Photo Credit: IDSNews
You know that meme of the dog sitting in a burning kitchen saying, “This is fine”? Well, that’s IU basketball right now and Hoosier fans worldwide are freaking out. Like really freaking out. Freaking out so much they want to fire Archie Miller yesterday and send Athletic Director Fred Glass and University Preside Michael McRobbie to Siberia. If you are one of those fans reading this, I have one thing to say: Stop it. All of you. Yes, the basketball team stinks today. Its flaming hot garbage and is not upholding IU’s reputation as a basketball blue blood very well. But, don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. The university and athletic department are thriving in spite of the basketball team and the football team for that matter. Let me explain.
IU Athletics wins a lot
Since Fred Glass was hired as athletic director in 2009, IU has enjoyed one of its most successful athletic periods. The two money-making sports, football and men’s basketball, have been competing regularly with the basketball making three Sweet Sixteen runs and winning two Big Ten titles in four years and the football team making back to back bowl games for the first time in over twenty years and signing the two best-recruiting classes in IU history. Carrying the banner for that success are IU’s men’s soccer, swimming and diving, baseball and track and field teams have all excelled under Fred Glass’s leadership. The programs combined have made team NCAA tournament appearances nearly two dozen times and combined for a half dozen “Final Fours.” We have trusted Fred to hire coaches for those teams who have all been successful, why would basketball be any different? To say Fred Glass is not running a successful athletics department is wrong and disrespects the sports not named football and basketball.
The athletics department makes money and uses it well
It’s hard to knock a guy who is turning a profit, in spite of less than otherworldly success from the two “money-making” sports. In 2017 IU Athletics neared $100 Million in revenue, with a profit of just over $1 million, the 11thconsecutive year the athletics department turned a profit (IndyStar). In addition to the athletic events producing revenue, IU athletics has excelled at getting alumni and fan contributions to help upgrade and expand the athletic facilities. Under Glass’s leadership, IU received millions of dollars in donations from alumni for projects vital to the sustainability of the athletic department, most notably closing the south end zone at Memorial Stadium, the renovation of Assembly Hall and the recently completed Wilkinson Hall. The Assembly Hall renovations have allowed Archie Miller to show recruits some of the best facilities in the NCAA which most certainly has swayed recruits’ opinions about IU. So long as Fred Glass is the athletic director, an emphasis on profits and top-notch facilities.
Indiana University is in its Most Successful Period in History
This is pretty simple: enrollment is growing, the campus is a buzz with renovations (what’s up McNutt) and new projects, and there are new research grants being received by faculty and the university. We have President McRobbie to thank for that. The idea that he is ruining the university is preposterous. His leadership and desire to push Indiana University to the forefront of research universities has propelled IU to heights never before seen. His support of the athletics department should not be forgotten amongst the success the university is having academically. McRobbie is as passionate a Hoosier fan as there is and he has invested his time and the university’s resources into ensuring the department is successful and that that success is sustainable.
This IU basketball season sucks. I do not like losing and I put the blame on the players and coaching staff for not preparing the team well enough to compete. Archie Miller may not be the long-term solution, but let’s give him a fighting chance and allow him to build the team he envisioned when he took the job: one built on the backs of Indiana Kids, plays hard tough-minded basketball and never quits. Indiana University and its athletics department were built on the same vision. Fred Glass and President McRobbie have taken the university and its athletics program to new and unimagined positions of success. Trust their judgment and the stars should align for banner six.