Before Matt Roth even addressed his own status, he stopped to express his empathy for Ron Patterson.
“I saw the news, which is too bad,” Roth said of Patterson’s academics-based departure from Indiana. “You don’t want to see the academics get in the way of a talented player like that. But it sounds like he’s got a good family around him, and I wish him the best. Academics is really important, and I’m sure he’s putting a lot of pressure on himself to get better there.”
But after that, Roth said that, no, he still hasn’t heard anything definitive about his status with Indiana. The combination of Patterson’s departure and the impending beginning of the fall semester hasn’t brought any more information with it.
The 6-foot-3, 185-pound sharpshooting guard still has a fifth year of eligibility remaining thanks to a broken foot that cost him all but two games of his sophomore season. Patterson’s departure made it appear slightly more likely that he might actually use it, but the Hoosiers are at the NCAA limit of 13 scholarships without him in the fold and Monday’s beginning of the fall semester would appear to represent the clock running out on his return.
Still, Roth said he’s heard nothing definitive one way or the other from Indiana.
“I haven’t been contacted since (the news of Patterson’s departure) and I haven’t been informed of anything involving my status,” Roth said.
Roth was asked if he’d given up hope of a return.
“I’ve not come to that conclusion yet,” he said. “It’s not something I want to have happen until it happens. I know the deadline is coming up. I’m hoping to hear something one way or the other. There’s not going to be any hard feelings one way or the other. I kept my options open and did what’s best for me, but I haven’t found what’s best for me yet. I haven’t found a job that’s the right fit for me.”
Through the first half of the summer, Roth said he was very much keeping his options open and passing up on potential opportunities to play his fifth year at another school — which he can do without penalty — as well as potential employment opportunities. Recently, he has spent more time looking for a job, but hasn’t found one yet.
Roth said he has been in contact with Indiana coach Tom Crean over the summer through text messaging and that he also worked at one of Crean’s summer camps, but that the two have not discussed his status in some time.
“He told me earlier in the summer to keep my options open,” Roth said. “I told him I wasn’t going to put a blindfold on and not look at jobs, not prepare. We both agreed do what’s best for me. Since then it’s just been checking in and seeing how thing are going. There’s been nothing very directly related to the situation. Everybody wants to figure out the final conclusion. We’ve talked back and forth. Hopefully we’re either going to get together or have a final phone call. It’s a business and I’m aware of everything involved.”
If by some chance Roth was asked to return at this point — which appears highly unlikely — it would almost assuredly be as a walk-on. There’s still a chance the Hoosiers could lose a scholarship player before the season starts if guard Maurice Creek doesn’t make a full recovery, but if he doesn’t become a medical non-counter by Monday, he will count against Indiana’s limit for the rest of the school year whether he plays or not.
Roth said he wasn’t sure what he would do if presented with that option.He already has a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree, so he would have to enroll for either another master’s or a doctorate to continue his education. Exactly how much that would cost is difficult to calculate, but the Illinois native’s out-of-state status would presumably make it more expensive.
“It would be tough to do,” Roth said. “It’s tough financially, I’m aware of the value of money and the difficulties that would come with taking out a loan and everything. I’m not sure how the process would work being injured on scholarship and playing not on scholarship. I’d need help from some people in compliance to see if that’s even possible. That would be a long process, and it’s not something that I’ve thought about.”
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