Notes from the Tailgate Tour

Indiana held its final Tailgate Tour event on Thursday night in the concourse of the North End Zone. Football practice was made open for one hour after that and athletic director Fred Glass, women’s basketball coach Curt Miller and volleyball coach Sherry Dunbar spoke and were made available to the press before hand.

Some notes, first on the practice itself, follow.

— Cameron Coffman started the open portion of practice looking fairly sharp, and after one particularly accurate slant route, I suggested to a few other beat writers present that Coffman might just surprise everyone and win the starting job. Coffman responded to the claim he obviously didn’t hear by throwing an interception on his very next pass and threw a few more in the next few reps. Sorry about the jinx Cam.

He found his groove more toward the end of practice and made what was probably the throw of the day in an 11-on-11 scrimmage. He rolled to his right around the 50-yard-line, threw off-balance and lofted a throw perfectly over the shoulder of wide receiver Jamonne Chester for about a 35-yard gain. He also looked pretty solid in a red zone scoring drill.

— Tre Roberson continues to improve, and connected on a deep ball with wide receiver Nick Stoner early during the open period of practice. He also connected for a few touchdowns with Charles Love III during the Red Zone scrimmaging portion of practice.

— Nate Sudfeld still has the strongest arm, still looks very accurate on deep balls, still seems to be swimming a little bit. Lots of potential there, but exactly what you’d expect from a quarterback who’s been in college football for little over a week.

— Sophomore Kenny Mullen has been as impressive as any player on defense so far. He’s been outstanding in coverage, has been able to close on thrown balls for breakups. Lawrence Barnett has been effective, and JUCO transfer Antonio Marshall seems to have gotten his legs underneath him, but Mullen, more than anyone else, is making quarterbacks pay for throwing his way.

— All three wide receivers are making a push to play right away, but Kevin Davis has been the most impressive, at least in open sessions. The 5-foot-11, 175-pounder has an extra gear of speed than the others, and he also appears to be the most polished. His routes are sharp, he’s got good hands, he knows how to get open.

— Among true freshmen, the entire offensive line is getting a serious look, and Jason Spriggs appears to have been officially converted from tight end to left tackle, not that it was a surprise for the 6-7, 270-pounder. Dawson Fletcher is also getting more of a look at safety than some may have expected.

— Fred Glass said the construction of the baseball/softball complex is very much on schedule.

“The drought’s bad for about everything except construction,” Glass said. “It helped us with the new artificial surface that we’re really excited about with football. That just gives a really good feel, I think, in addition to being great utility. Baseball/softball is on time and on budget. I’m really pleased with the progress we’re making on that too.”

Glass said the baseball/softball complex would make for a parking problem with football, but he said he hoped to eventually pick up parking spots near the current Sembower Field. Sembower will eventually be converted to intramural fields to replace the ones that are being built over for the new varsity complex. However, Glass said that Sembower would not come down until Kaufman Field is ready for action.

“I think it will stay until we have a pitch in the new facilities,” Glass said. “I’ve sweated out that transition before, and we’ll err on the side of careful on that one.”

Glass said athletics has worked with the recreational sports to make sure there is still enough facilities for them to use for intramurals.

— Glass was asked about corruption in basketball recruiting and the degree to which he believed it was a problem. He suggested that it very much is.

“It’s terrible man, I mean, it’s gross,” Glass said. “I always had a sense of how gross it was before I had this job. I have more of a sense now I think A: because I’m closer to it, and B: it’s gotten worse in the few short years I’ve been here. I think it’s a very serious problem that potentially challenges the nature of the game. I applaud the NCAA, the basketball focus group which was formed to take a very aggressive approach with that. … I think extreme situations call for extreme measures, and we ought to figure out what we can do about it.”

Glass was asked what the first thing would be that he would to clean up the situation, he said he’d bring in investigators who could figure out whether or not players and others are being paid.

“I would encourage the NCAA to hire a bunch of former FBI guys that know how to follow the money,” Glass said. “I think we get caught up in the number of phone calls and stuff that isn’t a big deal. I think the really corrosive is people getting paid to play, to have official visits, to have unofficial visits. I think you need to hire guys that know how to find bad guys that know their way around tracking money. That’s what I’d do.”

Of course, it was pointed out to him that even those FBI guys would have to operate without subpoena power, which wouldn’t help their cause, but that was still his idea.

— Curt Miller said he’s been pleased with the reception he’s received around the state heading into his first year as the women’s basketball coach. It will be admittedly difficult, he said, to field a contending team this year, but he sees a chance to build in future classes.

“We signed a couple of kids in the 2012 class to roundout numbers this year, but we’re behind,” Miller said. “We’re behind in the ’13 class. We’ve gotta scramble to the finish line and add great players to the program. It’s late, but where we’re going to make the biggest strides are in the classes of ’14 and ’15 and the class of 2016. We’re really, really excited about our reception from those young classes. That’s who we’re going to make the biggest impact on.  We have to field a roster this year. We’ve gotta have the community be patient with us, but we really believe the future is bright down the line.”

Miller said Indiana should know soon about the status of Kaila Hulls, the former Bloomington South star and younger sister of men’s basketball point guard Jordan Hulls. Kaila Hulls sat out last season at Bowling Green with a knee injury and then transferred to Indiana, following Miller. IU has applied to waive the transfer penalty year that would ordinarily require her to sit out this season as well.

“We’re hoping early September to have a final decision,” Miller said. “The good news for us is the NCAA has circled back to us with more questions. That’s good news to us that they’re looking at it and they’re not immediately denying the appeal and the waiver. So, we’ve answered more questions. We’ve turned in more paper work and now we believe it will be early September when we have a final answer.”

AUDIO: Fred Glass

AUDIO: Curt Miller

AUDIO: Sherry Dunbar

AUDIO: Kevin Wilson at podium



  1. With respect to corruption in basketball and football recruiting, that problem will not be eliminated until both the NBA and NFL create, fund and operate real minor league farm systems the same way that MLB and NHL do. As long as the NBA and NFL depend on and use Division I basketball and football as their Triple A farm systems, the money and cheating will remain rampant.

  2. Gary Kitts- and the NBA and the NFL won’t do that (the NFL is a bit more demanding and restrained) as long as the NCAA continues to allow these two leagues to be bottom feeders from the colleges. When the Presidents of the institutions say ‘enough’ and keep NBA/NFL scouts and agents off campus and penalize contacts…then we’ll see reform. But remember, the NCAA has almost nothing to do with education…it is another bottom feeder.

  3. One of the most effective ways to clean things up is to ban any coach caught cheating. Heck the C. Fla coach just got his program on probation for cheating and he still has a job. Very strict firing penalties will clean a lot up in a hurry

  4. Question for Gary:

    If the NBA and NFL start farm leagues, what happens to the NCAA programs? Do they become irrelevant overnight?

  5. Jubilee, exactly, your Q mirrors my thoughts to a T. Why would we want/allow Pro organizations to dictate how good a product our college programs can produce. Certainly the NCAA is not perfect but they do a fair job in allowing college programs to build and be as good as they can be on the field of play. College baseball and hockey do not pay the bills at the AD. Those economics will not work, hence they will not happen.

  6. No, NCAA programs do not become irrelevant overnight, or over 10,000 nights. One, only a relatively small number of kids would be affected. Two, just like before early entry, the game would become more sophisticated and interesting as experience again dictates teams’ greatness. Three, a “purer” game would attract viewership.

    That has always been the NCAA’s mistake: thinking that future pros are necessary. Now they are increasingly paying the inevitable, ever higher price.

    TTG…spot on, the NCAA can and needs to make the first move. Imagine how fast the NBA and NFL would respond at the point they don’t get free minor leagues anymore. Speed of light stuff.

    Glass is onto something. I would suggest two things.

    One, a large part of the reason stuff like this goes on is because coaches are so competitive. In the context of some or another kind of more aggressive investigative dynamic of the type Glass suggests, figure out how to use that competitiveness to the NCAA’s advantage. Create a culture in which coaches inform on cheaters. They’ll do so if a) they believe the cheating coach will be caught and b) the punishment will be substantial enough to affect competitive advantage.

    Two, the lack of subpoena power is an enormous problem. The NCAA and the institutions are going to have to get creative about figuring a way around this. Maybe a recruited athlete and his family have to sign wavers that reduce their zones of privacy vis-a-vis NCAA investigation. Maybe aau programs’ staff and schools’ coaches have to do the same to keep certification. Etc.

    Glass’ statements…Crean’s interview with Bozich yesterday…the article by Dickie V. (who does care about the game)…all in the spawn of a few days. Things must really be getting bad with b-ball recruiting. And, let’s face it, “getting bad” is in comparison to something that has been a cesspool for many years.

  7. In reply to Jubilee: The long-term effect would be to downsize both basketball and football in Division 1. Eventually, they would resemble today’s college baseball and hockey programs from the standpoint that if a player wants to go pro out high school (as in today’s baseball and hockey minor leagues), that option is open to them. There are far too many really good football and basketball players who are not academic stars and the ability to go pro and learn the trade in the minor leagues would remove some of the pretense that these athletes are students and scholars. Having viable basketball and football minor leagues will reduce some of the perverse incentives for college coaches to cheat. IMHO, college baseball and college hockey are still exciting and interesting. There are also a few who make it to MLB and NHL each year through the respective farm systems. Also, having NFL and NBA farm systems might make it easier for the college presidents to reform the NCAA and really make Division 1 a student-athlete endeavor instead of the current in all but name professional sports activity. As an aside, if Congress decides to step in and designate Division 1 football and basketball as unrelated taxable business activities, then there will another major mess to deal with. A case can be made that currently Division 1 football and basketball are not core activities related to the educational purposes of the colleges under IRC section 501(c)(3) and as such should be treated as business entities. The examples from college baseball and hockey with the MLB and NHL minor leagues provides a real road map on how to fix the situation permanently with Federal legislation. But the reality is that neither the NFL or NBA will give up the free milk and the cow that the NCAA is giving them. Sometimes I think we need another Theodore Roosevelt type of intervention to save Division 1 from itself.

  8. That’s “span” of a few days, not “spawn.”

    “Spawn” is what years of neglect and willful ignorance by the whole edifice has created, but has now received some surprising attention by parts of that edifice over the “span” of a few days.

  9. Change won’t come from outside the system.

    I’d like to see Glass, whose profile in college athletics will only increase with time and with the increasing competitiveness of an array of IU’s teams, try to be a national public figure on the need for reform.

    Make a push. Throw out ideas. Try to be the first AD that reporters call when they’re writing an article about the subject. Write op-eds of his own. Publish letters. Maybe even start something formal with like-minded AD’s and Presidents; see if McRobbie and Swarbrick will join him and then work from there.

    I realize there’s the Knight Commission but it’s role has become so “think tanky” that there’s room for something different, something that agitates based on what’s happening day-to-day in college sports.

    Cannot hurt and maybe just maybe might make a difference, while elevating the public image and profile of IU.

  10. Kitts,

    Respectfully, I would argue that baseball and hockey are not models for what would happen to college basketball and football. Both were professional sports before college sports. Not so with basketball and, especially, football.

    Hockey is just too niche a sport from the NATIONAL perspective (popular as it is in some regions) to be a precedent.

    Baseball’s massive, multi-layered minor league system is not solely or even largely a developmental system for youth. Given the subsidization that would be necessary for the NBA and NFL (the reason they don’t want minor leagues), the number of minor league basketball and football teams that employ future professionals would be very small.

    Moreover, a sizable number of the best future major league players go to college.

    In other words, only a relatively small percentage of future football and basketball players would go that route instead of college. The top 15 to 20 in a given class in basketball is probably the right concept, with a small number added who are farther down the rankings but are very highly academically unprepared. Similar in football, but scaled to the number of positions and draft rounds.

    Then, after the change, college football would still have 100,000+ stadia with more than a century of tradition. In basketball, the teams that future pros attend…the Carolinas and Kansases and Indianas…would still be religions to their fans.

    College football and basketball would stay as popular as ever and possibly more so, imho.

  11. Kitts and guest, I still do not concur with either of you as to wanting the Pros or the Government in charge but 2 BIG positives with your scenario, pUKe BB and SEC FB would cease to exist as we know them today.

  12. Hoosier Clarion, in no way was I trying to suggest that I want the pros or the government involved. What Glass was saying, in arguing for “ex”-FBI officials, was that the NCAA needs to be much more aggressive in its investigative tactics, not that the actual government should be involved.

    I concur with that.

    As for the pros, I was trying to argue that the NCAA, by taking the lead, would LESSEN the influence of the pros on the college game.

  13. I know exactly what AD Glass said. As you alluded to in #7 with no teeth no viability. 1000 investigators w/o power is useless. Creating ways around it and you have what we have today soft practices exercising control. There are enough rules in place today, tweak them and then the only thing left to do is ladle out punishment.

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