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By LARRY VAUGHT
Indiana athletics director Fred Glass has apologized for the behavior by some Indiana fans when the Hoosiers beat Kentucky 73-72 Dec. 10 on a last-second shot that led to fans storming the court.
Vaughtsviews.com reader Juan Perez sent an e-mail to Indiana University president Michael A. McRobbie noting that â€œin all my 40 years, I have never heard of a fanbase or a community treat another the way IU and Bloomington treated Kentucky fans.â€
Perez said he had been to numerous venues for game and never been subjected to treatment like what he read about, including the story here on Megan Dills being knocked down after the game and tearing ankle tendons â€” a story that eventually made national headlines because sheâ€™s a Playboy model and had to cancel a photo shoot because of her injury.
Hereâ€™s part of what he sent to McRobbie:
â€œI have walked all over campus during game week at the University of Louisville decked out in Kentucky blue. I have never not even once had a situation that would make me not want to visit or attend a game at any of those places again. All of those places (where he has been to games) exuded a welcoming, good nature and warm spirit. Quite often I have come away with a few new friends that I will always remember as a great part of my trip,â€ Perez wrote. â€œBut I have heard no stories that reflect well on Indiana.Â I will tell you this, no amount of down years and now on the rise excuses can make up for the deplorable, nasty, horrid way that your students and fans treated a visiting fan base.Â There are certain things that are acceptable and anyone with common sense knows what is not.
â€œI really hope that someone who reads this cares enough to address your fan base. I have never been so disgusted with an entire university and fanbase for allowing and encouraging this type of treatment of others. What has taken place, and on the scale that it has taken place, is deplorable. Things happen when fans get together, but not on this scale.â€
Glass, Indianaâ€™s vice-president and director of intercollegiate athletics, responded to Perez Friday in this e-mail:
â€œI am writing to apologize for the unacceptable behavior by IU â€˜fansâ€™ that you describe. Thank you for bringing these troubling events to our attention. I want to assure you that we take this matter very seriously. I have directed our staff to issue additional security alerts and to promptly deal with fans that harass or intimidate fans of the visiting school. We have also directed our staff to be on active look out for fans acting in a belligerent or intimidating manner toward people wearing our opponentsâ€™ school colors.
â€œAgain, thank you for bringing these serious issues to our attention. Hoosiers pride themselves on their hospitality, and I often receive letters from opposing fans commending our fans and staff for their sportsmanship and friendliness. That is why the behavior you describe is all the more unacceptable. Please know that as result of your note, very strong steps are being taken to try to prevent it happening again.â€
Again, I did see IUâ€ˆstaff at the game trying to stop the vulgar chants and try to control the crowd after the game with no success. Iâ€™ve also been to plenty of Kentucky-Indiana games where there were no issues and as I wrote after the game until students started jumping over the press seat where I was to leap to the floor level I had a great time conversing with the students around me.
But many UK fans who attended the game have related horror stories and Glass is not denying there was a problem, and I give him credit for that.
â€œI had kind of hoped that maybe they would institute an initiative that fosters a warm spirit and welcoming attitude. Pride and class in their own fan base. One step at a time I guess,â€ Perez said.
One step indeed, but a big step by the Indiana athletics director to acknowledge there was a problem. Now weâ€™ll see if Indiana fans that hammered UK fans for citing the unruly behavior will take Glass to task, too.