Thanks for dedication and hard work
Thank you, Fred [Glass].
I am pleased to be back to speak to you again.
Let me begin by thanking all of you for your dedication and for all the hard work that you have put in to make the IU athletic program and its student-athletes so successful in the year that has passed since I last spoke to you.
Your dedication and support—and the dedication of the faculty members who serve on the IU Bloomington Campus Athletics Committee, including committee chair David Daleke and IU Faculty Athletics Representative Kurt Zorn—allow our students to thrive both on the field and in the classroom.
And they certainly are thriving. This has been a remarkable year for IU Athletics, highlighted by many accomplishments that are familiar to many of you. But I would like to review some of the major accomplishments today, because when seen in their totality, the full impact of what an outstanding year it was for IU Athletics becomes all the more impressive.
A banner year for IU Athletics
The IU football team began the season 4-0 for the first time since 1990; won the Old Oaken Bucket for the third consecutive year; and made its first post-season bowl appearance since 2007—playing Duke in the Pinstripe Bowl in Yankee Stadium.
The men’s basketball team won the Big Ten Championship outright for the second time in four years and reached the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament. The team had a perfect record in Assembly Hall and finished the season ranked ninth in the final USA Today Coaches’ Poll. Yogi Ferrell concluded his IU career as one of the most decorated players in program history. And, of course, Coach Tom Crean was named the Big Ten Conference Coach of the Year for men’s basketball.
Women’s basketball also had an outstanding year with an undefeated home record and a fourth place finish in the Big Ten—after being ranked 12th in the conference in preseason polls. The team made the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2002 and earned the program’s first NCAA tournament win in 33 years. And, of course, Coach Teri Moren was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year for women’s basketball.
And more recently, the entire world has witnessed the magnificent performances of IU’s Olympians. Fifteen current or former IU student-athletes (representing seven countries) competed in the Rio Olympics—the most IU athletes to compete in the Olympics in 36 years.
The eight medals earned by IU students and alumni—five of them gold—constitutes one of Indiana University’s best Olympic performances ever and its best since 1972 (when Mark Spitz won seven medals).
IU ranked eighth among all American universities in terms of the number of medals won. (We ranked behind Stanford, Cal, USC, Florida, Texas, Georgia, and UCLA.)
IU won 40 percent more gold medals in Rio alone than Purdue has won in 104 years of Olympic competition.
If IU were an independent nation, it would have finished 18th in the Rio Olympics total medal count, and would rank 25th in all-time Olympic gold medals and 36th in all-time total Olympic medals.
Seven of the eight medals won this year by IU students and alumni, of course, were won by IU’s swimmers and divers—sports in which IU has a long tradition of excellence. But no IU swimmer had represented the United States in the Olympics in 40 years. This year, we had three swimmers who collectively won five medals, four of which were gold. Lilly King, the Big Ten Swimmer of the Year—was the first IU swimmer in 40 years, regardless of country, to win an individual Olympic gold medal.
Our dedicated coaches—Drew Johansen and Ray Looze—have returned IU swimming and diving to the elite level it maintained in the 1960s and ’70s. And fittingly, they also represented IU in Rio, serving respectively as the head diving coach and the assistant women’s swimming coach for Team USA.
This success in the pool in Rio comes on the heels of an excellent year for IU’s swimmers and divers. Coach Looze, of course, was named Big Ten Coach of the Year for both men’s and women’s swimming. The IU men won 17 medals at the Big Ten Championships and finished second overall. They went on to place ninth at the NCAA Championships, finishing as the top Big Ten team at the event for the first time since 1978. The women’s swimming and diving team finished second at the Big Ten Championships, and seventh at the NCAA Championships, the program’s best showing in NCAA Championship history.
We are all proud of the success these student-athletes have had in competition. But we are also proud of their success in the classroom.
IU had 67 students who earned GPAs of 3.7 or better and were named Big Ten Distinguished Scholars for 2015-2016. That number is 14 more than one year ago—and 12 more than our in-state rival to the north.
And in June, the Big Ten announced that 118 IU students across 10 spring sports had been named to the Academic All-Conference team. That is the largest number of IU student athletes to be named to the Big Ten Academic All-Conference team in IU history.
These outstanding numbers are testament to the quality of our students and to the dedication of the members of the staff of IU Athletics, who stand behind the success of our student-athletes.
Time demands on student athletes
As many of you know, the NCAA governance structure was revised to allow the five most powerful conferences autonomy in certain legislative areas. This has resulted in the passage of a number of important initiatives, including allowing scholarships to cover the cost of attendance and guaranteed scholarships for four years. More recently, the attention of the five “autonomy conferences” has been on striking the correct balance between the time demands placed on student-athletes by their sport and the time they have to devote to their academics, extracurricular activities, and leisure.
At the end of April, I was part of a group of Presidents and Chancellors from the five conferences who met in Dallas—along with athletic directors, senior women administrators, faculty athletics representatives, studentvathletes, and staff—to develop principles that provide the framework for the drafting of time demands legislation for consideration by the five autonomy conferences at the 2017 NCAA convention. I am pleased that early drafts of legislation have been prepared that incorporate these principles by requiring each of the member institutions of the five autonomy conferences to:
- Develop a student-athlete time management plan that will provide student-athletes with adequate notice of all athletically related activities throughout the year. This should enable student-athletes to better manage their time so they can have a more well-rounded student experience.
- Provide a true “day off” for student-athletes during their playing season where no athletically related activities can be scheduled.
- Ensure student-athletes have an eight-hour period each day, between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., where there are no athletics-related required activities scheduled, and
- Provide 21 days off during the academic year in addition to the weekly-required days off during and outside of the playing season, an initiative being referred to as “Flex 21.”
Clearly, there will be a lot of discussion of this draft legislation within and among the five conferences in the upcoming months. I anticipate that these discussions will result in the five autonomy conferences, during the 2017 NCAA convention, enthusiastically approving significant changes in legislation that will favorably impact the time demands placed on our student-athletes.
Let me add, in conclusion, a few remarks about our student body.
As you know, a new academic year began yesterday. Our incoming class—the Bicentennial Class of 2020—is the most academically qualified and one of the most diverse freshman classes in IU history.
Indiana University students, including, of course, those who participate in intercollegiate athletics, are arriving and returning to Bloomington during turbulent and tumultuous times. A polarizing presidential election, heightened attention to race relations, and rising international tensions—among other divisive social issues—create challenges for all of us, but particularly for the students under our charge. As coaches, staff, and administrators, you are their educators, no less so than the faculty on campus. As such, it is your responsibility—as well as mine and other university faculty and staff—to help our students find and express their voices on these issues in an open, yet responsible way. A university must be a place that encourages freedom of expression whereby our students explore, challenge, and speak out about issues of the day. At the same time, we must help them do so in a manner constructive for both themselves as individuals and for Indiana University, the institution they represent. I ask you to continue to help our students express themselves consistent with the call of The Spirit of Indiana to play by the rules; to represent IU with passion, appreciation, respect and distinction; to be positive, responsible, inclusive, and integrated with our university; and to be a part of something bigger than themselves.
Thank you again for all of your hard work, and working together with you, I look forward to continuing the great progress that IU Athletics has made.
And go, IU!