Indiana has, it seems, learned its lesson in this era of NCAA infractions. It has become proactive in its never-ending battle to ensure that the mess that staggered the basketball program will never happen again.
Will it work? If you follow college athletics, you know all things -- including bad things -- are possible. Still, the Hoosiers are better prepared to avoid trouble.
Consider how football coach Kevin Wilson is pushing to ensure his program avoids the problems looming over Ohio State. He’s a big believer in monitoring what his players are doing to ensure rules are followed.
“I’ve been a part of it at Oklahoma where we had a kid who got paid for a job he didn’t work. We dismissed him from the team. That day. He was gone.”
IU athletic director Fred Glass has boosted the compliance department in terms of resources and personnel. Wilson doesn’t hesitate to take advantage of that. Now that word has surfaced that Ohio State quarterback Terrelle Pryor is under investigation for driving with a suspended license for not showing proof of insurance, the Hoosiers are checking the status of their own players.
“We’ll verify that everyone on the team has insurance for their cars,” Wilson said. “That everyone has a valid driver’s license. You don’t assume. You’re not trying to be nosey or personal, but hey, you’ve got a car. Let us be the policeman today so it’s not a ticket. Who are you living with?
“We’ll do things with the freshmen. Most will be on campus starting June 14. You don’t wait for August to start teaching them. We’ll bring in people from the community -- police officers, our counselors. We’ll work with them on how to act, how to do things, so as they go through June and July, not only do they get their first classes and workouts out of the way, but you start teaching them the ropes of how to be a college kid. We’ve got some great resources and great people at Indiana who work hard to max those guys out.”
Still, you’re dealing with people and temptation is part of it. Opportunities to do the wrong thing will come. At that point, if IU has done the job in recruiting quality people who understand what it means to represent themselves, their families and the university, it will be fine. If not, no amount of monitoring and educating will help.