Crean discusses mandatory redshirts for freshmen athletes

The Big Ten is taking steps toward discussing the possibility of mandatory redshirts for freshman athletes in men’s basketball and football, according to a report last week in Maryland’s independent student newspaper “The Diamondback.”

But Indiana coach Tom Crean isn’t so sure that debate is necessary.

Crean told reporters on Monday’s Big Ten teleconference that he would not be in favor of the league’s proposal unless it was adopted by conferences across Division I. Crean’s comments were in sync with the rest of his Big Ten basketball counterparts who were asked about the possibility of freshmen ineligibility, saying it wouldn’t work for one league to do it unless it was in lock step with the others.

“I don’t think that makes a lot of sense in the world we live in, as far as recruiting and as far as trying to put the best product as far as talent, teamwork and togetherness on the court,” Crean said. “… I don’t see where the need is for the unless it would be all the way across the board.”

A Big Ten proposal titled “A Year of Readiness” is far from going into practice, but it seeks to spark a national debate about whether or not freshmen in men’s basketball and football would need to spend an academic year enrolled in school before they would be considered eligible. The Diamondback report cites a theory from the proposal that allowing athletes a full year to transition to the academic side of college would benefit them in the classroom, where graduation rates are less than 75 percent across the NCAA in those respective sports.

Crean countered that idea on Monday, saying that the current model that allows athletes to attend summer school and compete in summer workouts is sufficient.

“That’s a real carrot in front of them to do well academically in the summer,” Crean said. “If they’re not doing well then by second semester they could really have an issue. … Bottom line is I think the practices that are in now, I think kids are only gonna get better academically. It comes down to their desire to be good academically, it comes down to the structure, the demands and accountability put on them academically and I feel really good about what we’re doing, and I’m sure I have a lot of colleagues out there who feel good about what they’re doing.”


  1. This is wrong on so many fronts it is hard to decide where to start. So, lets destroy the 75% graduation rate argument first. According to the most recent data, the overall graduation rate for IUB is just under 78% (allowing six years to graduate). If you look at all campuses, the rate is just over 58%. ( So, a 75% graduation rate for these athletes is not necessarily outside the norm.

    The way the B1G has presented this, they might as well tell prospective players to go play in a different conference. This should never be addressed at the conference level. This is an NCAA issue, not a B1G issue. If this “report” really had any value, then the proposal should be applied across all sports for both genders. Why in the world would you discriminate against men’s football and basketball, unless it points to the real reason for the proposal in the first place – the one and done players. Let’s face it, if a player is good enough to go pro, they should be allowed to do it any time they want. This is all about money, and only money. Any veiled attempt to make this sound like it is for the benefit of the student-athlete is a bold faced lie. If you really want to make a difference, get the NBA to change their post-high school, minimum age draft requirement. That is what has destroyed the college basketball game, and you are starting to see the impact on football as well, although to a lesser degree. Not only that, but ask anyone who understands the time value of money and they will tell you that is the worst thing in the world you could do to a young player that only has a limited number of years available for them to cash in on their talent. And speaking of cash, just remember every time you hear about these kinds of proposals – it’s all about the money, not creating a collegiate culture, benefiting students, or anything else related to a college education. Wake up, B1G, because you are living in a bubble somewhere right now.

  2. Do we know if this idea is being seriously contemplated by the powers-that-be within the Big Ten, or is this just the result of some loose brainstorming? Let’s not get too excited about something reported in a college newspaper.

    If the Big Ten did implement this policy unilaterally, it would in essence be withdrawing from inter-conference NCAA competition, as if creating its own Collegiate Association. No way, no how, unless all other conferences agree to do the same. Too much money involved.

    But implementing such a policy across the NCAA would force the NBA to abolish it’s ridiculous one-and-done policy. That would be one good thing to come out of what is otherwise a really stupid idea. Would it even be legal to implement such a policy?

  3. There’s a woman(can’t remember her name) that is in the higher ranks of serving as NBA player representative….I’ve heard the topic of increasing the minimum age for entrance into the NBA is something many owners would happily consider, but she is strongly opposed and believes it impinges upon freedoms every right to be granted….

    Am I accurate on this, Geoff? Isn’t it more a player-driven issue than an owner/money issue? I’ve heard that many owners would prefer kids stay in college an extra year…

  4. I finally agree with something Crean said. Today is a good day. I am now waiting for lightning to strike me down.

  5. Well, if that women who is an “NBA player representative” is against “increasing the minimum age for entrance into the NBA” because “it impinges upon freedoms,” then how does she justify the current policy? Both policies “impinge on freedoms,” with the only difference being a matter of degree. Obviously, this is not a women of principal.

    If you’re a legal adult, there should be no policies prohibiting you from pursuing your chosen (legal) occupation. Do away with the one and done policy and make the NBA owners spend a little more time, money and effort to evaluate High School players before they draft them. And the NCAA should not prohibit a player from being a scholarship athlete just because he gets drafted. As long as he does not get paid to play pro ball, he should retain his eligibility to accept a college scholarship. Once he gets paid, he loses his eligibility. Choice and options are supposed to be good things. Why limit them for these young men?

  6. This is completely unrelated but it just popped into my head. I thought the Hoosiers were going to wear throwback unis at one point during this year? Really they have been wearing the same uni for eons, but the IU pitchfork looked a bit rounder/cartoonish in the 70s and 80s.

    Would they look something like this?


  7. This issue is something the Pac 12 announced nearly 1 week before. They are also considering it.

    Ultimately, the NBA will rule the rule. ($$$). There’s an infinite amount increase in D league players getting called up on certain teams. Baseball has it right, in my opinion. College – A – AA – AAA – the bigs. And the product is watchable and entertaining at all levels.

  8. If forcing athletes to redshirt a year “impinges upon freedoms” then so does the NBA draft . . . and so does the cap on the number of players on the roster . . . and so does the curfew imposed upon players the night before a playoff game . . . and, come to think of it, so does the playoff system itself.

    What a bad deal all this is for the players.

  9. I love the idea if the entire league does it. It would weed out the kids who care more about the money than school, the one and dones…it would put us on equal playing ground w Kentucky. Also, kids need to concentrate more on studies and adapting to college life as a freshman. As an educator I am all for this if everyone adopts the policy! The Big Ten cares more about academics than say…the SEC and they are trying to show this but it must be across the board!

  10. AWinAZ, baseball also has it right with when you can be drafted. In baseball, you can be drafted right out of high school or if you decide to go to college you have to be there a minimum of 3 years (or 3 years out of high school) before you are eligible to be drafted. This makes so much more sense for basketball then the current system.

  11. Calipari is on record in support of a minimum of 2 years college…Hell, once he gets his McDonald’s All-Americans in that “bait and tackle shop,” why wouldn’t he be in support of a system to keep them longer? It’s what’s being done at the recruiting level(backroom deals and academic enticements/corners cut) that makes it appear more of a one-and-done problem….

    If you’re one of the handful of select few talented enough to play in the NBA after one year of college, it’s highly likely you had a decent shot coming straight out of high school….Why should any talent of that level be denied the shot to go straight from high school to pro basketball?

    And what good does it do for the college game to restrict a player his deepest wish? Do you honestly think they’ll love the particular school of choice, the college experience, or the jersey anymore if forced to stay(especially if already denied an opportunity straight out of high school) an additional year?

    Maybe I’m in the minority, but I don’t want to force a young man or young woman into staying in college if he/she truly wants to leave in pursuit a bigger dream…We have no problem assuming 18-year-old kids are mature enough to get drafted into wars or enlist straight out of high school under the false pretenses of glamour and glory in fighting and killing sold to the disadvantaged….The rich that can find shelter from such horrors and “drafts” have always sought the shelter and protection of college to stay out of that game…It’s easier to sell the military cause to those under the grips of poverty that haven’t had the fortunes of education and comforts of economic stability…I tend to think it’s quite the hypocrisy to deny a supremely talented basketball player, often a disadvantaged kid, to go any damn time he/she pleases to a profession that could get his/her family some of the riches their ancestors have died and fought for years for this country while politician’s and banker’s sons/daughters have abused the protected walls of college an Ivy League to save their own privileged hide…But, hey…That’s just my idea of freedom and fair opportunity….Let’s not kid ourselves…No scores are being evened when we let a few pass through the system and make a few bucks.

  12. I also think it’s unfair to assume many find the decision simple….Some of these young men have a tremendous amount of pressure to do the right thing for their families.. It’s easy to stand in judgment and attach a stigma to these young men for not placing eduction first..But I haven’t lived in their shoes nor will I pretend to truly understand what it must feel like to have a chance to finally break a cycle of economic hardship upon a mother or father that for years had zero hope. It’s easy to label that as “not caring” or “not sophisticated” enough for the pursuits of learning within the halls our institutions….Are we attaching those labels because we really want to give these young men all the options available, or do we enjoy the roadblocks and the mockery of those we know sit behind the eight ball due to the absence of our own social consciousness and lazy acceptance for flippant treatment of institutionalized barriers to fair opportunity that begins far before any phenom picks up a basketball to chase a dream? We flip the switch of reality to act as if many of these young men are denying themselves the benefits of education in our fine colleges..I’m sorry…but what a crock of sh___t… Now we want to hand them the books..? Now we want to serve their minds equal justice and opportunity? The gathered most into “one” neighborhood and deemed them “done” of opportunity, fair wages, quality schools, and safe streets since they born into an economic prison we’ve turned our backs on for generations….I think 1/10000000000 can “one-and-done” some hoops upon our halls of learning that have forever been built on a system of education they’ve forever been excluded…..

  13. While I’ve always liked to think that most young people, given the appropriate support and possessing enough motivation, can succeed in college, to assume that everyone can is ridiculous. Not at a ‘real’ “institute of higher learning”. Back in the day UNLV would load up with ‘non-qualifiers’ who miraculously could qualify there. Our neighbors across the Ohio River have quite a record on the subject. But the fact is, being a skilled basketball player does not immediately bestow one with the academic wherewithal to succeed in college. That doesn’t mean such individuals should not be allowed to play basketball.

    The easy answer is a minor league system such as baseball. I don’t know if it’s feasible. While I enjoy a nice evening at a Class A ballpark in the summer it’s a different experience being in a local civic center watching third tier basketball in December. I remember watching Luke Recker playing D league hoops in Asheville. I never went back.

    You make some good points, Harvard.

  14. Does anyone remember the SNL skit before the IU/UNLV matchup showing the UNLV students succumbing to the rigorous academic stress at UNLV? One student says, “Who has time for basketball when they’re a student at the University of Nevada at as Vegas?”

    Another breaks down and jumps out the window committing suicide.

    A few minutes later the guest host comes out and says they been inundated with calls about the skit and he believes it was simply a misunderstanding. He goes on to state (paraphrasing), “Our point was that the University of Nevada at Las Vegas is simply not a very good school and that their academic standards are…well…a joke. We hope this clears up any misunderstanding.”


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