Originally posted on Midwest Sports Fans  |  Last updated 10/11/11

Tonight, news broke that Tom Crean and my beloved Indiana basketball program have self-reported a secondary violation to the NCAA. The violation involves the recruitment of Gary Harris, one of the top recruits in the class of 2012, and involved Coach Crean having contact with Harris a day after he was allowed to. For complete details, read this article by ESPN’s Pat Forde (via Inside The Hall), or peruse the official report send to the NCAA.

I posted some thoughts over at the Peegs.com message board and decided I might as well post them here as well for those of you who are interested.

As you know, of any sports team I follow, IU basketball is the one I truly live and die with. So reports like this one always cause me to stop, think, and react.

Here is what I said to my fellow Hoosier fans:

In light of the disappointing but not earth shattering news tonight that Coach Crean committed a secondary violation in contacting Gary Harris outside of the allowed time period, I have one request of IU fans:

Please do not try to justify Coach Crean’s actions by citing Alabama’s 44 secondary violations (as a prominent IU fan did in my Facebook feed) or anything having to do with Kentucky or any sports program of their historical ilk. Just because Alabama or Kentucky would do it, does not mean Indiana should do it. Quite the opposite in fact.

Now, with that said, let me state that I think everyone is entitled their own opinion, and I’m not positing mine as the gospel or how IU fans *should* feel. I’ll respect those who disagree with me. I’m just stating how I feel.

Personally, I am disappointed by this. I’m not going to make a mountain out of a molehill, but I don’t want to see this stuff. Whether the rules are silly are not, they are rules, and this clearly gave us an advantage over other teams recruiting Harris who followed the rules. I grew up with Coach Knight and being around Coach Mallory on a regular basis. I have always been proud to be an IU fan because I felt a certain sense of superiority in the regards to our kids going to class, graduating, and being recruited the right way…regardless of wins or losses on the floor, though obviously that’s the ultimate goal. I realize that having the cake AND eating it too is not of utmost importance to everyone, but it is to me and, I think, most longtime IU fans. I’ve been a staunch supporter of Coach Crean through his entire tenure, and I will continue to be, but I’m disappointed by this.

If it was an honest mistake, shame on Crean and Buckley for not dotting their i’s and crossing their t’s, especially in light of what happened before they got here. And if it was a cunning, calculated ploy to get one final contact knowing it would only be a secondary violation (as I’ve seen suggested, though I have no knowledge one way or the other) then shame on Crean for bargaining with the integrity we’re slowly rebuilding.

Basic point: whatever the explanation or justification, shame on Crean. It was wrong. End of story. (As far as I’m concerned.)

We’re Indiana. We do not win at all costs. We win the right way. While these beliefs may be antiquated, and perhaps even unrealistic, they are part of the reason why I bleed Cream and Crimson and live and die with this program. I’m proud of it. This blip on Crean’s near-impeccable resume (so far) of leading our program the right way doesn’t change that, but it does disappoint me. And it disappoints me even more that any IU fan would justify anything in relation to unscrupulous sports programs like Alabama and Kentucky. Coach Crean is better than this, and so are we.

My final suggestion, whether it is taken or not, is this: let’s all be humble, admit this was wrong (without defensive justification, eat whatever crow others want to throw, and then look forward to what I really believe will be a season of rejuvenation. I just want want to make sure the rejuvenation continues to happen on the floor, in the classroom, AND on the recruiting trail. That’s what Indiana basketball has always stood for to me. Forgive me, if you must, for not being so quick to compromise those expectations, even a little bit.

Thanks for reading.

Jerod Morris
IU Class of ’04
@JerodMorris on Twitter if you want to discuss further

I like Tom Crean a great deal, and respect what he has done in Bloomington both for the basketball program and the community, so I will give him the benefit of the doubt that this was an honest mistake. Hopefully I’m right.

Feel free to comment below if you want to discuss, or pop over to Peegs or our friends at ITH, where the conversation will probably be far more lively.

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