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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Indiana University President Michael McRobbie sent a tough message to the athletic department this week: It's time for Hoosiers athletes to shape up or they may be on their way out.
On Wednesday, athletic director Fred Glass' annual football kickoff luncheon was upended by growing consternation over an 18-month series of legal issues involving football and men's basketball players. The most recent chapter occurred over the weekend when two basketball players were arrested for illegal possession of an alcoholic beverage, raising the ire of fans, administrators and McRobbie.
"I want to see the world-class accomplishments of our faculty and students celebrated, as well as the accomplishments of our student-athletes," McRobbie told the coaches Tuesday. "What I do not want to see is any more stories of repeated student misbehavior. They embarrass the university, they embarrass all of you in athletics and they are a complete distraction from our primary role as an educational institution. This misbehavior simply has to stop."
Glass concurs and said he delivered a similar message in a similar tone.
Since the troubles first began with the arrest of former basketball player Hanner Mosquera-Perea on an drunken-driving charge in February 2014, basketball coach Tom Crean has dealt with players accused of using fake identification, underage drinking and failing drug tests.
The most serious incident occurred on Halloween night when Emmitt Holt ran into Devin Davis, a teammate, with his car. Davis sustained a brain injury and missed the entire season. Police later determined Holt was not at fault because Davis jumped in front of the car, and that both players had been drinking even though neither was of legal age.
Afterward, Crean talked about making sure his players understood "there's nothing normal about being a college athlete." Yet the problems have persisted.
In May, Davis and Mosquera-Perea were kicked off the team after Davis was cited by campus police for marijuana possession. Mosquera-Perea was with Davis but was not cited.
Last weekend, the 19-year-old Holt and 18-year-old Thomas Bryant, a freshman, were cited by Indiana State Excise Police. According to the police report, each was trying to conceal a bottle of vodka while sitting in the passenger seats of a parked car. No action has been taken against either player yet.
"Tom and I have clearly spoken since the situation came up Friday," Glass said without divulging details of their conversation.
It's not just the basketball team, either.
In April, defensive lineman Ralph Green III was arrested after allegedly slapping a 20-year-old woman. He was charged with misdemeanor battery, public intoxication and disorderly conduct and was suspended from the team. Green returned to practice earlier this month.
Football coach Kevin Wilson also booted safety Antonio Allen off the team in June following an arrest for drug-dealing and drug possession. Allen, Indiana's leading tackler in 2014, has since transferred to Indiana State. Sycamores coach Mike Sanford said last week that Allen will redshirt next season in part to deal with his legal battle.
"Our student-athletes act as role models for students across campus and representatives of IU to the world beyond," McRobbie said. "They should embody Hoosier values of hard work, dignity and respect. All of us must play by the rules, whether those of the law or those of the game."
During the luncheon, Glass stressed the importance of embracing the Hoosiers' football history and celebrating the anniversary of the 1945 Big Ten title team. But Indiana hasn't played in a bowl game since 2007, is picked to finish last in the Big Ten East and there's a major construction project on one of the most traveled roadways between Indianapolis and Bloomington.
Besides, what fans really want to know is how quickly Glass can clean things up.
"We're giving this the serious and sober attention that it deserves," Glass said, referring to last weekend's incident. "We're taking it very seriously and we'll have more to say on that later."
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