Mark Cuban’s money is not walking through that door.
Many believe IU coach Archie Miller’s contract buyout is the most significant impediment to firing him. And because he is the most famous wealthy Indiana graduate they know of, fans reflexively spit out Cuban’s out name as the answer to that financial hurdle.
But Indiana’s most famous billionaire alumnus is on the record. Although he is a passionate fan, there will be no Cuban intervention. He playfully jabbed at the fan base that he considers himself a part of last week in an interview.
“Let me tell you about IU fans,” Cuban told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “What I love most is that every single one of us is a coach. They know basketball better than any coach IU has ever had.”
If he is being honest, Cuban would acknowledge there is one coach who Indiana fans might concede knows a bit more about basketball than they do.
Cuban attended Indiana during the golden age for the basketball program. He graduated in 1981, the same year that the Hoosiers won their fourth national title, and the second by legendary coach Bob Knight.
Cuban’s billions came primarily from his passion for IU basketball. Prior to the internet he would have friends in Indiana put Don Fischer’s radio broadcast up to a speakerphone so he could listen to the games from Dallas. In 1995 Todd Wagner came to Cuban with the concept of broadcasting sporting events over the internet. Four years later their company sold for more than $5 billion.
Now Indiana fans reach out to Cuban and ask him to share some of that wealth whenever things aren’t going well.
“Whenever there is a bad game I get emails from Hoosiers telling me I should buy out the coach because they would have run a better side out of bounds play than [insert the coach’s name here] did,” Cuban told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “This has been going on for almost 20 years.”
The billionaire from Miller’s hometown of Pittsburgh has been more than generous when it comes to sharing his fortune with his alma mater. He donated $5 million to create a first-of-its-kind, cutting-edge, student-focused video, broadcasting and technology center in 2015. The Mark Cuban Center for Sports Media Technology is housed within the home of IU basketball at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.
“Whatever I give to IU, it will only be a fraction of what Indiana University gave to me,” Cuban said at the time of his gift.
But when it comes to his alma mater, don’t expect Cuban’s cash hoard to be directed towards anything other than what he deems to be worthy philanthropic endeavors.
Many schools around the country have wealthy alumni who are more than willing to write checks to fund coaching changes. Cuban is of course not the only wealthy IU basketball fan, just perhaps the best known. While the roughly $10 million buyout seems like insurmountable money to many, it is a rounding error to some.
But the cash won’t be coming from Cuban’s couch cushions.
“I don’t get involved in it at all. I’m here for Coach Miller to help him, not replace him,” Cuban said. “This is a crazy year across the board and I love IU and IU Basketball, but I also am not one to panic.”
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