Fred Glass on NIT: “men’s basketball wanted it to be on the road”

  • 03/29/2017 12:14 pm in

Indiana’s decision to turn down a home game in the National Invitation Tournament more than two weeks ago was met with confusion and disappointment by many fans when it was announced on Selection Sunday.

The Hoosiers, who earned a No. 3 seed in the NIT, opted to play Georgia Tech at McCamish Pavilion in Atlanta rather than at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. In the NIT, the higher seeded team typically hosts unless it has a facility conflict. Instead, Indiana cited students being away on spring break as the reason it declined to host.

Indiana lost the game, 75-63, and less than 48 hours after the loss, athletic director Fred Glass fired Tom Crean after nine seasons. Georgia Tech, meanwhile, will play on Thursday night for the NIT championship at Madison Square Garden.

But even as Indiana basketball enters a new era under new leadership, the decision to turn down a postseason opportunity in Assembly Hall remains a topic of conversation.

Glass was a guest on the Grady and Big Joe Show on 1070 The Fan AM in Indianapolis on Wednesday and near the conclusion of the interview, he was asked if he regretted the decision to play the NIT loss away from Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.

“That was one of those decisions that was going to be kind of tough either way it went,” Glass told Grady and Big Joe. “That was my decision. I own that decision, even though men’s basketball wanted it to be on the road, that was their preference and stated desire to me that they wanted to play that game on the road. But that was my decision, so I’m not hiding behind that.”

It’s not newsworthy that Glass owns the decision as that is the expectation as the leader of the athletic department.

What is newsworthy, however, is his declaration that it was the preference of the basketball program to play away from home. In recent weeks, some national media has tried to advance a narrative that Tom Crean was not given proper support from the athletic department.

The fact that Glass revealed publicly that it was the preference of the program – a preference he went along with as the ultimate decision maker in athletics – shows he supported Crean, even in the midst of a tough decision.

“In retrospect, I think it was a mistake,” Glass said. “And I make mistakes and I think that was probably a mistake by me.”

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  • Fifer39

    When the extension didn’t come before the season started an expectation was set.

  • Maggie Scheck Geene

    Fred Glass is a liar. He states at the time of the game that they made the decision because IU was on Spring Break and they were concerned about having low attendance so they opted for an away game. I think they had already decided to fire Crean, so they didn’t care how the team did in the NIT. in fact an early exit would be better for them, hence an away start for a #3 seed.

  • Ole Man

    He still won’t take responsibility for his part in the proceedings.

  • IdahoHoosier

    Or was Glass’s comment the phony narrative? Two or more ways to look at this one I’m afraid. Eventually we will probably hear from Crean and get his perspective. Until then we can choose to believe Glass but to me his story doesn’t add up.

  • IdahoHoosier

    Thank you! Inconsistent stories from Glass, “explanations” that blame others, it just all stinks. In the end it doesn’t matter but it disturbs me how many here are praising Glass for taking responsibility. He only did so in a backhanded way with yet another changing story.

  • Outoftheloop

    So how is anything in your post proof that Fred Glass “is a liar”? You wanted Glass to say: “Tom Crean wants this game on the road”? Not the way an Admiral supports his line Captains!

  • Outoftheloop

    Is it just possible that many factors all supported the decision to play the game away? Students on break; anticipated small attendance from B-town locals; anticipated hostile crowd to Crean and Team; chipping away at the Hall’s mystic; and Crean opting for an away game.

  • Tylor Alderson

    I really can’t stand this guy. That is such a chickenshit answer. Why would we decline one of the best home court advantages in all of college basketball? Saying it was the basketball team that chose to play on the road is a bunch of BS! I think Indiana University is not done finding the right people for our basketball program. Thank you Mr. Glass for hiring coach Miller, but I think it is time for you to move on! #fireglass

  • IdahoHoosier

    It is possible. But some of those factors seem more likely than others. The only thing impossible appears to be a consistent, coherent explanation for the decision. Like I said, in the end it doesn’t really matter. I just don’t see that Glass handled this with class as many hear have written.

  • vicbert caladipo

    Totally agree OM. I got ripped by Lore and a few others for mentioning CTCs huge ego weeks ago and it seems to have gotten worse. I think his ego as well as his inconsistent success got him fired. As the losses mounted he became more and more snarky to the media. Never once did he take blame for anything. The closest he came was saying everyone needed to get better including himself. I believe the more we hear, the more we will realize that Tom is not the saint some think he is and I like most of you, believe Glass.

  • SeeingRed

    It totally adds up. As Arch so deftly pointed out, at the end, Crean appeared to be a man so defensive, insulated and afraid of confrontation that he was afraid to even face a meeting with Fred when he knew the axe was likely to fall. That is exactly the mentality of a coach who would also not want to face the possibility of random loudmouth fans in a 1/3 full Assembly Hall.

    You can believe Tom Crean wanted to play at home. I do not, not for a second. And I have no idea why a few folks would rather assume the worst of the AD than assume something about the former coach that actually makes sense.

  • IdahoHoosier

    You could be right. I don’t know either of these guys. The only story we are hearing comes from Glass, and it keeps changing! This last comment reeks of blame-shifting with the unnecessary addition of “I’m just doing what they wanted”. Just my opinion and my take on it. And bottom line is, even if Crean didn’t want to play at home, Glass could’ve have made it happen. So why did he not? Why would he placate a man he is about to fire?

  • IdahoHoosier

    The declining the meeting thing is overblown too. I used this analogy elsewhere, but if your wife calls and says “it’s over, lets meet and talk”, especially if you knew it was coming, what is there to talk about? You might meet with her, but if you do you may say some things you’ll regret later because of the heat of the moment. I don’t see any problem with saying “I’d rather not meet”. It’s already over.

  • SeeingRed

    Agree that in the end, it was Fred’s call and he blew it. Which he seemed to own up to. I just feel it’s much more likely Fred caved to Crean’s wish than the other way around. And I think there’s a possibility that Fred was still on the fence about the firing before that game at Georgia Tech tipped off, which could easily explain why he might have signed off on it.

    Think of the scenario Crean might well have been wanting to avoid. They host a pretty bad team at home, in front of a lame crowd, players don’t really want to be playing (no matter what they claim), TV audio picks up random negativity and fan discontent. Hoosiers play uninspired game and lose at home to cap off a complete collapse of a season. That’s THE END for sure.

    OTOH, they go on the road where Crean will be insulated. Creates an us-against-the-world mentality in which he figures his guys might respond and take care of business. Maybe that starts an NIT run that makes it notably harder to fire him.

    I can really see why he might have thought it was in his best interests to do what he did. He rolled the dice and lost, but it could have ended in his favor.

  • IdahoHoosier

    I disagree that Glass owned up to anything. He couldn’t help but “take full responsibility” while blaming another entity. And if Crean “caved” to Glass’s decision… that is because Glass is the boss. So it would only make sense that Fred’s decision is the one that matters, regardless of what Crean wanted.
    The Assembly Hall scenario you described is the exact same one that Crean had been dealing with the last chunk of the season. And if Crean is an egomaniac as everyone here claims, he would choose to face the opposition defiantly not run away from it. This season was never going to end in Crean’s favor because they missed the tourney after an epic collapse over the course of the season. There is just not enough actual evidence that Crean rolled any dice, because they weren’t his dice to roll! It was Glass’s decision and he made it. And told several versions of why he made the choice. If Glass was willing to change stories so frequently why is this iteration suddenly the full and complete truth??
    You can take this latest version of Glass’s story as the Gospel Truth if you like. I just don’t.

  • SeeingRed

    Come on. Exact same AH scenario? That’s a bit of a stretch. Yes there were some empty seats and lessened enthusiasm level, but nothing like the optics that could have occurred at a home NIT game gone bad.

    If it was Crean’s impetus to play away from home, do you think Glass was going to publicly throw him under the bus or try to come up with a plausible scenario in the face of a very odd looking decision? What would you be saying about Glass now if he had done that?

  • IdahoHoosier

    What would’ve been so different at a NIT game gone bad compared to home games that had already gone bad? Same location, same fans, I bet pretty much the same reactions. Glass literally just did what you described. He came up with a semi-plausible (not really) scenario in the face of his own odd looking decision. And he did just publicly throw “men’s basketball” under the bus!
    Sorry, I just don’t buy it. If Crean didn’t know his job was on the line, then he would coach to win as usual, thus choosing to play at AH. If he knew his job was on the line, he needs to win even more, thus choosing to play at AH to increase chances to win. And finally, even if for some strange reason CTC asked for an away game, which no coach would do, all Glass had to say was “No”. So all these varying “explanations” after the fact and Glass not actually taking responsibility for the decision is just silly and pointless. Sorry that you and I had to waste time discussing it!

  • SeeingRed

    Couldn’t agree more. There are some who seem to think there’s no way the guy could have had his own agenda. I think those folks are very likely quite naive.

  • SeeingRed

    It’s fine for Glass to answer the question he was posed now — Crean is gone. That’s a lot different from throwing him under the bus while he is still the coach. That would have been seen as a way to undermine him and people like you would have called it a setup.

    You’re calling the AD an unabashed liar with absolutely no evidence to support it. If Crean comes out and says “I never told Fred I wanted to play on the road, he’s lying” — then we have a he said/he said thing that would warrant a discussion. As far as I know, Crean has not done that.

  • IdahoHoosier

    Haha, OR now that the coach is gone it is a lot easier for Glass to shift blame to Crean. That is another way to look at it. I haven’t called anyone a liar (have I?), but there is absolutely evidence to support the idea, which I have presented in part above, based on reasonable logic and past experiences. The changing stories, the lamely directing blame elsewhere while playing the role of martyr. Yes hearing Crean’s take on the matter would be enlightening and open up further discussion. Like I said, this discussion is really just a waste of time for us both. I formed an opinion based on evidence from the only source we have been given (Glass) and the way in which he has handled this story (poorly). Really ultimately it doesn’t matter or affect IU moving forward.

  • SeeingRed

    No, it doesn’t matter moving forward. I’ll be waiting to see if St. Tom disputes the public record, though.

  • IdahoHoosier

    He’s vilified in your mind. Won’t matter if he says anything. I’m just not so quick to cast Crean as the villain because his boss made a bad decision to play an NIT away game. I’m certainly not claiming Crean is a saint.

  • SeeingRed

    Nope. If Crean says he argued for the game to be played in Assembly Hall and Glass is making things up out of whole cloth to cover his butt, like you think he might be, then I would have to seriously rethink my position.