Dear Friend of Indiana University,
The thrilling return to national prominence of the Indiana University Hoosiers’ basketball program was evidenced by the tremendous success of the 2012–2013 season and a second consecutive trip to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament again this year. Coach Tom Crean, his staff and our players have made us all proud with their unwavering commitment to excellence and the exemplary way in which they have carried themselves in returning IU to a place among the elite programs in college basketball.
Among the team’s accomplishments are an outright Big Ten title (first since 1993), producing two Academic All-Americans (first since 1999) and two All-Americans (first since 2008), developing a national player of the year (first since 1993), and a second consecutive Sweet 16 appearance (first since 1994).
Basketball holds a special place in the hearts of Indiana residents and IU students, faculty, staff and alumni around the world and unites the entire IU community like nothing else. But at the same time, I am equally proud of the tremendous job the IU Athletics department does supporting our 590 varsity student-athletes across all 24 sports at IU Bloomington, and the way in which all our athletes so ably represent IU on the playing field, in the classroom and in the community.
Because of the important role Athletics plays in campus life and the dedication of our student athletes, Laurie and I successfully embarked on an effort to directly support all of our 24 sports by personally attending a competition and/or practice for each one of them. It has been a wonderful experience to see these phenomenal young people in action! Every event has its own unique culture and many of its own fans, but it is clear that through the culture created by Athletics, while we compete in 24 sports we truly are one team.
The past year has been filled with team championships, superb individual performances, noteworthy academic achievements and the opening of new world-class facilities for our athletes and their fans.
A few of the highlights—in addition to those of men’s basketball noted above—include men’s soccer’s eighth national championship (first since 2004), six Big Ten Athletes of the year (most in the conference), Derek Drouin’s national high jump championship, men’s soccer Coach Todd Yeagley being named national coach of the year, current first place in Men’s Capital One Cup standings (for best athletics program in the country), the openings of Bart Kaufman Field (baseball) and Andy Mohr Field (softball), and another victory over Purdue in the annual Crimson and Gold Cup competition. Other noteworthy accomplishments from the past year are provided in the 2012–2013 IU Athletics accomplishments summary, which I encourage you to peruse at your leisure.
While winning makes life more fun for all of us, the success of our athletics program has never been measured solely by the “on field” accomplishments. Equally important are the ways in which we uphold the virtues taught through athletics—fair play, teamwork, dedication and commitment to something larger than one’s self—and the lessons that athletics can teach our students.
By all those measures, IU Athletics is an unquestioned success. Director of Athletics Fred Glass has become fond of saying that he feels that IU is entering a new “golden age” of athletics, comparable to the 1970s and 1980s when our program was distinctive for its competitive success, its top-flight coaches and the caliber of students who were drawn to IU to compete.
Admittedly I am biased but I could not agree more with Fred’s assessment. Our recent competitive success is fueled by some of the finest coaches in the country who are committed to winning the right way, and who always put the needs of their student athletes first.
That commitment is being demonstrated in the classroom, where our athletes collectively earned a 3.1 grade point average for the 2011–2012 academic year with 243 of them being named Academic All-Big Ten for their efforts in the classroom. It is always clear that our athletes are first and foremost student athletes.
That type of success wouldn’t be possible without the outstanding work of IU’s academic support staff and the first-class academic facilities made available to all our athletes. We have significantly increased our tutoring budget to assist student-athletes over the past year and all our athletes now have access to the spacious D. Ames Shuel Academic Center at Memorial Stadium, which was dedicated last fall.
Finally, I would like to highlight a unique way in which IU’s athletics program is contributing to the academic mission of the university. Later this month, the university will break ground on what will become a stunning new building on the IU Bloomington campus to house our new School of Global and International Studies.
The building will be a wonderful addition to the arboretum area near the heart of campus—and about half of the funding for this vital new building is coming from IU’s share of Big Ten Network revenues. I am extremely proud to be able to say that Athletics, which already pays its own way at IU, also is playing a critical role in the future growth and success of the major new academic developments at the university.
As you can see, it has been an exciting, successful and most memorable year for IU Athletics, and I think the prospects are very bright for the future. As always, thanks to all our friends and alumni whose unwavering support makes IU’s sustained commitment to excellence possible.
Michael A. McRobbie