Kellen Lewis dismissed from Indiana football team

Senior Kellen Lewis, one of the most successful football players in Indiana history, has been dismissed from the program.

The school announced the move with the following news release:


Bloomington, Indiana—Indiana University football coach Bill Lynch announced today that Kellen Lewis has been dismissed from the team for violating team rules.

“We are disappointed to have to make this decision,” said Lynch. “When you have expectations of those on your team that are not met, you need to do what is ultimately in the overall best interest of your program.”

IU Vice President and Director of Athletics Fred Glass supported Lynch’s stance on the situation.

“Today’s action underscores that no individual student-athlete, regardless of talent or popularity, is above the expectations of Indiana University,” added Glass.

Lewis, who holds 16 major school records at quarterback but was used as a wide receiver during the recently completed spring practice session, could possibly transfer to a Division I-AA (or lower) program to finish out his remaining year of eligibility. But he could also enter his name in the NFL Supplemental draft this summer and hope to be selected by a team intrigued with his speed and elusiveness.

Lewis could not be reached for comment Wednesday. Lynch and Glass refused further comment through a department spokesman.

Lewis missed all of spring practice in 2008, also for violating an unnamed team rule, and had to earn his way back onto the team. He later told reporters that he had not been attending off-season meetings or workouts and had become lax with his school work, in part because of the fame his success had brought him.

He threw more touchdown passes (48) than any player in school history and is third in passing yards (6,395) and second in total yards (8,072) in the Indiana record book.

Starr to try out for Jaguars

Austin Starr Looms over you.

Former Indiana kicker Austin Starr has been invited to attend mini-camp with the Jacksonville Jaguars this weekend. Should he kick well the team could offer him a contract.

“My agent talked to a lot of teams, but Jacksonville wanted to set something up,” he said.

In January, thhe Jaguars hired Russ Purnell to coach special teams; he’d held the same position with the Indianapolis Colts since 2002 before being let go by new coach Jim Caldwell. So he is familiar with Starr.

Starr hit 21-of-23 field goals as a junior but just 10-of-17 last season.

Means headed back to baseball

Indiana wide receiver Andrew Means knew that if the last pick of the NFL draft was announced and his name had not yet been called, he would be too emotional to make a decision about his future as teams began calling him with free agent offers.

So he set the parameters before the draft even started: if a team picked him, he’d go with football. If not, he’d concentrate on baseball.

“I just thought if I wasn’t picked I should return to baseball and try to work my way through the minors as quickly as I could and become a Cincinnati Red,” he said Monday. “It’s like anything: I just wanted a team to make a commitment to me by using a draft pick. The Reds did that, they’ve been supportive of me the whole way. Now, it’s time for me to return that to them.”

Means, who was an 11th-round pick of the Reds last year, will head to Sarasota, Fla. Wednesday for extended spring training and expects to be assigned to Single-A Dayton when he is in baseball shape. He left the Reds organization about three weeks ago — after partaking in about three weeks of spring training — to pursue a football career.

“For whatever reason that didn’t work out,” said Means, who heard from more than 10 NFL teams who wanted to sign him as a free agent. “I’ve played two sports my whole life and at some point you’ve got to make a decision. I’m just excited to see what I can do when I concentrate on baseball and bring all my tools together.”

Thigpen signs with Eagles

Former Indiana running back Marcus Thigpen has agreed to a 3-year deal with the Philadelphia Eagles, according to his agent Rob Sheets.

He’ll be given a chance to earn playing time as a returnman and as a slot receiver.

Thigpen played receiver for the Hoosiers as a freshman. The 5-9, 200-pound Detroit native had 32 receptions for 432 yards and two touchdowns that season (2005), but then moved to running back. During his sophomore season he led the country with 30.1 yards per kick return and three touchdowns.

“Hey Tom, you really should try the sweatshirt on the sideline thing. It’s just so comfy!”

Tom Crean, Bill Belichick discuss something at a Florida spring football practice.

It’d be too easy to have too much fun with this.

So have at it. What’s the discussion being had here? On the left, Tom Crean (you know him.)  On the right, Bill Belichick (you likely dislike him.) They’re watching a spring practice at Florida.

(Picture via Deadspin)

Little 5: The Scoop endorses ….

Our wacky Zachy.

Oh, yes. That is my friend and yours, IDS Columnist turned Spandex Model/Biker Zach Osterman.

As you can see, he is quite intense. That or he’s trying to mug for the camera. It’s unclear, especially if you know Zach. He’s full of antics. I once shut his hand in a van door — the door actually got all the way closed and latched before he realized it — and you should have heard the blow back on that. Honest mistake, dude.

Anyway, we know he’s riding in Little 5. Because if there’s one thing to know about Zach, it’s that if you know him he’s going to make sure you know all about him. Kid’s a talker.

Zach is a member of Team Sammy. Or something like that. It’s Greek, and my keyboard is American. So you see the problem.

What we wish for our friend is a day full of memories. A win would be nice. A safe ride is even more important. Mostly, though, we hope he simply enjoys being a part of this great college weekend; he has worked hard, and he deserves it.

On going to Europe to pay for play

As you’ve undoubtedly heard, San Diego junior (in high school) Jeremy Tyler has left high school and intends to play the next two seasons in Europe while waiting to become eligible for the NBA draft.

Here was my take on the situation in our Thursday discussion:

QUESTION: Another fine (and fabulous day), gentlemen! Now that Jeremy Tyler has become the first major college prospect to drop out of high school and begin his pro career in Europe, do you expect this to become an increasingly frequent outcome for superlative high school talent, or will this defection from the traditional pro route remain uniquely uncommon?

It seems this is the natural and probable result of the NBA’s delayed-entry rule. While the possibility of more kids dropping out of high school to play abroad takes the situation to the precipice of a slippery slope, I can’t help but feel Stern/Brand/NBAPA essentially opened the door for a European internship program under the rule. After all, if the kids have incomparable talent and 0 interest in academics, why shouldn’t they be allowed to seek compensation for playing their game so exceptionally well? Should the NCAA drop the facade of the “student-athlete” for these kids and ease its eligibility requirements, or create a professional athlete/personal finance major to accommodate them? Should the NBA drop the rule all together? What’s your take on the situation?

ChronicHoosier, B-town!


Put simply, I believe in freedom.

We let actors and actresses “go pro” at as young an age as they are able. Same for tennis players and figure skaters. In Canada, premier ice hockey players are drafted into juniors at age 15 and more often than not move hundreds of miles away from their families.

The current situation most of the upper echelon basketball players face is a sham. It would be better for everyone if the players who wanted to concentrate on playing basketball had an avenue to do that. It would also be better for everyone if the players who were interested in academics and basketball (maybe even in that order) didn’t have their avenues clogged by those who are essentially pros in waiting.

I have been a proponent of the NCAA dropping its facade for some time now; I have also been realistic about how unlikely that is. Once you’ve dealt with the organization for a while you see that it considers its image sacred. What you really have is a little shop that sells apple pies and plays soft jazz for customers, while in the nearby warehouse the young, often under-compensated workers are providing the real goods that make the business so successful (hint: they ain’t baking pies). But don’t talk about that. Talk about the apple pie. It’s delicious!

What bothers me about the NBA rule was that it came in collusion with the NCAA; if the NBA had simply decided it was too risky for players younger than 18 to join the league (for physical reasons) that would have been OK. But to make a rule that makes kids basically wait one year after their graduation, regardless of age, is a blatant attempt at funneling top players to the NCAA.

Andy Staples, the recruiting writer for Sports Illustrated, had his say Thursday night. I agree with it.

Your thoughts?

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