IU has finally wised up

And fired Bobby Knight…It’s about frigging time. The man cannot control his temper. Not a man I’d want my son to play for.

[MAJOR hijack]
So this guy dies abd goes to Heaven. He meets St. Peter at the Gates, and Peter welcomes him in. The guy asks if they have any sports in Heaven. Peter says “Sure, as a matter of fact there’s a basketball game starting in a couple of minutes. I’m off, care to join me?” Guy agrees, and they go to the game.
First thing that he notices is that instead of numbers, the players all have letters on their backs. ‘G’, ‘C’, or ‘F’.
The guy asks Peter, “What’s the deal with the letters?”

Peter replies that they are there so people who don’t know the game can follow it. The’G’ is for guard, ‘C’ is for center and ‘F’ is for forward.

The guy thinks about this for a minute, and comyinues watching the game, until he notices a guy on the sidelines with ‘BK’ on his shirt. He points him out to Peter, and asks “What’s the deal with that guy”.

Peter replies, “Oh, that’s judt God. He thinks He’s Bobby Knight.”

Heard that one in Bloomington, when I was a grad student there in the late eighties. Knight isn’t as beloved by the townies as he is by the college.

I’ve lived in Bloomington for almost 25 years now and I’m constantly amazed at how much slack they’ve given this guy and his behavior. Granted, he has done some charitable things in the past, but is that any excuse for his continuing bad conduct?

So what if a student says to him “Hey Knight! How’s it going?” or something along those lines? He could’ve just ignored it or told the kid to call him “Mr. Knight” or “Coach Knight” without having to resort to any physical contact. Whether he cussed at the student or not is beside the point. Nobody has the right to accost somebody like that over a what could be considered a minor social affront.

It’ll be a relief to see him gone once and for all.

Am I the only one who’s not surprised Knight violated the “zero-tolerance policy” only about a month after IU imposed it? The guy’s got serious anger-control problems.

To all those Knight supporters who claim he’s been treated unfairly, a few points. 1. A lot of you supporters (especially on the SI website) seem to think it’s OK for Knight to verbally and physically abuse his own players. Even if it is, how come you defend his behavior when he’s doing the same to referees, fans or students? 2. You say that Knight has brought a lot of success to the IU basketball program. So how come, with all the talent coming into the system, he hasn’t won so much more? Year in, year out, IU recuits the top players from high school, but they don’t always seem to maintain it through their college career. Wonder why? 3. If your son’s or daughter’s HS basketball coach did one-tenth the things Knight has done, how long would it take for you to call for his dismissal?

In a recent article on the SI website about Joe Paterno, the author mused that JoePa had run a successful program “without leaving the human race, as Bob Knight has.” Say no more.

The sad thing is, you know he’ll get another job at another school. I just wonder who he’ll end up working for.

  1. Everyone seems to want to speak (and think) for the players. When the players (both current and former) are interviewed, the vast majority have nothing but praise for the coach. As for the fans, referees, and students, again, ask the source and you will find great respect.
  2. If you think IU has gotten the top talent in the last 10 years or so, you’re obviously not a college bball fan.
  3. If you’re under the illusion that high school and college are in the same realm, I’m sorry. I don’t recall seeing graphic movies on prostitution during a course titled “Deviance and Social Control” in high school, but that’s exactly what I saw in college. College sports are not not in the same realm as high school sports, either. First and foremost, students and student athletes choose to attend a particular university, whereas high school students do not have such choice (at least for those of us not fortunate enough to afford private high schools). Yes, Knight would obviously be an inappropriate choice for a high school coach.

As you may have guessed, I’m an IU alum and an Indiana native (I also tutored bball players while a student there). Yes, I think Knight has gone too far on occassion. For instance, the choking incident with Neil Reed was an instance of a temper gone too far (although I guarantee you that it was not as horrible in context). In fact, Niel Reed had made his contempt for Knight known shortly after he arrived, largely because he saw himself as a better player than the coach did. Personally, I don’t believe I’ve seen a player display more heart while playing and was very disappointed when he left. But there was obviously an underlying animosity that had culminated in that incident. Not trying to defend it, but at least wanted to add some color.

Basically, I believe that Knight is a man with character in an era when character is less important than political correctness and a news story. Unfortunately, the good things that he has done and the testimonials of his former players, assistants (with the exception of Ron Felling, who taped the Reed incident and was also a Knight detractor), and the students will not get 1% of the news coverage afforded the few incidents of bad temper.

Had Bobby Knight won the National Championship this past season, he could have had Neil Reed executed by firing squad and still kept his job.

My feelings are mixed about the firing. What I can say for sure is that it’s a shame when a coach who runs a clean program and graduates his players gets the axe.

*alansmithee: OK. Forget all the things Knight has done in private. What about the things he’s done in public–throwing chairs onto the court, verbally abusing refs, assaulting students in bars? Furthermore, how can you defend a guy who, less than a month after the university puts a “zero-tolerance” policy on him, breaks it by grabbing a student over the fact the student didn’t call him “Mr.”?

Ohio State’s football program faced a similar problem with Woody Hayes in the 70’s and 80’s. Eventually, they came to the same conclusion in IU: eventually, the negative publicity that surrounds your program from a violent coach is going to be greater than the positive publicity they get from a successful coach.

As for IU not getting the best players…I’ve lived in Indiana too, and the high schools are absolutely crazy about basketball. And all the top players want to play for IU regardless of who’s coaching them. Knight only has to recuit about half his top players from outside the state. Another thing–how many top players may have thought about going to IU, but then had second thoughts because of Knight’s behavior. I know I wouldn’t want to play for him, whether at college or high school level.

Essentially, it comes down to this. I know a lot of people (at least here in the UK) who have anger-control problems. The ones who have changed are the ones who have admitted their problems; the others who deny them continue to have violent outbursts. If, when IU put its “zero-tolerance policy” on Knight, Knight had admitted his problems and agreed to work at them, I think he’d have met with success; indeed, I think almost everyone would have applauded his honesty and willingness to change. Instead he continued to deny there was a problem, and left himself in a position where he could have another outburst. Frankly, I think it’s most fortunate that he went over a minor incident, rather than end his career with him assaulting another player.


to me, it’s as simple as this:

Employer, to employee: Don’t do this again. You will get fired if you.

Employee: Ok, I understand.

one month later :

Employee does the specified action
Employer does the promised action.

I was wondering how long it would take. Knight never did learn. He thought he was a god, thought they would never fire him. Guess he learned that anyone can be pushed too far.

I wouldn’t hire him if I had to. He won’t control his temper. I don’t care if he is a “legend” and

Bull. Men with character don’t let their tempers lose. They do not choke players, they do not slap players around, they do not bully refs. I have no clue what you think a man is, Alansmithee, but Knight isn’t a man. He’s a grown up bully, who will start whining that he’s been misunderstood all along. Sad thing is, he has people who have been brainwashed into supporting him by success and fame.

This isn’t about being “PC”. I will never respect a “man” like that. There is nothing, not even winning hundreds of championships, that will erase that slimeball’s violent temper and abusive traits.

Bobby Knight demands a high level of discipline from everyone but himself. He demands that his players (and his assistants, the media, the university, pretty much the rest of the world) operate within a strict set of rules.

But HE isn’t required to control himself. HE is allowed to lose control and face no consequences.

He was once a good coach. Hasn’t been doing much winning lately. It’s hard for me to understand how anyone could possibly hold the man up as a role model for young people.

To me, the reaction of the people of Indiana just indicates that they will forgive Bobby Knight anything.

Also, I think it’s wonderfully ironic that Bobby Knight was fired for lecturing a student on Politeness.

Blinks, rubs eyes There’d I disagree.

IU is an educational institution. It has a right to say how it believes its students should be taught. And despite mounting evidence to the contrary, sports ARE a part of that education. Yes, there is a little more emotion and intensity in sports, which calls for a slightly different standard of behavior, but not the sort of leeway BK has been given.

If you had a history professor who was screaming at students, throwing chairs, verbally and physically abusing students, spitting on colleagues, regularly being removed from the building for his violence, etc. would IU be expected to tolerate that? What if it was a well-published professor? What if he said “It gets results–most students pass the final.” Or “More students go on to graduate study in history from this program that any other.” However you want to measure prestige or success, this guy’s got it. And what if he also said “History is filled with strife and passion. I can’t help being intense about teaching.”

Would you expect HIM to be retained? Hell no, tenure or not. The fact that BK has stuck around means that IU was selling out its educational mission in the name of winning and alumni popularity. Those athletes are their students. IU has a responsibility to make sure they are coached and taught with respect. IU regains some of its integrity by finally saying this will not be tolerated in its basketball arena any more than it would be in its classrooms.

It’s immaterial to me that the players say they like BK. I suspect you could find a lot of IU Greeks who say they support and value the hazing and near-fatal binge drinking of their pledge year. That doesn’t mean IU should ignore that kind of thing.

What is embarrassing is the hysterical reaction of some. Death threats? Students – not players, just average students-- weeping and screaming? Condemning the president of IU to burn in hell? Where does THAT come from?!? I realize the average IU student/fan/alumni isn’t like that, but geez it makes the whole place look worse.

His violent antics and constant childish behavior reminds me of a bad boss I had. Frankly, I did a happy dance when I saw that he was fired. It’s time that people in ALL professions learn that when a line is drawn as a condition of your employment, you cannot cross it without consequences. Good for IU! No one should have to work with an abusive person.


Heard an alum being interviewsed on this by NPR this morning. He was adcvocating that the players all reduse to play, and let the college lose all that funding that the basketball program brings in. What kind of alumni puts the TEAM before the SCHOOL?

Big fingers + lack of sleep = sloppy typing. Sorry about that.

I was wondering how long it would take for someone to bring out the chair throwing. Since most people only get their information from the media, it would figure that everyone would think “Bobby=chair throwing” since that is the most visually spectacular and therefore most-shown moment of his career. Yes it was boorish, immature and dangerous, 'nuff said.

Anyone who ever thought he was going to abide by zero tolerance is deluding themselves. I knew it was only a matter of time.

No, the players are not going to IU because it’s IU, they are going to play for Knight. And yes, many players go elsewhere because of Knight’s behavior. Thanks for restating my point about a player’s choice. I hardly beleive a player shows up for pratice on the first day, gets yelled at, and thinks “gee, I didn’t know this guy was mean!” Even in the case where you take a job and don’t find out until later that your boss is a jerk, thank God we live in a free market economy where you can quit and work elsewhere.

And yes, since he agreed to the zero tolerance and didn’t abide by it, the University had every right to fire him. Employment law is hardly the point here though.

I have learned a couple of things from this thread, though. For one, I never realized that men with character do not lose their temper. Second, thanks to the greek hazing example below, I’ve learned that the opinions of those who are actually affected do not matter. Differences b/w the two? 1) The greeks you claim would support hazing would most likely be the “hazers” as opposed to the “hazees”. 2) To follow this logic through, the players would be the “hazees”. I would venture a guess that the percentage of players supporting Knight is somewhat higher than the percentage of pledges supporting hazing. BTW, since your opinion on who you work for doesn’t matter, I guess you’d better start a thread so people can decide for you.

Actually in my (admittedly limited) experience with the hazing stuff, many pledges–yes the hazees themselves-- are surprisingly supportive of the practice. I can also speak personally as someone who was viciously hazed in a secret society–at the time, I would have railed against any discplinary action taken against the members who did it to me. I was nuts, and my college would have been irresponsible to have not pursued things simply because I said I like The Grand Masked Poobah. But that latter bit’s anecdotal, not so helpful I know. I still believe IU has a right to set some standards for acceptable behavior towards its students. They seem to have set it higher, in this case, than some of the students would set it for themselves. It’s a disagreement, but it doesn’t make IU’s decision invalid. Universities set lots of policies that affect students that don’t necessarily ahere to the wishes of the students themselves. That could lead us into an in loco parentis discussion, I guess.

Even if you disavowed my opinions about IU’s rights to set standards for student treatment, well, maybe they did it for image? I don’t know what % of IU national press converage was negative and Knight-related, but I’ll bet it was a fair bit higher than made the trustees happy. They may have believed that over the long-term, this would hurt their ability to recruit top faculty, etc. While athletic attention is nice, scholarly reputation matters a lot in academic circles. I realize that to a BK fan it doesn’t seem noble to sacrifice someone because the press hates him, but IU gave him a chance to knock off calling negative attention to himself, and he couldn’t do it.

Sorry, I didn’t get the part about not caring about my employer? Say again?

And golly, fella, this isn’t personal. You seem so, I dunno, peeved that I ventured an illustration of my point.

Hey I’ll join in on the minority ticket as a Knight supporter.

The man without a doubt stepped over the line an deserved to be fired but he was loyal to himself to the end.

This was not your typical robot coach today who will sit there and blow smoke up your ass in public. He said what he thought. If he didn’t like something he let you know. Was he a Bully…yes. Could he make anyone look like an idiot? Yes. He is extremely intelligent and he used that to his advantage for a long time.

Plus you really have to admire him for not canceling his fishing trip to Canada so the President of IU could have him come in to his office to be fired. Obviously that ticked the guy off. If I’m not mistaken this guy has wanted Knight gone for awhile and Knight did not give him the satisfaction of delivering the death blow face to face.

I still say he deserved it, but come’on. If you know the guy is going to fire you and you had a trip to Canada planned would you cancel it so the guy could fire you face to face?

His downfall was his temper, not his intelligence or coaching ability.

*Originally posted by CrankyAsAnOldMan *

I apologize. I didn’t mean it to be taken that way, but on second reading you’re right.

I’ve had plenty of time to stew on this topic, since in my mind he was effectively fired the moment “zero tolerance” was first uttered.

'Sokay. In retrospect, if a coach I supported was fired, I’d be half outta my mind and completely unable to write without sputtering and jumping around like a monkey. So you’ve got it all over me. :slight_smile:

Luckily Tom Osborne retired. Not that there was ever great fear of him being canned.