Fred Glass didn’t feel that IU was wronged when the Big Ten changed a rule to award the East Division title to Ohio State in 2020.
But he did believe it was enough of a slight that the conference needed to have Indiana’s back when postseason invitations were awarded soon thereafter.
The wounds are likely still fresh enough that you don’t need a primer on the details, but here is a quick one. Ohio State finished the Big Ten 5-0, while Indiana went 6-1, with that lone loss coming in Columbus. The Big Ten’s newly instated pandemic rule required that a team play six games to be eligible to play in the league championship game, so by default, Indiana was your Big Ten East champ. It was a technicality that stood for a day.
“It was a pandemic rule, it wasn’t like an 80-year rule, Ohio State beat us on the field, and so they should have done that,” Glass told Robert Vane on the Leaders and Legends podcast this week. “IU took the high road, didn’t complain about that and excepted that as I thought they should have.
“But I sort of thought the conference owed us one a little bit.”
If the Big Ten, or anyone else for that matter, owed IU something, they didn’t deliver.
And that is when a frustrated Glass came to realize that someone had to speak out on behalf of IU — and that he was the person uniquely positioned to take a stand.
Glass had retired from his AD post effective June 30, 2020, so by December when bowl invitations came out he was not affiliated with the school while still a highly recognizable name who was emotionally invested.
As IU was passed over by the CFP, and then the New Year’s Six, and then ultimately the Citrus Bowl, Glass tipped, and spilled his thoughts on the college football world. That day he released a brief statement expressing frustration with the college football power structure. This week he expanded on what drove him to do it.
“And then the College Football Playoff Committee doesn’t put us in the New Year’s Six, and then to add insult to injury we get passed over for the Citrus Bowl by Northwestern, and all of this stuff was very hierarchical and it was really out of whack to have Northwestern jump over us,” Glass told Vane.
“And we were the first year in the College Football Playoff era when two Big Ten teams hadn’t made the playoffs, and I submit that if the second place team had wings on their helmets, or Hawkeyes on their helmets, or nothing on their helmets like Penn State, they would have made it. But because there was an interlocking IU on the helmet, you know, good ole IU gets left out, in part I think because of the powers that be, that power structure, the good-ole-boy network had a vested interest in IU not being good at football.
“They liked it when we were an automatic “W” and they liked it when they could come in here and take our best players, they liked it when we weren’t a player in national recruiting, and so forth. And my successor (Scott Dolson) couldn’t say that or shouldn’t say that, and Tom Allen couldn’t say that or shouldn’t say that, but I was sort of uniquely positioned where I wasn’t connected to IU but I had a certain amount of credibility, so I thought I needed to speak out, not to vent my spleen, it wasn’t a fit of pique, but it was strategic like, ‘this needs to be called out’ because I didn’t want the conference and the college football playoff group and the ADs to say ‘we kind of screw Indiana and they are just not going to say anything about it.'”
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