There’s another fierce rivalry brewing in the Big Ten.
The two are coming off a classic Sunday in Ann Arbor, but it was what happened immediately following the conclusion of the Hoosiers’ 72-71 win that added fuel to what you can expect to be an intense rivalry going forward.
Just after his team clinched the outright Big Ten Championship, IU coach Tom Crean decided to vent to Michigan assistant Jeff Meyer, bringing up the past when Meyer was in Bloomington as an assistant under former coach Kelvin Sampson.
An Indianapolis television station caught caught video of the incident.
Crean shouted, “You know what you did; you helped wreck our program.” Hoosier assistant Tim Buckley quickly pulled Crean away.
While the NCAA slapped IU with “major” recruiting violations under Sampson’s watch, Meyer’s violations were deemed “secondary” by the governing body and he was not punished.
During Indiana’s 2008 infractions hearing, Meyer said, “I have from day one acknowledge the mistakes I made, and I’ve taken personal responsibility for the wrongdoing. I apologize to Indiana University for my involvement in the matter, however limited.”
This morning during the Big Ten teleconference, John Beilein was asked about what transpired.
“I am not going to comment on another coach and another university,” Beilein said. “I am really proud of the way Jeff showed great poise in the aftermath of that loss.
“I will say Michigan will always win with class and lose with class.”
You’re exactly right Coach. There’s something to be said about being a good sport in both winning and losing.
Unfortunately Crean is getting a reputation for not being either. His very brief postgame handshakes have been analyzed under the ethical microscope for some time now.
To Crean’s credit, apparently after cooling off he realized his actions weren’t very classy.
So the IU coach called Meyer before the Hoosiers departed Ann Arbor.
“I talked to him on the telephone,” said Crean during today’s conference call. “We talked about some things, and I apologized. In retrospect, I wish I would have never addressed anything in the heat of the battle.”
Perhaps the apology came too little too late since the story has grown plenty of legs since and video of the altercation is making its rounds throughout social media.
A few interesting notes about the whole thing is had it not been for the Sampson fallout which led to IU’s program receiving NCAA sanctions and Sampson’s dismissal, Crean would not be at Indiana today.
Plus, the same Hoosier fans that Crean is so quick to applaud time and again for sticking with the program where cheering loudly for Sampson when he was getting Eric Gordon to decommit from Illinois and leading the Hoosiers to back-to-back 20-win seasons, including a 21-8 mark in the Big Ten. All the while, Hoosier Nation was ignoring all the rumblings of the laundry list of NCAA violations that were being committed behind the scenes.
Be that as it may, what would be terrific is if Michigan and Indiana met in the Big Ten Tournament this weekend.
And it’s going to happen once the Wolverines beat Penn State and Wisconsin and IU knocks off either Illinois or Minnesota. That will definitely be must-see TV on Saturday afternoon. Be sure to set the DVR if you can’t watch it live.
Doug Griffiths is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and the US Basketball Writers Association. Doug is a columnist/writer for RantSports. Follow him on Twitter @ISLgriffiths and Facebook.