Did Indiana Screw Over This Backup Basketball Player?

Did Indiana Screw Over This Backup Basketball Player?


Did Indiana Screw Over This Backup Basketball Player?

So here’s the situation: Indiana has a new basketball coach this year, Archie Miller, who looked over the basketball roster for this year and came to a determination that Grant Gelon, a rising sophomore who averaged 1.8 points in 12 games last season, did not have a place on it.

From the Times of Northwest Indiana:

The freshman on the Hoosiers men’s basketball team was meeting with new coach Archie Miller. Hope was dashed with one sentence.

“We don’t see you fitting into our plans here.”

There is nothing out of the ordinary about this. Coaches run off players all the time, often players they themselves recruited. Scholarships are year-to-year agreements. And although Gelon might not be good enough to play for Archie Miller, he’s at a junior college now, and will probably have other Division I options if he chooses to take them.

But for a minute there, Gelon was talking like he’d just stay at Indiana anyway.

After the meeting May 3, Gelon bounced around ideas about what he should do with his parents, Mark and Sandi. Gelon was working hard and making progress, he said.

So on May 12, he told Miller he planned on staying at Indiana.

“Everything changed after that,” Gelon said. “It got ugly.”

The twist, here, comes in the form of the Indiana University Student-Athlete Bill of Rights, which guarantees IU athletes can’t have their scholarship money taken away for poor performance. So Gelon could have remained at Indiana, on scholarship, even though he wouldn’t have had a place on the basketball team.

He was encouraged not to do that.

The next day Sandi got a text from a coach of the Indiana Elite AAU program, where Grant played, and it said:

“Hey! I’m sure you (k)now by now that Grant called and said he was staying, IU staff told us they may just push him off the team and let him keep his scholarship but he won’t be playing or on the team.

“You can call me if you want and discuss, I don’t want this overshadowing your Mother’s Day weekend with him, but I just hope that like you said his grandpa can talk some sense into him!”

Indiana explained its side of the story by saying Miller met with all the players to discuss their expectations for the future, and told Gelon it was expected that he would never play at Indiana and would be better off someplace else. So, like most players do in that situation, Gelon asked for and was granted a scholarship release.

Gelon now is at State Fair Community College in Sedalia, Mo., so the IU Student-Athlete Bill of Rights no longer applies to him.

Instead, he joins the 600 or so men’s basketball players who transferred schools this year, mostly for reasons a lot like Gelon’s — they wanted more playing time or didn’t get along with the coach.

Gelon says he felt lied to about his place on Miller’s roster, but that’s based on Miller having said “You’re my guys” to the entire team when he first arrived. As far as can be told from the NWI Times story, Miller gave Gelon an honest appraisal of his situation.

As much as that must have hurt, it beats the alternative.