By Lacy Scarmana
Indiana University’s athletic teams provided entertainment for fans on and off the fields this year with the stark improvement in the women’s basketball team and high hopes for the baseball team this spring.
But IU athletics also faces some hurdles in the coming months, with the exit of players from the men’s basketball team and continuing obstacles for the football team.
Indiana University Athletic Director Fred Glass discussed a variety of topics related to the university’s athletics on Noon Edition.
Evaluating a Team’s Success
When determining the success of each team, Glass recognizes that the number of wins and losses are important to the coaches, players and fans. But he keeps things in context, by taking into account factors such as injuries or the nature of the conference. Administrators often gauge success by the increase in wins from a previous season or reaching a certain status of postseason play.
“I think that’s a cop-out,” Glass says. “Different things are different and fair is treating like things alike, not everything the same.”
Glass says it is important to take both subjective and objective criteria into account when defining success. The IU wrestling team, for example, is in the hardest conference, so receiving a lower ranking in the Big Ten may not be indicative of the team’s achievements.
Assembly Hall Renovations
The expected completion date for the renovations to Assembly Hall is fall 2016.
“From my perspective, the most important part of the Assembly Hall renovation is preserving what I think is the best home court advantage in college basketball,” Glass says.
Very little change can be expected in regard to the structure and design of the building. A large portion of funds will go toward electrical, mechanical and plumbing updates. Highlights of the upgrade include a new scoreboard, an atrium in the south entryway, branding throughout the building, new seating in the south end zone and remodeled concession stands.
“We’re trying to make it an as fan-friendly and fan-focused renovation as possible but, at the same time, keeping the same character of Assembly Hall,” Glass says.
Men and Women’s Basketball
It has been widely reported that nine of the 17 players from the men’s basketball team will not return next season. Glass says those numbers don’t fairly represent the situation.
Of the nine players leaving, three were graduating seniors and two were walk-ons, leaving only four scholarship players that will not return. One of those players could potentially be a lottery pick for the NBA. Glass says no other program in the country is talking about walk-on players leaving the team, so the departures have been overblown. However, he embraces the passion Hoosier fans show and wears it as a badge of honor.
“I understand the depth and the breadth people have for Indiana basketball,” Glass says. “The positive and the negative are two heads of the same coin of passion.”
The women’s basketball team was one of the final eight teams in the WNIT tournament this year. Glass credits a large portion of the success to head coach Curt Miller, saying he has completely turned the program around.
Student Athlete Academics
Glass says the Athletic Department makes year-round demands of the student athletes.
“We’re fortunate at Indiana that our students that are playing athletics are meeting admission standards,” Glass says. “I believe that our kids are better prepared collectively than the average bear of intercollegiate athletics.”
Student athletes take full course loads while training and traveling with their teams. Glass ays investments in academic support facilities provide support that allows students of any sport to earn their degrees in four years or less.
Athletic Department Funding
Donor intent drives everything when distributing donated funds, Glass says. All of the donations go toward whatever the donor had intended.
“I think it would be impossible for a donor to make more efficient donation to anyone other than us,” Glass says.
As far as other forms of income, the Athletic Department doesn’t receive any help or discounts from the university, meaning they must pay for everything, including the facilities and scholarships offered to students.
“We’re probably the university’s best customer,” Glass says. “We’re not on the payment plan and we’re not getting a discount. We’re writing a check for cash money.”