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SPORTS: Lamentations-and a recommendation-for old IU

July 7, 2008

Adam Herbert, who may go down as the sorriest presidential hire in the history of the Big Ten, is nowhere to be seen, those velvety crimson jumpsuits disappearing about the same time Sampson was shown the door. Certain members among the IU trustees-who so violated the trust part of their duties, first in hiring Herbert and then in bringing in Sampson-are not about to step up and take responsibility for their actions.

I guess it will all come out some day in a book.

I just set myself up for that one.

The latest chapter (pun intended) is the news that Athletic Director Rick Greenspan is not only resigning at the end of the year-this in the wake of the NCAA's latest charge of "failure to properly monitor" the basketball program-but will leave with a $400,000 parting gift and the negotiated rights to a book he'll presumably write somewhere down the road.

Lovely.

Don't get me wrong. I'm eager to hear his side of the story. But he should tell it now instead of pouring out his troubled soul to Simon & Schuster.

I actually liked Greenspan and thought he was doing a good job in a number of areas. I continued to support him after the initial allegations involving Sampson because I had reason to believe Sampson was forced down his throat by Herbert and some trustees. Now I'm only left to conclude that he's no better than the rest ... bungling his job and his responsibilities but walking away with a big fat check, certainly enough to live on until the royalties roll in.

And could someone please 'splain to me, Lucy, why he gets to hang around Assembly Hall until Dec. 31?

In the words of Gene Keady, what in the hell is going on?

As an aside, have you noticed how neatly Purdue has handled its major transitions-Stephen Beering to Martin Jischke to France Cordova; Keady to Matt Painter; Joe Tiller to Danny Hope?

Boiler Up. IU Down.

Back to McRobbie. I have met him only once, briefly. Many whose opinions I highly respect believe he will be an outstanding president who already has begun to make significant contributions in areas that really matter. You know, like education, research and fund raising.

But for the moment, it seems he'll be defined only by his ability to raise the athletic department off the ocean floor and restore the faith and trust that has been shattered.

I'm told McRobbie will not be dictated to, and I will not try-not that he gives a hoot about what I have to say, anyway.

But I will nonetheless champion as the next athletic director a man I first referred to in this space months ago: Indianapolis attorney Jack Swarbrick.

Not that it matters, but he's from Bloomington. He did his undergrad at the University of Notre Dame and got his law degree from Stanford University.

He's eloquent. He's brilliant. He knows college sports. He was a strong finalist for the NCAA presidency. Ohio State University looked at him long and hard as its AD. He's served in a leading role on several of NCAA President Myles Brand's task forces addressing intercollegiate athletics issues. Most recently, he joined Mark Miles as the genius behind Indianapolis' winning Super Bowl bid.

McRobbie needs someone he can trust to restore integrity to the athletic department so he can devote his time and effort to real presidential matters.

Swarbrick is the guy. There's no need for a search committee; he's right under the noses we've been holding.

And please, Dr. McRobbie, tell the trustees you're in charge of the new AD, and the new AD is in charge of athletics. Then get out of Swarbrick's way and let him clean up the mess.

For the tarnished Glory of Old IU, I beg you.



Benner is associate director of communications for the Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association and a former sports columnist for The Indianapolis Star. His column appears weekly. Listen to his column via podcast at www.ibj.com. He can be reached at bbenner@ibj.com. Benner also has a blog, www.indyinsights.com.
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