Amidst charges of reneged scholarships, Glass reiterates all football commitments will be honored

Even when Shafer Johnson heard that Bill Lynch was being fired, he never considered leaving the Indiana football program.

“As long as they don’t give up on me, I won’t give up on them,” he said days after the announcement.

But on Sunday, the senior defensive tackle from Southfield Christian in Michigan said that new head coach Kevin Wilson told him that he had, in fact, given up on him.

“Coach Wilson told me I’m not a good fit for their scheme,” Johnson said. “I’m pretty much no good going there.”

Johnson said Wilson and other members of the coaching staff delivered the news on Sunday after an official visit to IU. He was asked if Wilson gave him the option to come to Indiana and accept the scholarship he had been offered by the previous administration, but simply made it clear to him that there wouldn’t be much playing time for him if he did. Johnson said he was not given such an option.

“No. I’m out,” he said.  “I’m shocked, hurt, disappointed. I stuck with them for the coaching change. I feel like I kept my commitment to them, and I get bit in the butt. I was definitely hurt when I first heard that.”

Johnson was actually one of three players rumored to have had their scholarship offers pulled over the weekend. The others were Donte Phillips, a defensive tackle from Wisconsin, and Jalen Schlachter, an offensive tackle from Michigan. Attempts to contact both Phillips and Schlachter were unsuccessful, but Johnson said Phillips had his scholarship pulled right after he did.

“I know me and Donte are gone for sure,” Johnson said. “I know he was pretty mad.”

Recruiting commitments often break up amidst coaching changes, but it would appear to be a more egregious breach on the part of Indiana because athletic director Fred Glass said during the press conference to announce Lynch’s dismissal that all scholarship offers would be honored.

Glass said Wednesday evening, however, that IU would still be honoring verbal commitments. He said it was a mistake on the part of the university if any recruit was given the impression that his verbal commitment would not be honored.

“ I don’t challenge any kid or family who thinks they heard that Indiana wasn’t going to honor their scholarship,” Glass said. “… I don’t challenge them hearing that, and if they did, it was a mistake. We have agreed that we’re not going to reneg on scholarship offers.”

Glass said he was contacted by the mother of a recruit on Wednesday who claimed that her son’s scholarship was not being honored. That alerted him to the situation. He said he could not comment on specific players, but that the athletic department would reach out to players who believed their scholarship was being pulled to inform them that it had not.

Glass said he had spoken with Wilson and encouraged him to share honest evaluations with recruits. He said there may have been miscommunication, but that Wilson was not deliberately disobeying his orders or breaking his promises.

“Kevin’s not a maverick on this,” Glass said. “We had conversation about these evaluations and to the extent something else was communicated, it was an earnest misunderstanding. … This was not a case where he went on and I had to rein him back in. It was just a mistake.”

Of course, whether any of the recruits who believed their scholarships were pulled would now be willing to recommit to IU is uncertain. Johnson did not return a call seeking comment after Glass’s response.

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  • DidHeJustSay... says:

    If Glass said the schollies are to be honored than they ought to be honored. If he never have said that though, i would have no issue with the schollie being pulled. Schools get screwed out of players just leaving at the last minute to best appease themselves and I see no reason why it shouldnt be a two way street. Take away verbal commits if both parties don’t like the situation.

    Guaranteed that 2 years down the road, IU fans will be criticizing coach Wilson if he isnt performing like he said he will. Meanwhile, we are going to strap him to the throne that inept Bill Lynch built. Not fair to that guy. If the kids arent big ten caliber talent then thats just the way it is. Why else would they be upset that INDIANA didnt keep their scholarship available. ITS INDIANA FOOTBALL. I mean, lets be real here.

  • podunker says:

    Perhaps this is the first PR black-eye for Wilson, but it may have been necessary. And in the long run, it may also have been best for the young men involved. Why sign with a coaching staff that tells you, “Young man, you’re not going to get much playing time here.”

    I’m not surprised IU’s new FB coaching staff has higher talent standards than the previous coaching staff. For years I believed Lynch and staff were recruiting more than a few warm bodies for IU, especially on the O and D lines. You could tell, by comparing their size to players recruited by other Big Ten schools and by the other schools recruiting the players, that some of the young men were just not Big Ten caliber players. Maybe Lynch’s risk tolerance was higher than Wilson’s or maybe Lynch believed in his staff’s ability to develop players, but Lynch simply was not getting enough Big Ten quality (or sized) players to sign with IU.

    I’ve had experiences on both sides of the fence in the corporate arena. I’ve been the new “boss” brought in to upgrade the organization’s personnel, and I’ve been terminated by the company’s new management team. It’s a painful experience no matter what side of the fense you’re on, but it’s only temporary if you handle it with the right attitude.

    Hopefully these three will be the only players affeted and they will all find the right schools to play for. And hopefully this signals that Wilson and staff have more gifted recruits lined up to take these roster spots.

    Who ever said life was fair?

  • Proskunker says:

    If you want to get to Rose Bowls you have to take off the rose-colored shades. What a fortunate turn of events for IU football to have a take-charge coach unwilling to be satisfied with status quo. Best stay out of his way, Fred Glass. This man is not content with mediocrity and shockingly desires to earn his salary.

  • IU Lover says:

    Be careful what you wish for my friends. Kelvin Sampson didn’t give a hoot and you see where that got us!

  • Jimmy says:

    What on earth does Kelvin Sampson have to do with anything?

  • IU Lover says:

    Might just be the beginning of questionable behavior. The pressure to win quickly makes some people do things they shouldn’t…..

  • EBurd says:

    Lynch recruited a lot of players on the defensive side of the ball that aren’t Big 10 caliber players. But I assume they were the best he could get. IU should honor their commitments.

  • Jubilee says:

    IU lover,

    They aren’t Big 10 caliber players. IU was the only BCS program that offered these guys scholarships.

  • IU Lover says:

    Being reported on the Penn State board that one of the three is about to be offered…DP

  • John Galt says:

    It’s “questionable behavior” to be honest with a recruit? To tell them they won’t get much playing time? Coach Wilson needs to bring in the players that will be successful under his system. If he doesn’t…then he ends up 4-8 or 5-7 every year, which is exactly what everyone on this forum has been pissing and moaning about for eternity. Yes, it sucks for the kid to have a scholarship offer yanked. But no more so than for the kids who, on signing day, spurn the school they committed to.

  • IU Lover says:

    It’s questionable behavior to say you don’t have scholarship anymore when your boss says they do. Now I’m all for being honest with recruits. But you don’t wait until two weeks before signing day, after these kids have turned other schools away for 6 months. Now you guys can defend doing what is necesary to be a winner all you want. But I want to win with honor like the Bob Knight days. If you want to win by any means necesary, thats’s cool. But mark my words, I got a funny feeling about this guy….Of course, I hope I’m wrong.

  • Logan says:

    Um, Bob Knight did a whole lot worse things that question “honor” than Wilson has. If these players don’t fit into Wilson’s plans, it is best for all parties involved to part ways.

  • Mike P. says:

    I didn’t like that Glass agreed to honor Lynch’s recruits and force Wilson to accept them. That said, I hope that it was a miscommunication and not Wilson going back on Glass’ promise. I do like him being brutally honest with the recruits that they won’t play, give them a chance to look elsewhere these next couple weeks for a school that fits them better.

  • podunker says:

    What’s worse, telling a kid two weeks before signing day that he’s not the right fit and won’t get to play or signing him and, over time, allowing him to discover that he is never going to play? Clearly the latter is far worse than the former, wasting the kids time, almost forcing him to transfer, and damaging his self esteem.

    The emotions run high when kids experience their first rejection. But it sounds like Wilson, while technically honoring the scholarship offer, is trying to do the best thing for the young men by being honest and giving them a chance to sign with other schools where they have a chance to play.

    There is plenty of time for kids to select a school. They don’t have to sign on the first day of the signing period. A lot of players get signed weeks after the first signing day.

    And with all the coaching changes this year, Wilson won’t be the only coach to do this.

  • Tsao Tsu Gonzalez says:

    I agree with Coach Wilson giving each of the recruits committed to IU a frank and honest evaluation of his talents within the scope of Coach Wilson’s system.

    Once that has been said, if the player wishes to stay under the promise of a scholarship, IU is obligated to provide it.

    A.D. Glass did the right thing. The institutional integrity must be absolute and encumber everyone. Glass job is to protect it.

    Nothing else is relevant.

  • coachv says:

    what are we, a bunch of reneggers?

  • AW says:

    I don’t think it’s Glass’ place to make Coach Wilson take their verbals. Coach needs to get a feel for these guys and if they are taking the program in a new direction let CKW do what he needs to do.

  • iam4iufb says:

    Coach Wilson is doing the right thing. If a player doesn’t fit,Coach lets him know, and the player still has time to find another school. If after being evaluated by Coach Wilson, the player wants to still sign with IU we should honor that commitment. Coach Wilson is just being honest with these players and now it is up to them to decide what they want to do. Go IU!!!!
    Coach Lynch always recruited players who were not up to Big 10 skill level. Glad to hear Coach Wilson is looking for more.

  • Mike W says:

    Realistically, it’s business. Is it a sad situation to yank a kids scholarship this late in the game? Yes. BUT, why should a new staff be held hostage with a previous staff’s recruits that will just be taking up space that could possibly better utilized?

    Coach Wilson is used to higher caliber recruits. He knows what it will take to win and obviously he didn’t see these guys as beneficial to winning. In reality that should be the end of story. These kids can still get on MAC school rosters where they more than likely belonged in the first place.

  • Whatever says:

    Bet all you guys that think this is just peachy have never had a kid that has gone through the recruiting process. These are 18 and 19 year old people here not commodities or horseflesh or whatever. But when they get to whatever campus they land at, they better figure out quickly that they are a commodity. College athletics is now a nasty business, and has been for a long time, but don’t fool yourselves that it is anything other than a business about winning and losing so the alumni can feel good about themselves and be enticed to donate more money. These kids just got their first introduction into the “real world” where the end justifies the means and the rug can be pulled out from under you without any warning. Hopefully they will find somewhere else to go and they will take full advantage of playing AND getting a degree, but it is late in the game for anywhere. And I’m guessing if they are capable, intelligent people it will take a lot not to transfer this experience into adopting an attitude of ‘too bad for you, but you can’t help me so adios!’ But then maybe that is the best lesson they will learn in their college experience about how to survive and thrive in our world. Might as well get jaded early!

  • YouWillNeverKnow says:

    I love it! About time this friggin’ program grew a nutsack!

  • Sam says:

    I would like to hear from the football coach and staff before making a judgement on this. I believe IU should honor their scholarship offers but that doesn’t mean a new coach has to be tied down to kids that don’t fit their plans. Coach Wilson’s top priority is turning the football program around and that will be a lot harder if he is stuck using the one and two star players Lynch brought in.

  • Mike P. says:


    Scholarships go from July to July and are on a year to year basis per the NCAA.

    If these kids don’t fit Wilson’s system or what he wants as a players, is Glass going to force him to keep these players on scholarship all four years?

    If not, then isn’t it feasible that after the end of the 2011 season that Wilson could approach these players and let them know that he doesn’t intend to extend their scholarship for future seasons?

    Then you leave these kids looking at paying for school at IU themselves or looking for another school who will pick them up and offer them a scholarship to come play, while losing a season in transfer.

    So ask yourself which is worse, finding out now and having a chance to get in a school, paid, for all four years, or get your forced scholarship for one year and then have it pulled and left with fewer options?

  • Double Down says:

    Wilson isn’t going to be able to address this issue directly, but I think it is great that our coach isn’t going to waste time with bottom of the barrel talent that he knows has no shot of competing in the Big 10. Building a program means making some tough early decisions. I wouldn’t be surprised if many of those who saw significant playing time on defensive side of the ball see their playing time reduced and are told so during spring practice (Matt Ernest). The status quo is not acceptable here any longer.

    Wilson said in his press conference that we’re going to build a brand of toughness at IU. Kids that don’t fit into that profile will end up elsewhere.

  • Coach says:

    While we all have an opinion if Shafer is a “good fit” for Coach Wilson and if he can play football in the Big Ten (check out his 2010 highlight tape on youtube to so see for yourself), I can tell you that Indiana should be ashamed of how they handled Shafer and the other young men. I’ve had the honor to coach Shafer for the last two years and here is what happended and while I’m upset with Indiana: 1. Indiana offered Shafer in JUNE. He accepted and stopped looking elsewhere. 2. As soon as coach Lynch was fired Glass called Shafer and told him he was wanted. 3. Illinois called Shafer right after Lynch was fired to see if Shafer wanted to look at Illinois – because Glass called Shafer said no. 4. Indiana sent a coach from Wilson’s staff to visit Shafer to tell he was wanted weeks ago. 5. Shafer makes his big visit to meet everyone at Indiana last Friday and SUNDAY they tell him they really don’t want him. How would you feel if this was your son? Shafer will be a great student athlete and find another place to get a degree and play football but I for one am upset with Indiana. I understand coach Wilson, Glass and Indiana want the best talent. But why did they lead Shafer on for a month when he could have been looking for another oppertunity?

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