Indiana Hoosiers

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Body of James Hardy, Hoosiers’ all-time leading receiver, found in river near Indiana home

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The troubled life of one of the greatest football players in Indiana Hoosiers football history has come to a sad end.

The Allen County (Ind.) Coroner’s Office confirmed Thursday that a body found in the Maumee River a day earlier as that of 31-year-old James Hardy.  Hardy’s body was found not far from his Fort Wayne home, and came a week or so after, TMZ.com reports, his family reported him missing.  The same celebrity gossip website writes that “[o]ur sources tell us it appears Hardy had been in the water for several days.”

The coroner as of yet hasn’t been able to determine the cause and/or manner of death.

“Indiana University Athletics is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of James Hardy,” a portion of a press release from the football program read. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his loved ones during this difficult time.”

Hardy, who also played basketball at IU, played wide receiver for the Hoosiers in the mid-aughts and left the school as the football program’s leader in nearly every major receiving category.  His 191 receptions, 2,740 yards and 36 receiving touchdowns are No. 1 on IU’s career lists, while his single-season marks of 79 catches and 16 touchdowns still stand.  The four receiving touchdowns he scored in a 2006 win over Michigan State remains the single-game record.

While he was a second-round pick of the Buffalo Bills in the 2008 draft, his NFL career failed to match his collegiate production as he finished with just 10 catches for 96 yards and a pair of touchdowns in four seasons at that level.  Hardy resurfaced in the headlines a couple of years ago, albeit for the wrong reasons.

From WANE-TV:

TMZ reported in May of 2014 that Hardy was arrested after attacking three officers. A judge ruled that he was not mentally competent to stand trial in a case where he faces a felony charge for resisting arrest during the incident. It’s not known how that judicial process played out.

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany set to cash in with over $20 million in bonuses

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It’s good to be a college commissioner nowadays but it seems it’s an even better time to be the one leading the Big Ten.

USA Today reports that Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany is set to cash in big time with some $20 million in future bonus payments on the books from the conference. The league’s most recent tax returns shed light on the paychecks, which will come in addition to the over $2 million he already receives each year.

“Commissioner Delany has provided invaluable leadership for Big Ten member institutions while delivering first-in-class performance during a time of great transformation in college athletics,” University of Minnesota president Eric Kaler said in a statement provided by the conference. “He has not only successfully balanced the missions of academic achievement, student-athlete development and athletic success, he has successfully developed the resources necessary to strategically position the conference for success well into the future. His compensation is market-competitive, based on an independent third-party analysis, and reflects the value and impact of his leadership.”

Delany has served as commissioner of the Big Ten since 1989 and has been one of the most powerful leaders in college athletics ever since. He was the driving force behind numerous expansions by the conference over the years and the cash-cow that the Big Ten Network has turned into.

While Delany has drawn his fair share of criticism from fans and media members alike over the years, it’s hard to argue with what he’s done for the league’s burgeoning balance sheets. He is already one of the most handsomely compensated commissioners out there but something says the presence of this pay package will cause a few raised eyebrows around college athletics while also quieting talk that he may be set to retire in the very near future.

Indiana won’t accept any player with history of sexual or domestic violence

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One Big Ten school is following in the SEC’s footsteps — and blazing its own path on top of it.

In April of 2015, the SEC voted to ban member institutions from accepting transfers who had been disciplined for serious misconduct at his previous school, with that defined as sexual assault, sexual violence and domestic violence.  In June of 2016, that same conference announced that it will be expanding its existing policy to include “dating violence, stalking or conduct of a nature that creates serious concern about the safety of others.”

According to the Indianapolis Star, Indiana has enacted a similar policy, with the Big Ten school barring a transfer from another institution from enrolling “who has been convicted of or pleaded guilty or no contest to a felony involving sexual violence.” Sexual violence is defined by the school as “dating violence, domestic violence, rape, sexual assault or sexual violence as defined by the Indiana University policy on sexual misconduct.”

IU’s policy also significantly expands on what the SEC’s current policy is, as not only transfers but “incoming freshmen” are a part of the ban as well.

“I think it’s new ground,” athletic director Fred Glass told the Star. “My hope is that we’re leading in this area, and maybe others will follow with, maybe not the exact same policy, but one that fits their particular institutions.”

The university also ensured that any appeals would be handled “outside the athletic department.” From the paper’s report:

It includes an appellate process, Glass said, acknowledging that “there’s always a chance that there’s going to be some person that gets caught up in this that shouldn’t, when you consider all the circumstances.”

But Glass also emphasized that any such appeal would go before a committee comprised of [IU faculty athletics representative Kurt] Zorn, IU general counsel Jacqueline Simmons and IU chief student welfare and Title IX officer Emily Springston.

“The key to that,” Glass said, “is those decisions are being made outside the athletic department.”

The Big Ten has allowed each member institution to institute — or not — its own policy on this issue.  Indiana is the first; whether other conference members follow suit will be interesting to see play out.

Jon Gruden, his father to serve as honorary coaches for Indiana’s spring game

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To all of those who have chased the Gruden-to-college rumors over the last several years, rejoice.  Chucky’s back.  Temporarily.

Indiana announced Tuesday that Jon Gruden will serve as an honorary coach for the Hoosiers’ spring game that will be televised Thursday night on the Big Ten Network.  The other honorary coach?  Gruden’s father, Jim Gruden.

The honor will likely be a little sweeter for the elder Gruden as he served as an IU assistant on Lee Corso‘s coaching staff from 1973-76.

Gruden hasn’t been a coach at a college football program since 1991 at Pittsburgh — and at the NFL level since the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2008 — yet he’s been connected to collegiate head-coaching jobs at Tennessee (twice), Notre Dame, Louisville, Oregon, Miami, Colorado and Texas among others over the last decade or so.

North Carolina hoops joins Clemson football to give ACC rare title sweep

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Something that doesn’t happen very often, at all, reared its rarefied head Monday night.

As deftly detailed by our friends at CollegeBasketballTalk.com, North Carolina beat Gonzaga to win the men’s basketball national championship.  UNC’s win comes just shy of three months after Clemson beat Alabama for the national championship of college football.  Speaking of which…

Interestingly, both the Tigers and Tar Heels were national runners-up last season.

The ACC has now won men’s basketball and football national championships in the same athletic season twice.  Such a double-double, including this year/season, has only happened a total of 10 times since the NCAA men’s tournament was first played at the end of the 1938-39 season.

Of those nearly dozen college sporting rarities, three each belong to two of the Power Five conferences (Big Ten, SEC) and two each from two others (ACC, Pac-12).  The Big 12, if you hadn’t picked up on it, is the lone P5 left out of these particular festivities.

Below are all of the conference double-doubles, which includes only football titles awarded by the Associated Press.  First, though, a couple of notes:

  • Indiana won the 1986-87 basketball title and Penn State was the 1986 football champs, but the latter wasn’t in the Big Ten at the time.
  • Duke and Miami would’ve hit the double-double in 1991-92, except The U didn’t join the ACC until 2005.
  • Miami won another title in 2001 while Maryland won one for the 2001-02 season, but the former was still four years away from ACC membership while the latter has since left that conference for the Big Ten.

And, one final bit of housekeeping: the football titlists are listed first, for those keeping score at home.

1940-41 — Big Ten, Minnesota and Wisconsin
1952-53 — Big Ten, Michigan State and Indiana
1957-58 — SEC, Auburn and Kentucky
1967-68 — Pac-12, USC and UCLA
1972-73 — Pac-12, USC and UCLA
1975-76 — Big Ten, Ohio State and Indiana
1981-82 — ACC, Clemson and North Carolina
2006-07 — SEC, Florida and Florida
2011-12 — SEC, Alabama and Kentucky
2016-17 — ACC, Clemson and North Carolina