IU's Crean classless, misguided in postgame confrontation

March 11, 2013
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It’s a shame to be writing about the Kelvin Sampson era the day after IU Coach Tom Crean and his team seemed to put all that behind the school.

But just after Crean’s team secured sole rights to call itself Big Ten champion at Michigan on Sunday, and exorcised the remaining demons left by Sampson and his staff, Crean—for some unknown reason—conjured the ghost of IU’s ugly past.

After the emotional 72-71 victory at Crisler Center, Crean charged toward Michigan assistant coach Jeff Meyer and shouted, “You know what you did. You helped wreck our program.”

Meyer was an assistant under Sampson and was implicated in the violations, which consisted of Sampson making too many phone calls to recruits and then lying about it. Meyer made a public mea culpa in 2008, apologizing to Indiana University for his part in the violations. In his written statement, however, Meyer said his involvement was “limited.”

Maybe that caveat stuck in Crean’s craw. I’m not quite sure how Crean would have much insight into the matter considering that he was in Milwaukee at the time.

But even if Crean does have inside information, and even if he has a legitimate ax to grind, why not handle the matter in private? Certainly Crean and Meyer have many occasions to bump into one another during the year—and away from the television cameras and microphones.

If not, I’m fairly certain phone lines connect Bloomington to Ann Arbor. Or if e-mail is your thing, there’s that.

Those much closer to the scrum than I on Sunday reported that Meyer said something very nasty to IU officials in the post-game handshake line. But Crean has often counseled his players that they have to keep their composure in the heat of competition and in the face of such things as trash talk. Crean has to set the tone.

During a Monday morning media teleconference, Crean apologized for the postgame dust-up. He said he called Meyer later Sunday to apologize for addressing the matter in the way that he did.

It's a great step that Crean realized the error of his ways. But the apology won't erase all the damage he did. He took the spotlight off his team—and few teams and players deserve the spotlight more than this one—and put it on a former team and coaches that most involved with the school would like to forget.

Everybody involved with IU knows the type of program Sampson and his assistants ran. No one needs Crean to remind them.

Sunday’s postgame display looked like poor sportsmanship. Crean looked for a moment—at least in the WRTV-TV Channel 6 video clip that went viral—like a bully rubbing salt in the wound of an opponent. It was a bad time to make the point and it was certainly done in bad taste.

Crean is beloved in part because he has remained above such nonsense. This is a guy who tweets about his spirituality. He rarely berates his players in front of TV cameras the way so many other college coaches do. This is a guy who appears most of the time to have the school and student-athletes’ best interest at heart. He wins with class.

There’s a saying in sports that when you’ve had a good season and you’re approaching a championship run, go with what got you here.

Crean would do well to do the same.

  • Come on now
    This is a ridiculous attempt at journalism and quite frankly, it's libelous. To call Crean "classless" and "misguided" is a poor attempt at humor. Meyer's comment to Crean directly during the postgame handshake was "go f*** yourself" which was completely unwarranted. After the way Meyer helped wreck the program (and get away scot-free by selling out his fellow coaches), Crean had every right in the world to call him out, but especially after what Meyer told him after the game. This biased garbage isn't worth a nickel.
    • Thank you, kind sir
      Jesse, why are you here commenting if you so dislike the blog? I can see Tom Crean has set a great example for you. When you disagree with something, go off in a classless way in a public forum. I don't think this post was an attempt at humor. I think it was a point well made. I like Tom Crean a lot. I did not like Sunday's public display. He has to continue to rise above one stupid thing a knucklehead said. I'm sure Coach Crean regrets his actions. And I wouldn't be surprised if he makes a public apology (not to Meyer) but to IU fans and followers for such a public display.
    • Not Crean's first
      I don't think this is Crean's first incident at being classless. How about blatantly coaching kids to fake a flagrant foul such as he did with Will Sheehey in the Minnesota game or Cody Zeller in the Michigan State game. Those moves were bush league, and you'd never see a guy like Tom Izzo do something like that - and Izzo is probably the Tiffany standard for class in college basketball coaching.
    • Blog post updated re: Crean's apology
      I updated this blog post to make mention of Crean's apology this (Monday) morning during a media teleconference.
    • Anthony is right on the mark on this one. You won, it does not matter what someone says. Point to the scoreboard. This was very classless and a poor example for his kids and those watching on tv. This season for IU has been odd at best. I don't remember ever seeing Seniors honored after a game, and having to stand there after a loss while the fans filed out on them and then cut down the nets to an empty arena? I have never seen a team cut down the nets after a loss. This post season will be interesting, but this is just an odd team and an odd season.
    • Agree
      I agree. In an emotion filled game like that was, who cares what Crean said. The press has to have something to talk about... They might want to get the score right, however. It was 72-71 Indiana. GO HOOSIERS!!!
    • Tom Cream
      Liberals bash and if conservative object, they get bashed again. Always tell a liberal by the junk they uttered or print because they are always right and we are the underinformed. As Sherm Potter said....HORSE HOCKEY. The p contests are left best alone to the people who have no other agenda than heraing or seeing themselves.
      • Disappointing
        Anthony, I'm very disappointed in Crean's behavior especially considering the great accomplishment the team had just achieved. I hope that there is more to the story, but it still doesn't justify that outburst. Also, if you're going to report the score, at least try to get it right...72-71.
      • Get the facts...then report
        "Those much closer to the scrum than I on Sunday reported that Meyer said something very nasty to IU officials in the post-game handshake line." - Perhaps get ALL of the facts BEFORE you make claims against a coach for being "classless" and "misguided." You openly state that you don't know all of the facts, so it seems clear to me who's misguided. I'd like to see your report after you know clearly what was said and why that exchange occured.
      • Tom Crean
        Tastless, uninformed, classless...look who's talking now?
      • What's the Point!?
        I agree with Jesse, this is a non-article, and as several others have pointed out, the author couldn't even get the score correct. Coach Crean could/should have handled the situation better? That's a matter of opinion. But no one but him has lived the mess that the infamous Denim Shirt (Kelvin Sampson) and his staff left behind. To then have one of those idiots drop an F bomb on him, I would tend to give him a pass on his response, but he actually came back and apologized for it, taking responsibility for his actions, unlike the Denim Shirt Gang.
      • Come on, Matthew
        Matthew, please (not Matt)...first of all, I am not sure Crean coached Zeller or Sheehey to "fake" fouls, but it happens all the time, at every level, so stop being so naive, it is part of the landscape of competitive sports, flopping, faking injury, selling contact...and please...I love Izzo, a great coach and quote, but he is the king of whine, he owns a 1/3 of the Big Ten officials...if you are so naive as to think that some programs are "above it all" while other programs have guys who will do "whatever it takes" to win, you have no clue about competitive sports at any level. Faking injury and simulating contact when there is none (or very little) is the very hallmark of competition where one small thing can make the difference...the sport of soccer absolutely thrives on it, baseball is so full of cheating, stealing signs, scuffing baseballs, stickum, spit, football's greatest coach, Bill Belechick, is likely a "Spygate" cheater, as are the New Orleans Saints, Reggie Miller was the absolute master of swinging his leg or flopping while shooting to draw fake contact, the NBA, NHL and NCAA both have numerous examples of guys who are kept on the bench simply to be "enforcers" (the Celtics always had a guy who would go start a fight and get a key opponent kicked out or to fire up thier team, Dexter Pittman and Udonis Haslem did it to the Pacers in the playoffs last year)...the fact is, Crean should not have reacted the way he did, but he is human, extrememly competitive and intense...take him at his word for having made amends and apologized after a bad reaction. Sampson and his staff absolutely did put the program in a bad place...Crean probably does know some inside stuff...and if you get to the end of a blood and guts basketball game like that one, and a guy like Meyer says what he is alleged to have said, I am not sure I could turn the other cheek either...who does Meyer think he is? He is lucky to even have a job...Ultimately, Anthony is right...don't stoop to Meyer's level, especially when you may be playing them again next weekend...but it is easier said than done.
        • Cream
          Anthony, I assume you didn't write that horrid headline.
        • Loved It
          As a huge Purdue fan that did not have much to cheer about this season I really enjoyed the Crean outburst. Totally unncessary and awesome. Made me think Crean is a bit insecure. He heads one of the best basketball programs in the country and he puts himslef on the same level as an assistant coach. Why??? He knows with the talent he has amassed at IU anyone could have coached their way to a big ten championship. The difference is Painter, or Brad Stevens, would not have lost 5 games with the same crew.
          • Not on CBS
            Local coverage may have been extended, but for those of us watching out of state the show was over right after the win, so whatever scuffle that is mentioned here was not shown. Was it a good example? Probably not - but neither was Sampsons regime.
          • UM head coach not apologizing
            Michigan Coach John Beilein doesn't seem to think UM or Meyer has anything to apologize about. This is what he said today about Sunday's Meyer-Crean incident: "Jeff and I discussed it afterwards. I'm not going to comment on another coach or another university. I will say Michigan is always going to win with class and lose with class. I am really proud of the way Jeff showed great poise in the aftermath of that loss."
          • Proof
          • Let's Move On
            Being an IU Alum, I don't condone what Coach Crean said during the post-game exchange, but emotions do take control. He's no different than us (besides his bank account and the Harbaugh family he married in to). I didn't see what Michigan Assistant Meyer said that may have sparked the encounter but either way, IU won on the road, gave Michigan its only home loss of the season and is the Big 10 Regular Season Champs. The media, including this blog is just providing something to talk about. Let's move on... this story line will rear its ugly self again in the coming weeks.
          • Tired of labels
            I enjoyed reading the comments on this subject until I got to yours. So tired of those who have to put one-word labels on those whose opinions they disagree with. How does stating that you disagree with how Tom Crean handled to post-game situation make someone a "liberal"? The term is thrown around so much that it is totally without substance. It only serves the purpose of those who can't express themselves adequately with more than one word or finger.
          • What would You Do?
            We are all very quick to judge, but if Jesse is correct on what Meyer said. How would the rest of you respond? Now be honest.
          • Mistakes
            This "spot on" sports writer wants to cast the first stone on Crean making a mistake, that he apologized for. I know that I don't go through a day without a mistake myself. So, how about trying this on: what if he steps back, takes a good look, proof reads his blog, and get the score correct to start off......it was 72-71. Then perhaps I might give the rest of his writing some consideration.
          • Wow - almost as good as an old Bob Knight story!!!
            Nothing gets Hoosiers more rilled up that attacking someone in basketball that they love. How very entertaining. The only important thing is, IU WON!!!
          • big deal
            Basketball players have flopped since the invention of fouls. A guy drives, you get in front, he hits you and if you're lucky you get a foul call. what's the big deal? as for Crean, the only unfortunate thing is that apparently a camera and mic were there. for the rest, just like you piously assume there's no reason, I'll assume he had good reason.
          • Right on Anthony
            Crean was classless and for him to react like this in camera-shot seconds after winning Big10 regular title is inexcusable. When faced with whatever criticism, you just respond with "scoreboard". Period...end of story. Anything else is his own self-centered need for importance and turned this from "Crean returns Indiana to prominence" to "Crean rubs win in face of competitor". You got someone rooting AGAINST you now Indiana Hoosiers. Crean is just as bad as as his childish brother in-laws, apparently by osmosis.
          • Give Me A Break
            Gee, Tom Crean is human. Wow, what a significant moment of enlightment that surely justifies your calling out. What's the matter, didn't he call on you when you had a question?
          • Biased Much
            @Pete You know, your comment is overly biased and of course, as a rabid Purdue fan, you are going to portray Crean's action in a negative light. Your response is about as simple-minded as the premise of this article - thinking that you know all the details and are capable of passing judgement because you 'do everything right'.
            • Creen desperate for attention
              IU won the Big 10 and should have...they deserve all the credit. Only problem is Creen is trying to capitalize on the situation for his gain. Not satisfied with the big win on TV - he had to make it about him and make sure the whole world knew he took over the program when in probation as if IU never had a chance without him. I don't get why IU fans are so defensive when his actions were so transparent and self serving. I know this because IU obviously told him to apologize immediately. Haven't Hoosiers learned that blind faith in coaches who are there to become bigger than IU always end poorly? Bobby Knight? Scandal. Misogeny. Abuse. Sampson? Scandal. Lies. Cheating. Creen? Scandal. Hypocrisy. Narcicism. Pat Knight? Scandal. Nepotism. Embarrassment. If I were an IU fan, I wouldn't be defending Creen, I would be defending my University's reputation against anyone who dares to use it for their selfish gain. Maybe Creen is just miffed that he's an interesting side story to the Harbaugh brothers and feels like they always steal his thunder? He didn't seem too bothered every time someone in New Orleans shoved a camera in his face to ask his opinion on things for two weeks...maybe he just felt the need to "perform" because he saw the cameras? No matter the reason...he selfishly stole the thunder from the real winners yesterday which were the guys wearing the uniforms.
            • I agree with Jim Harbaugh's sister
              Well said Jim's sister! Maybe that's the problem. Most IU fans didn't even go to college so it's no wonder they care more about a pseudo celebrity coach and not about the University!
            • Creen rides coat tails
              Does seem kind of weird no one knew who Creen was until you tie him to a Harbaugh...kind of creepy...telling. I guess I would be embarrassed if the only reason people knew me is because of my in-laws and my mugging for the cameras every chance I get when my in-laws do something for the greater good rather than for myself.
            • Lets not forget Crean has recruiting penalties of his own
              Is everyone forgetting Crean has several violations including the one where he talked to Gary Harris on Oct of 2011 after rules allowed him to do so? Some genius....he was so impressed he went to Michigan St. Maybe he didn't know Crean was married to a Harbaugh! What a hypocrite!
            • Typical iu fan response
              RMK: gross bad behavior Iu fan: oh its just bobby being bobby KS: bad behavior Iu fan: well its just a few extra phone calls TC: bad behavior/shady coaching Iu fan: just win baby Oh how low you have fallen iu fan
            • Thin skinned
              IU basketball fans are the most thin skinned, defensive fan base that I have ever come across. Your coach was out of line, looked like a fool. Yet you defend him. Any other coach behaves like that, you would be all over him. You are borderline commical at times.
            • Hoosier Fans aren't very smart
              The only thing funnier than Hoosiers defending Crean is that those same bozos let my son Pat play and coach there!
            • Steve
              So I have been searching for information on what Meyer said and I can't seem to find any mention except IU boards. The Fbomb is not making the national story. So first who said Meyer said some bad things? I mean I read in Pakistan about some guys accusing a Christian of blasphemy and it was taken as a matter of fact. The second item is why do we assume Cream said nothing to illicit a Fbomb? If he had an ax to grind why do we not consider the possibility he started it as the Fbomb usually is a reactionary response not the first strike? And lastly when I was a naughty little boy who got caught by his parents beating up my younger siblings my first response was they started it. Unless someone is going to step up with more explicit evidence I am going to follow the wisdom of my parents. They knew better and so should we.
            • Crean
              Crean has been a class act all year. A rude remark by a coach afterward was classless. I certainly understand Tom going off. He apologized its over. The heat of battle and all that. What he has done for the program is unmistakable. Enough Said.... Congrats Hoosiers on well earned victory.
              • PR
                Since IU is winning we automatically assume that the IU coach is an upstanding, classy individual? He seems a little loose to me with his over-the-top sideline antics.
              • It Is Not Over
                I like you IU fans saying, "Oh just get passed it, it's over". I guess it is over becasue you say it is? Come on. Crean looked like a goof and totally unprofessional. At least admit that. His reaction is an insight into his character. So, it is not over my IU friends, even if you want it to be. I hope to see it about a hundred more times during the big dance.
              • Agree
                I agree Jesse, Tom Crean may have made a mistake, but to sensationalise it is absurd.
              • No Axe to Grind
                @beerye371, I have no axe to grind with IU. In fact, I have all the respect in the world for the school and people that actually went there. I think Crean brought a once excellent program back from the brink and should be commended. However, his behavior after the MI game was over the top and completely odd. Especially coming from the head coach of a top 5 national program. If you don't see it that way my guess is you are not a graduate of the school.
              • Indystar Article
                As an IU grad and fan, I do not support nor condone Coach Crean's behavior however warrented, he needs to set the best example he can for his team and the university he represents, he is a paid diplomat of the university, and needs to know cooler heads prevail and focus the upcoming Big Ten tourney without creating additional distractions. With that said, here is some additional info from Indystar.com; Rick Bozich of WDRB in Louisville has a theory as to why Crean blew up on Sunday. Fort Wayne Luers’ James Blackmon Jr., a longtime Indiana verbal commitment, attended the game and was seated with two Indiana high school players committed to Michigan: Zak Irvin of Hamilton Southeastern and Austin Hatch of Fort Wayne Canterbury. “You can expect Crean to vigorously protect his turf,” Bozich writes. “It's who he is. I also wouldn't be surprised to hear somebody from Michigan say that Blackmon simply wanted to watch the game and ride to Ann Arbor with his buddy Hatch. Visiting teams cannot provide tickets for recruits. The home team can provide tickets. That would probably qualify under ‘professional misunderstanding.’” http://www.indystar.com/article/20130312/SPORTS/303120038/College-basketball-links-Tom-Crean-about-winning-March-not-winning-popularity-contests- ELE, Everybody Love Everybody!
              • There are two kinds of IU fans. Those that are ready to fire the coach, AD and three of four cheerleaders if they lose a lead. There there are the ones who would defend iu no matter what. Coach punched a baby on the court? The baby was asking for it. In this column we see both hard at it. The common denominator, is they want to kill the messenger. Anthony reported, pretty accurately, what was said and what happened. This is hardly a local thing as national tv and national radio played it for more than two news cycles. It will be brought up again during the B10 Tourney, and the NCAA tourney. Crean took what should have been a great moment for his kids and for the fans and made a mess of it. It is sad that he did not play the role model, which he is and be the bigger man. And of you think he decided to apologize, think again. I guarantee you Glass was on the phone telling him to apologize. What remains is to see how he handles himself in the future. As for me, if I had been in his position, I would have pointed to the scoreboard and told him to have a nice day.
              • Mountain out of ant hill
                People are too sensitive! Big Deal! Nobody, but Meyer and Crean know the backside of this story. In addition, when anyone gets angry they act out when they are angry not when they get home and then make a phone call. If I played for Crean I would be glad that he stood up for me and the program. Lighten up Anthony!
                • Steve
                  So what I find interesting is no one can even find footage or verification of Crean shaking hands where a verbal assault could begin or footage of Crean shaking the hands of anyone. If Meyer had so much hate for the Indiana staff why was he talking to an assistant coach of said staff? You would think the assistant would be miffed not pleasant. It is really appearing that the Fbomb by Meyer is just a myth and that this was premeditated by Crean. He had some other issue that I agree probably has to do with Meyer poaching Indiana. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that Indiana HS basketball produces a lot of great players and a few are going to Michigan. So the question is what is Crean standing up for? If it is him venting at Meyer doing his job as a recruiter? I am sure that is exactly why Meyer is on the staff. So now IU fans are proud of their coach taunting in victory? If the players started acting like their coach would they be proud of them also? Or is this behavior only allowed to be done by the role model? And yes it is a big deal because it happened and it made the national news. That is the price of being a high profile person. If the President of the US gives the Premier of China the public finger because he is upset with unfair tariffs it is the same thing. There is a degree of professionalism expected in the public spotlight unless it is WWF :)
                • Doesn't Matter
                  Edmond, the back side of the story is not relevant. Crean should be above discussing anything with an assistant coach from another team. Especially after having beat that team.
                • Biased Reporting
                  Anyone that knows a Schoettle knows that they are avid IU haters. Anthony - do you know the word for word full conversation between Crean and Meyer? No? Well, then you have no basis for saying anything about it. Crean very well may have been in the wrong but I don't know the full context. Neither do you. If his emotional response was warranted, then I like to think that people are true to themselves whether the cameras are rolling or not. I don't a public politcal correctness charade. So again, the real question what was the full conversation. If you don't know then zip it, hater.
                  • Drama Queen
                    "But the apology won't erase all the damage he did." All the damage? Really? I can't think of any damage outside of the minds of the media shock jock bubble.
                  • Still Doesn't Matter
                    Mark, you still don't get it. No emotional response is warranted by Tom Crean. He needed to be the bigger man and he missed his opportunity. What was said earlier has no impact on how Crean should have handled himself. Someone in Crean's position has to know better than to engage in a verbal battle when television cameras nearby, pretty simple.
                  • That smile...
                    What about that goofy smile Crean had on his face as he was being led off by his assistant? That tells me he wanted to get in the guys face, maybe to the point of it being planned. That smile was not of a man upset. That smile was of a man satisfied he did the deed. I've been watching Big10/B1G basketball for 35 years and I've never seen anything like that whole episode. Strange indeed. Creepy Crean! And Antony...glad you have thick skin.
                  • IU's Crean
                    I could disagree with you more. Frankly, i am pleased that he feels as strongly as he does and had the courage to say it. What pleases me more is that he had the immediately thought to apologize.
                  • Putting Sports Figures on Pedastals
                    When will we learn that we need to NOT fall in love with sports figures because of their athletic success? Woods, Armstrong, McGuire, etc. Stop defending Crean. Call it like it is and maybe he will think twice next time before he gets out of hand like so many others. If we don't, we will find out sooner or later that there is actually a pattern to his behavior.
                  • Facts please
                    The media are always hungry for something out of the ordinary. You rarely see the good things reported. I'd like to hear the whole story. And I'm guessing Meyer said something to trigger Crean's response. If it was go f*** yourself I have no problem with what Crean said. But Crean may have started it. Again, get the facts.
                  • what wrong
                    This is what exactly what is wrong with the media in sports today. They dwell on the insignificant in an attempt to create controversy where there is none. Give the guy a break.
                  • Lighten up, dude.
                    This article epitomizes why I rarely bother with sports journalism. The truth is that even gentlemen let their hair down from time to time. I see the comment being more adrenaline-based than anything else, and after an ending like that, whose adrenaline wouldn't be spiked? Like the other commenter said, give him a break.

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