The state of IU athletics – challenging times ‘Full plate’ remains for veteran athletic director.
<i>This is the final of a five-part series from an interview with Indiana University athletic director Fred Glass about the state Indiana University athletics. </i><br>
Fred Glass didn’t take Indiana’s athletic director job to bask in status quo.
He wanted to make a difference at his alma mater, and sometimes that means firing off enough ideas to rival the joke onslaught in the movie, Airplane, which was big when he was a Hoosier student.
The basic concept — you might not like all of them, but enough will work to make a difference.
That’s crucial amid the turmoil of a rapidly changing college landscape.
How challenging is that? Glass addressed that, and more, while meeting with The News-Sentinel last week for an annual assessment of the state of the athletic program.
This is the fifth in a multi-part series. <br>
<center> WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE AS AN ATHLETIC DIRECTOR AND HAS THAT CHANGED SINCE TAKING THE JOB IN 2009? </center><br>
The biggest challenge when I started was, not knowing what the hell I was supposed to be doing. Some of my critics might suggest that hasn’t changed.
I feel I’ve learned a lot and have a much better grasp of the nuts and bolts of it. The toughest job is doing all the things we need to do and stay in the black financially. The university appropriately expects us to be financially independent. We get no money from the university. We get no subsidy from the university. We get no money from the General Assembly. We get no student fee. That’s as it should be.
That makes it incumbent upon us to fund raise and sell sponsorships and tickets and hot dogs and parking places to meet all the needs we have. When you’re 13th out of 14 in the (Big Ten) market in which you compete, that’s hard.
Last year, on an $88 million budget, we finished in the black by like $16,000. We are working really hard to get everything we need to get done within our resources. We’re one of only a handful or two handfuls of schools that really do that. I’m proud of that. It’s probably one of the hardest things we do. <br>
<center> WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF IN YOUR TIME AS ATHLETIC DIRECTOR? </center><br>
I’m most proud of the Student Athlete Bill of Rights (its main points are the full cost of a scholarship will be paid, a four-year scholarship commitment regardless of injury or performance, and a commitment to pay for the schooling of an athlete who leaves early to pursue a pro career or because of a family emergency). I’m pleased that we’re able to be financially independent, but that doesn’t make your blood boil with passion. Like I told the president when I was applying for the job, I asked him if his commitment to excellence that he has for teaching and research and re-establishing Indiana as an international player extended to athletics. I can make sure the pots don’t boil over, but I want to move out. I want to be on the cutting edge.
I’m proud to be able to stay in the black, but what I like is Indiana being able to stay on the forefront of things, like the Student Athlete Bill of Rights and the Hoosiers for Life degree guarantee program. The innovations we’ve done in providing nutrition. Using our student athletic advisory committee as a full partner in the administration of the department.
I’m most proud of the fact Indiana University is a very student-centered department. <br>
<center> BEFORE YOU LEAVE AS ATHLETIC DIRECTOR, DO YOU HAVE A HOLY GRAIL OF GOALS TO ACCOMPLISH? </center><br>
There are things you control and things you can’t. Hopefully the things I can control lead to things I can’t control. To be a little less opaque, if we proceed with finishing the facility campaign and build out, which would mean spending a quarter of a billion dollars in the last 10 years on facilities, if we continue to inculcate the spirit of Indiana 24 Sports One Team, the tenants of what that means to our kids, if we don’t lose momentum on being on the forefront of the Student Athlete Bill of Rights and things like Hoosiers For Life, then those things that are generally in our control will lead to things not in our control, which is laying claim to a new golden age of Indiana University athletics. That we can hang that sixth (basketball national championship) banner. That football wins a division and Big Ten title. That swimming and diving and track and field take their rightful places as preeminent programs in the country. That all of our programs have that kind of success. <br>
<center><br> LONG-TIME PURDUE ATHLETIC DIRECTOR MORGAN BURKE RECENTLY RETIRED. HOW LONG DO YOU TO STAY IN THIS JOB? </center><br>
I think Morgan is like 87 years old (he laughs). Moran got a special dispensation to stay like 20 years beyond the retirement age. I like to tease Morgan because we went to the same high school (Indianapolis Brebeuf) and grew up in the same neighborhood. He is older than me.
I’m 57. I’d like this to be the last gig I have. I’d like to do it till I’m 65. You never know. Things happen. Things happen to athletic directors. Sometimes it’s in your control. Sometimes it’s not. I came to peace with that before I took the job, realizing that something that could have been or should have been in my control, or that wasn’t, could lead to me being asked to do something else.
Assuming that doesn’t happen, I’d like this to be the last real gig I have. I love Indiana University. It’s sports, it’s college, it’s kids. What’s not to like?
I have an agenda. I haven’t lost energy or ambition on what I want to get done. I know time goes fast. That’s why I’ve been aggressive in what we’ve tried to get done.
This is kind of jolting to me – if I stay till I’m 65, then I’m halfway done to how long I’ve been here. That re-energizes me to be aggressive and try to get things done. Hopefully I look back that it was time well spent, and position Indiana to be successful moving forward. <br>
<center> ARE YOU UNDER A 65-YEAR-OLD MANDATORY RETIREMENT POLICY? </center><br>
I think Indiana traditionally had a 65-year-old automatic retirement. I’m not sure if that’s still in place. That’s about the right time. Who knows? We’ll see. I have a full plate of things I want to get done. <br>