Scholarship situation will work itself out

  • 05/19/2010 9:27 pm in

Big Ten Tournament: Indiana Hoosiers v Penn State Nittany LionsI needed a few days to gather my thoughts on this topic, but since it seems be a frequent point of discussion in the comments, I figured it was worth addressing.

On paper, the signing of Guy-Marc Michel has left Indiana without any additional scholarships for the 2011 class. (Scholarship numbers are available here.) At this past weekend’s adidas May Classic in Bloomington, Herald-Times beat reporter Dustin Dopirak asked several 2011 recruits, including Aaron Thomas, Austin Etherington, Jeremiah Davis and Cody Zeller, for their thoughts on the scholarship crunch.

While I felt the question was fair, I’ve steered clear of asking recruits about it because my point of view is that it’s the job of the coaching staff to figure out how to best allocate scholarships. It’s safe to assume that if Zeller or Davis decide they want to play at IU, they won’t be paying their own way, right?

If you flash back to March of 2009, the scholarship numbers would have indicated that Indiana only had one scholarship to give for 2010. Malik Story and Nick Williams then transferred, freeing up two additional grants.

It’s not inconceivable a player could become homesick or unhappy with their role and leave the program. It happens every year at a lot of programs across the country. ESPN’s Outside the Lines ran a story last January where it looked at the roster turnover in college basketball with a specific focus on John Calipari and Kentucky. And the fact is scholarships are renewable each year.

Additionally, Tom Crean addressed the situation shortly after the season concluded. Let’s go to the archives:

“I have to sit here and look ahead into the future and figure out OK, how are we going to have to not do this again. That’s what’s hard because there’s a lot of good young players that we’re recruiting that we want and we’ve gotta make sure that we get those and we’ve gotta make sure we have the ability to sign them when they’re ready to come.”

While that’s not a definitive plan, it seems to spell out pretty clearly that Crean realizes something’s gotta give in order to bring in top tier talent. The skepticism around the Michel signing was certainly fair, but the bottom line is that he was brought in because Crean and Steve McClain believe he can help win games. And many are viewing next season as the first in which fans expect to see clear indicators that the program is turning around. What bigger indicator is there than winning?

This topic will no doubt remain top of mind as the focus shifts to recruiting this spring and summer. Recruits will make their decisions. And reporters and fans will continue to discuss and speculate on how the balancing act may eventually come to fruition. So how will it all turn out? That’s anybody’s guess.

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  • walton

    hawks win hawks win hawks win

  • Ah those calenders were always the highlight of coming back to Bloomington to visit my grandparents every year. My brother and I couldn't wait to see the new pictures of our favorites from the year before and what the new guys looked like. You're right about how different it is. My father and I know each kids high school aau team and skill set. My mother is still like the old days learning the guys until big ten play starts.

  • Uncle_Kerfuffle

    I’m not entirely sure that the “calendar days’ wasn’t a more objective time in regards to what value, hopes, and aspirations we have for 17-19 year old kids, most of whom we have never laid eyes on. Of course, college basketball is big business as is AAU but we fans have probably bought into the believe that it is life/death important rather than a game. I suspect many of us have some sort of vicarious view of our beloved Hoosiers and that our individual self-esteem is somehow wrapped up in their success or lack thereof.

  • Hammer

    After reading this blog I find it amazing that there are many people out there that really dont understand how the real world works. I will make this short– If you dont produce you are gone! If you dont improve you are gone! It doesnt matter if it is in sales, engineering , basketball etc. What have you done for me today not yesterday! There are always people wanting or wanting to have your job or position. It is the laws of life.

  • kesims

    so what alot of you are saying is …(and i love crean and i think in no way does this thing not turnaround but..) if crean doesnt produce and we are getting marginally better and not competing for anything in year 6 or year 7 …that you will all be saying crean deserves this job for another 3 years because thats whats we signed him on for??

  • marsh21

    This is true….

  • Uncle Kerfuffle

    Great counterpoint.

  • Mike

    I think a lot of people are thinking about how encouraging a player to transfer is such a bad thing for the player. Well look at it this way..

    Remember when you were in church league basketball and you were on that really terrible team but you always got playing time, and maybe scored a fair your fair share of points? Yea the team sucked, but at least you got to play. How about the time you were on that really stacked team and didn’t get a lot of PT and even when you did you rarely got to touch the ball? I think for most people, the latter was the less enjoyable because although you’re winning, you’re not nearly as involved in the team as if you were on the crappy team.

    Although intramural basketball is nothing like division 1 basketball, the same concept applies. Why would you as a player want to practice and work his butt off only to ride the bench all season? Encouraging a guy like Matt Roth to transfer to place like Bradley would mean that he would be close to home and would also end up being a starter and a critical aspect of his new team. Although, he won’t be at IU, at least he’s playing for a team that could use him more than we could. Same goes for a guy like Pritchard.

    I would go as far as to say it wouldn’t be right for CTC to not let Pritch/Bawa/Roth know that they probably won’t get much playing time and it might be in their best interest to transfer. I think that more than anything, it shows a coach that is committed to his players’ success, even if it’s not with their program

  • HoosierChan77

    Is everything alright with the ITH gang…..Is the there just nothing going on?

  • Stonaroni

    Unfortunately, until the NCAA steps in, it is legal. I think the NCAA needs to get things right with David Stern first then read Calipari the riot act. There seems to be a ton of integrity missing in the NBA and college basketball. They should work together since NCAA basketball is essentially the minor league for the NBA.

  • marcusgresham

    It won't ever happen, but I'd like to see the NBA/NCAA do what the MLB/NCAA does. “If you want to go pro straight out of high school, fine, but if you go to college we won't draft you until after your junior season.” Maybe make it sophomore, but that's a better plan than what we see now.

  • SeattleHoosier

    Not sure where to go with general questions, but this scholarship discussion seems like a reasonable place to try. Is Naadir Tharpe still available? Should IU pursue him? Does he have any interest in IU? Interested in any thoughts.