said a connection was made between Indiana and his AAU program Indiana Elite after he decided to transfer. He was also considering Ohio University because he could not accept an athletic scholarship from Indiana, but said he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to play at IU.

“I always wanted to go to IU but they had so many problems when I was getting recruited, I really couldn’t choose IU,” he said. “When I found out that I could go back to the Big Ten and play at the highest level and stay in-state where I grew up. It’ a win-win situation. I feel like I can go in the Big Ten and still play with those Big Ten-level talented guys.”

Offutt says he’s also healthy enough to do that and that the effects of his knee injury have disappeared.

“A lot of people think I haven’t reached my potential because of my knee,” he said. “My knee is fine. I’m going on my third healthy year, I’m still fast, quick and athletic. I still feel like I can play at that level.”

If Offutt has his druthers, though, he might not play until 2011-12. He said he would not be eligible until the end of the fall semester and would rather sit out and play two full seasons. However, he said if Crean needs him for next season, he will play.

“I’d rather just sit out,” he said. “I’d rather play two full years as opposed to 1½. If I’m going to play back in the Big Ten, I’d rather go strong my final two years. … Me and coach Crena talk about it some more. If he needs me to play, if he says, ‘Walter, I’m going to need you to play midway through the season.’ Then I’ll play if he thinks it’s worth it for me to do that instead of sitting out and playing two full seasons. It’s something I’ll have to talk with coach Crean about.”

40 comments

  1. Well this is a good thing. Any inroads made toward recapturing recruiting clout in-state is a good thing. And he can probably help the team.

    I think he’d have to sit out the fall semester because he’s still less than a year from transferring from OSU. He had one semester at Wright St.,now one at Indiana. I think that’s right.

  2. Personally, I think we need him to play ASAP. But I understand where he’s coming from.

    Great news either way. I hope it works out. It sounds like it probably will.

  3. I have a inside source that says he is close to closing the deal with Purdue. He knows Crean is about to get fired.

  4. This is great. We bring in a talented player and don’t have to use a scholarship. Nice Pickup.

  5. I have a question for those that have seen him play: How are his ball handling skills? Can he log minutes as a primary ball handler? Rivers has proven he can’t. Jones is iffy. I don’t see VO, Roth, Sheehey or Creek in that role. Hulls is our only solid guy on the ball.

  6. I watching Offutt at Warren Central, and this guy can really play. If his knees hold up, and it appears they will, he can make a solid impact for IU without giving up a valuable scholarship.

  7. “he will attend Indiana as a walk-on as long as IU can produce a favorable financial aid package”

    Interesting. Why wouldn’t this be the way to circumvent the NCAA limit of 13 athletic scholarships for even more “walk-ons”. Could award “favorable financial aid packages” to a plethora of either marginal or role players beyond the limit of 13 scholarships. Sounds like a plan!

  8. Don’t think Skip is on to anything. The financial package comes from student loans and federal grants and isn’t anything Indiana can really control (legally of course).

  9. ^ impostor
    He is not a point guard. Hulls is still our only viable option at point. He will provide depth at the 2 though.

  10. I am all for this…but to read his comments about always wanting to come here and play for IU seems a bit off considering he committed to OSU in late 2005, right? I believe the Sampson fiasco really hit the fan in February or so in the not too distant past of 2008. Maybe what he meant to say was that he had committed to OSU because Davis was still here in his last year and we all knew his time was coming to a close.
    Anyways…welcome back to your home state, Walter. Better late than never.

  11. As I mentioned when this first came up, I don’t know his family situation but he is eligible for the same need based and/or academic aid that any other student is eligible for. If his family has zip, his aid package would cover all costs (some of it may only be loans).

  12. Here is a kid that has seen the past two years of struggles with our program and still wants to come and be a part of the tradition of IU basketball. We need more of guys like this. The will to win is contagious. hopefully the rest of the team catches it! Go Hoosiers!

  13. Hulls is the kind of Indiana kid I want not this Offutt kind of kid. He’s a traitor and now IU is convenient of course Crean will beg him to come and destroy our history.

  14. Skip,

    Offutt will be nonrecruited by IU. That means no official visit, no phone calls from IU to Offutt, and no off-campus contact. Nonrecruited players are not subject to the same limitations on financial aid in football and basketball as recruited athletes.

    IU will have to take care not to jeopardize Offutt’s nonrecruited status, but it is possible to recruit a former scholarship player and avoid the limits on other financial aid that football and basketball have to deal with.

  15. Mr. Compliance Guy:

    Thanks for the additional details – they sound accurate to me. Assuming the line (perhaps a tight rope would be a better analogy?) can be walked w/r/to staying within the letter of the NCAA’s recruitment status restrictions, this could still be an effective way to thumb one’s nose at the NCAA scholarship limitations. Of course, any financial assistance that the student-athletes received would also have to be available to any other student of similar means who applied to the university for admission and financial assistance. Might be safer to test the approach with a player who hadn’t already played in the Big Ten though.

  16. It’s not that effective because it only works with players committed to be a walk-on. If someone tries to come in and sell the prospect on being a scholarship athlete, and treating them as such, by calling them as much as allowed, having them in for an official visit, making a home visit, etc., you have almost no tools for fighting that influence.

    IU isn’t testing an approach here. This is all clear legislation straight out the book. There’s no waivers or discretion here. The only hiccup would be an accusation that Offutt was recruited per the definition in the bylaws, and that could be easily countered with documentation of the basketball staff’s recruiting activities. If IU didn’t have that documentation, while on probation no less, Offutt’s financial aid is the least of their worries.

  17. The financial aid package is driven by the FASFA need determination FOR ALL STUDENTS. The formula is set, all that is uncertain is Offutt’s personal and family financial circumstances. He is not a recruited athlete. That is why his mother is meeting with the financial aid officers, like any parent of a prospective transfer student would. Every university in the US has an identical playing field. No student can receive more than their “demonstrated financial need”. Most receive far less because the university does not have adequate resources to fund 100% of the demonstrated financial need for all students (Princeton, Harvard, Yale are some of the few who do provide financial aid for 100% of this demonstrated financial need), so all students get less. Then there are merit based academic scholarships and awards, again offered equally to all students, again the total of all aid is limited by the demonstrated financial need. Athletic scholarships are not limited by financial need in any fashion. Coach Crean and the Athletic Department will have zero to do with this process and determination.

  18. 14 points in 22 minutes for OSU last season? Those games were against cream puffs (Alcorn St. and James Madison), but productivity is productivity. Get this kid a uniform!

  19. The more I hear about Offutt the more I think he is what we all thought Rivers was going to be. This addition will rankle Rivers for sure. Maybe it will wise him up and he will try to do only what he can do well.

  20. I can’t think of anything Rivers can do well offensively. If Offutt is fully recovered, he could be a difference maker.

  21. It could be that Rivers and Offutt never have to worry about sharing playing time. They may practice together this year, but my bet is that Offutt won’t play until 2011-2012.

  22. I was a financial aid advisor for UK for 8 years in the 1980’s. As long as Offutt isn’t given any special package that’s different than what any other student would get, he and the athletic department are fine. He very easily could qualify for a rather good financial aid package, even at this late date.

  23. It’s nice to
    have a place to come
    and ask questions when you can’t
    find the answer yourself.

  24. I didn’t read through everything up top but I dug up his rival rankings for class of 2008:

    *ranked 99 out of top 150

    *24 best shooting guard in country

    if I am reading that right, we could get a player IF he stays healthy. There was ref up top to Rivers, this kid set all kind of scoring records at Warren Cen so I think he can shoot it.

  25. What I’ve read about Offutt is that he will be eligible more or less after first semester 2010. If he chose to play immediately, he would get one and on half seasons of play. If he chose to wait until the following season, he would be eligible for 2 full seasons (2011-12, 2012-13). Don’t ask me why, that’s what I read (here I think).

  26. This would be a true win-win for IU and WO. I love his desire to don teh candystripes and I love the chip on his shoulder for OSU. Maybe this is the start of pushing Thad out of Indiana?

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