Analysis: A need for more accountability

The bottom line in the recent troubles by Indiana University basketball is very simple: The message needs to be delivered that this kind of behavior is completely unacceptable. A four-game suspension -- with only two being regular season games -- isn't enough. Take away the non-conference season and you'll open a few eyes.

I purposely waited until Tuesday morning to pen my thoughts on the events of Monday night with the Indiana University basketball program.

There was the revelation late in the afternoon that Troy Williams and Stanford Robinson had been suspended, according to an ESPN.com report, for failure to pass multiple drug tests. Though apparently we learned later in remarks made by Fred Glass that those players have been dealing with the consequences of their actions for some time and the announcement of their suspensions was going to come down this week regardless.

Next there was confirmation of those suspensions by Tom Crean on his first weekly radio show of the season and his announcement that the players would be suspended for four games. He then added that Emmitt Holt, who was involved in the incident that left Devin Davis hospitalized on Saturday morning, would also be suspended for the first four games.

And then there were Crean’s comments on the show when asked some very direct questions by callers that quickly became the most tweeted about coach’s radio talk show in IU history. Everyone seemed to have a quick opinion about what was unfolding before their eyes and ears.

It was the exact scenario that moved Bob Knight to stop talking live calls on his radio show toward the end of his IU coaching career.

Bundle it up and It was a painful end of a day for anyone who cares about Indiana basketball.

It was a punch to the gut.

This was supposed to be the ugliness of IU basketball that the Hoosiers had put behind them with the three-year recovery period following the Kelvin Sampson fiasco.

This was supposed to be the continuation years from what guys like Jordan Hulls, Cody Zeller, Christian Watford, Derek Elston and Verdell Jones III had all resurrected a few years back.

This wasn’t supposed to happen again.

And yet here was the ugliness all playing out before our eyes once again.

Since February, IU basketball has now had six players who have been involved in either drug or alcohol-related incidents that we know about.

The roll call includes Hanner Mosquera-Perea, Yogi Ferrell, Stanford Robinson, Emmitt Holt, Devin Davis and Troy Williams. Go back a few more months and Jeremy Hollowell missed three games for what was termed “focus problems” but that time off was never officially clarified.

The point is that either almost half or just more than half of your 13 scholarship players in IU basketball have been involved in either drug or alcohol-related situations in less than a year. One of them, Robinson, is a two-time offender.

In reading everyone’s reaction to these latest events on social media, I’ve thought some of my colleagues have made some interesting points and others I think I have gone a little bit too far. But that’s the nature of times like this. I get that.

Here is where I come out.

When I heard that Williams and Robinson were going to be suspended for four games, I thought that was a better step in the right direction. I always believed the two-game suspension that Mosquera-Perea received could have carried a little more weight.

So four games, at the very least, was at least double that. But then I learned with others than it’s actually the two exhibition games and two regular season games. So in my opinion, it’s really a two-game suspension. And again I just don’t think that’s enough.

Indiana players need to be sent the message that this kind of behavior is completely unacceptable. And I just don’t think what amounts to a two-game regular season suspension is properly sending that message. Suspend a player or two for the entire non-conference season and you’ll get someone’s attention. If you don’t, then you can’t get their attention.

Add to it the fact that if they’re still on the team in the 2015-16 season they won’t be allowed to make the trip to Maui. They can sit at home in Bloomington Thanksgiving week that year. That would get someone’s attention. Two regular season games doesn’t do it.

That’s my biggest issue with what has transpired. Number one, the players need to grow up and take their responsibilities more seriously. No doubt about it. Indiana basketball cannot afford another one of these instances for a long, long time. No one will argue that point.

But number two, the penalties for getting in trouble need to be much more severe. Instead of two games, perhaps that number is six. And when it’s your second time in trouble since April, that’s when the hefty penalty needs to be handed out. That’s when a bigger message needs to be sent. And if there’s a third time, then it needs to be dismissal from the team.

This pattern of behavior needs to end today. Penalties need to be increased and IU basketball fans need to be able to enjoy and look forward to their favorite fall and winter pastime as they normally are doing this time of the year.

Follow Terry Hutchens at Twitter.com/Foxsportshutch

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