I remember the fall of my senior year in high school when I was beginning to prepare myself for going to college. I had just turned eighteen the previous summer and was studying for the SAT. During my time studying for the SAT, I began to limit my choices on which college I would attend. A few weeks later after taking the SAT I had my college decisions narrowed down to Xavier University, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, and Indiana University.
I ended up choosing Indiana University because the school was close to my hometown of Terre Haute, Indiana, and the most cost-effective of my choices. I knew I made a great decision to come to Indiana University because of it being a great school, but also by having great athletic programs.
In the fall of 2007, I knew I was going to school with a powerful football and basketball program. That year the Hoosiers football team had many accomplishments such as beating Purdue, completing a winning season, and a bowl game berth. Not only did the Hoosiers have a great season, they had great players like James Hardy. I had an optimistic feeling about becoming a Hoosier and attending football games the next fall.
That same academic year, Indiana University was looking forward to a great basketball season with new coach Kelvin Sampson. Sampson had done a great job recruiting top high school basketball players who had the skill to take Indiana University to the Final Four. The team was loaded with great athletes like Eric Gordon, DJ White, Armon Bassett, and many others. Even back at home there was a great feeling that the Hoosiers would have a great season.
During the 2007-2008 basketball season the Hoosiers did a good job with conference and non-conference games. It wasnâ€™t until February of 2008 when things began to go downhill. A NCAA investigation caught coach Kelvin Sampson doing illegal recruiting through conference calling potential recruits. Sampson resigned, then interim coach Dan Dakich took over the head coaching position. With the team in turmoil, the Hoosiers ended up losing in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
After the deconstruction of the basketball team in early 2008, things got worse in the months that followed. Eric Gordon declared he was entering the NBA draft, and players like Bassett and Jordan Crawford transferred to other schools. A good thing to come out of the situation was the hiring of Tom Crean, former coach of Marquette.
So here I am with the rest of IUâ€™s freshman class of 2008 coming to a university where two of its most known programs are going downhill. I remember coming in as a freshman to find out that the costs for season tickets for both football and basketball were at an all-time low.Â The students of Indiana University that came in 2008 and will graduate in 2012 have seen the darkest days in IU athletics.
For the graduating class of 2012, we have had a college experience very different of those who went to Indiana University before us. The students who attended IU before had the great opportunity of having a winning season in either football or basketball (and sometimes both). The IU class of 2012 has yet to have a winning season in either sport, and I personally feel that the university owes us an apology. This is not what I intended my college experience to be — as the laughingstock of the Big Ten in those sports.
As we enter the 2011 football season, it seems that the ongoing trend of losing will continue for this year. So far in this football season, the Hoosiers have lost two games that were supposed to be guaranteed wins. Schools like Ball State and Virginia are teams who we schedule the first games just so we can start the season on a good note. With loses coming against both of those teams, it makes me wonder how bad the season will go once we start playing Big Ten teams.
Indiana University has hired quality coaches Kevin Wilson and Tom Crean who have come from great programs of their respective sports. The only bad thing about the hiring of these coaches is that it takes time for them to implement their systems.Â So I see the beginning of these programs as a going away present to the graduating seniors of the class of 2012. As we leave Indiana University we have to spend our last year here watching these coaches experiment during a pair of probable losing seasons.
Even with the bad experience of being a sports fan while attending this school, I have great hope for the future, as both coaches are landing top high school recruits. As the IU class of 2012 begins to launch our careers, so will the football and basketball begin to launch Hoosier athletics into the great traditions of IU sports. When we come back to visit as alumni I hope to see that the dark days of IU athletics were left in the past.
As a last remark, I hope the class of 2012 will come back to Indiana University in 2016 to see that the school is in a completely different situation than before. I hope that four years is enough time to develop both programs into powerhouses that IU alumni will be proud to claim. So for all the students that will be here in 2016, donâ€™t be surprised when the class of 2012 is back for every home game. We will be in strong attendance.
Please donâ€™t be mad when we take your seats. Just take it as paying homage to those whoâ€™ve been waiting way too long to have a part of the great athletic tradition of Indiana.