Indiana AD Glass Addresses Blowback Over Decision To Defer Home NIT Game
Indiana Univ. decided to not host a first-round NIT game tonight against Georgia Tech because the school is on spring break, and AD Fred Glass has "heard the noise and the criticism" from fans, according to Terry Hutchens of the Anderson HERALD BULLETIN. Glass has heard "various conspiracy theories being floated including one that Indiana wanted to avoid a home game in the NIT because of the potential of an unfavorable crowd reaction to IU coach Tom Crean." Glass said, "I know there is a perception out there that we did this to somehow protect Tom from being booed at or something like that, and in my view that’s just not the case. But I will plead guilty in wanting to protect the impression of Assembly Hall and not wanting to be on national TV when Assembly Hall wasn’t Assembly Hall. ... We’re very eager and hopeful that we’ll host (the second round) next week." Glass said that IU has "indicated to the NIT it would be interested in hosting a second-round game on March 20 when the students are back." IU had to "declare two weeks ago whether it would play in the NIT if eligible." Glass: "It was a decision we made two weeks ago and it was based on the fact that not only would our students not be there, which was the prime reason, but the fact that Bloomington kind of becomes a ghost town when everybody is on spring break. ... We have the largest student section in the country in basketball at 7,800 seats so it definitely undercuts the experience." Glass said that IU's most recent appearance in the NIT, when it hosted Vanderbilt in a first-round game in '05 when the students were on spring break, "did factor into the decision" (Anderson HERALD BULLETIN, 3/14).
CANDY STRIPED OF A GOOD REASON: In Indianapolis, Gregg Doyel writes 11 of the 16 higher-seeded NIT teams are on spring break, yet IU is the "only one that asked to go on the road." Glass: "We’re going to get criticized no matter what. If we made the other choice, I can see some people say, ‘You idiot, you’re setting up Tom and the team to fail because Bloomington is a ghost town.’ I do think the men’s basketball student section is particularly important to the experience at IU and how the experience at IU is perceived. I won’t back away from that" (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 3/14).