Is it the University of Colorado or Colorado University? Washington? Mississippi? West Virginia? Missouri?
Maybe you know some of those, maybe you know all of them. If so, congratulations.
If we are being intellectually honest here, if you knew, were you sure about your answers?
And did you know them all as a 15 or 16 year old?
Apparently that is the standard that some Indiana fans require of the school’s recruiting targets.
A recurring chain of events plays out on a near daily basis on Twitter.
An IU recruiting target, typically from out-of-state, announces that he or she has received an offer from “The University of Indiana.”
And there is an element of the Indiana fan base that just cannot seem to help themselves.
Congrats but it’s Indiana University!!
— Kyle Howard (@KyleNHoward61) November 7, 2019
“It’s Indiana University!”
“Indiana University not university of Indiana smh”
That’s the G-rated stuff. It can get much worse.
Not exactly the best way for the IU fan base to introduce themselves to a potential out-of-state recruit.
“But it’s IU!” How can they not get that right?
For the most part these are kids from Georgia or Florida or some other region of the country where “IU” is not part of the vernacular. They have heard of Indiana football, but generally speaking “IU” is just not a shorthand reference that most people outside of the state or region are familiar with.
Football scholarship offers are unique.
With massive rosters and offers that are both committable and non-committable, it isn’t uncommon for staffs to issue several offers in one day. Often there is not a long standing relationship involved, but instead an offer is more of a “hey, let’s get to know each other.”
And you can get to know our great fans too!
Would it be nice if a prospect took the time to look up the proper name of the school before taking to social media? Of course it would.
But militantly expecting that level of diligence from a teenager might just be a bit over the top. Maybe? Again, even an ounce of intellectual honesty should lead you back to your own relatively insignificant gaffes as a teen.
One well known Hoosier made the mistake on a much larger stage.
The date was September 15, 1973, and an enthusiastic young broadcaster was making his debut on the IU radio network.
As fate would have it, Illinois native Don Fischer’s first game as the voice of IU football came against the team he grew up rooting for — Illinois.
The University of Illinois, to be precise.
And it didn’t take long for Fischer to get his wires crossed.
“Literally, in the opening (before the game started), I called it the University of Indiana,” Fischer said recently on a podcast.
It wouldn’t be the only time that Fischer belted out the unforgivable phrase that afternoon.
“I not only did it there, but I called it the University of Indiana two or three more times during the first half of the broadcast,” Fischer said.
Just like a Tweet, things went viral quickly.
But Fischer continued on unaware.
“They couldn’t get through to me in the first half, but at halftime our Sports Information Director came down and he said ‘just so you know, your radio station has called and they said that the phone lines there have lit up like a Christmas tree,'” Fischer recalled.
Fischer thought he might be packing up and joining the visiting team on the bus ride back to his home state after the game.
“I thought Good Lord I’m going to be fired after the first game,” he said.
But Fischer figured it out.
In 47 years on the job, he hasn’t made the same mistake twice.
“It’s never happened since. But I can tell you that it was pretty embarrassing to say the least,” Fischer said.
It is safe to say that Hoosier fans have forgiven their beloved play-by-play man.
Perhaps those same fans could look the other way when a young, impressionable teen proudly announces that the University of Indiana has offered?
Eventually, like Don Fischer, they will figure it out.
Probably even well before their first game for old IU.
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