News From Terre Haute, Indiana

From the Press Box

June 5, 2012

FROM THE PRESS BOX: ISU progresses under Prettyman

Sycamore AD’s goals don’t exclude national championships

EUGENE, ORE. — He didn’t say a word, but it was as clear as Indiana State Director of Athletics Ron Prettyman sat in the PK Park dugout and watched the Sycamores take batting practice prior to their NCAA Regional at Oregon last Thursday, he beamed with pride.

The baseball Sycamores were one of two spring ISU sports to win Missouri Valley Conference championships, with men’s track and field being the other. ISU finished fifth in the MVC’s all-sports points, its highest placing in many years.

The Sycamores’ baseball at-large bid was their first at-large in any sport since 2000. Their national profile appearance in Eugene comes one year after men’s basketball had its time in the national spotlight with the MVC’s automatic bid in 2011. Football, once a joke, is now respectable.

These are heady times for the ISU athletic department, but Prettyman doesn’t want to get complacent.

“My goal is to be at a press conference after winning a national championship. I wouldn’t have come here if I didn’t think we could win national championships at Indiana State. As soon as that discontinues to be my goal, that’s when it’s time for me to change,” Prettyman said.

Prettyman was talking specifically about baseball when asked the question, but it could apply to any sport at ISU. To be sure, it’s an ambitious goal, and its one that’s likely shared by most Division I programs in theory.

The rub is how to get there.

“I think we have the passion and the personnel. I’m not sure we have the budgets, but I think we do have those other factors that will allow us to be successful,” Prettyman said.

I’m not sure we have the budgets. Some version of that has been the oft-heard mantra at ISU for generations. It will continue to be, so long as collegiate athletic programs spend like drunken sailors.

There are factors helping ISU’s budgets. With enrollment significantly up the last two years, it has created more revenue for the university as whole, including athletics.

Prettyman also reports directly to ISU President Daniel Bradley, which cuts out bureaucracy that had existed in the past and fosters a same-page mentality between the two.

But there are challenges too. The ISU Foundation has played an increasing role in helping ISU’s bottom line from an athletics standpoint, but the Foundation is in administrative flux. Gene Crume and Nate Green (Sycamore Athletic Foundation) are both gone. The Foundation is committed to ISU athletics, but until it has permanent new leadership, the way it goes about its business is in question for the time being.

ISU also has to square the circle between funding for programs via salaries and recruiting budgets versus facilities expenditures.

Bob Warn Field still needs improvements, as evidenced by failed bids to host the MVC baseball tournament in 2012 and 2013.

Memorial Stadium has had significant improvements done to the periphery of the facility, but the crumbling physical plant of the stadium itself and its long-term viability are very questionable.

Though in excellent shape for its age, Hulman Center still needs to be remodeled for modernization and revenue-streaming purposes.

“We’ve come so far [budgetarily], but we have a long way to go. The support from the president and vice-presidents in regards to the budget has been great, but it’s not something that’s going to be solved in one fell swoop,” Prettyman said.

Perhaps the biggest factor in ISU’s budgetary favor is Prettyman himself. Under Prettyman’s stewardship, nearly every ISU athletic program is better than it was when he arrived in 2005.

ISU has an athletic director that has proven that he can get results regardless of budgetary hurdles. It would seem that investing in ISU athletics under Prettyman would be money well-spent.

• MVC should see light on DBU – In the credit where credit is due department, the MVC owes Dallas Baptist’s baseball team a big thank you.

Without DBU on the schedule, it’s unlikely the league would have been the fifth-best in the nation RPI-wise. DBU’s RPI was in the 20s and ISU benefited more than most. Winning its series against DBU in April might have been the tipping point that helped the Sycamores to be chosen for the NCAA Tournament.

DBU showed interest in joining the league in the late 2000s. The league and the Patriots agreed to a two-year probationary period where DBU was added to the MVC essentially as a shadow school.

DBU played most league opponents – Illinois State was a notable exception – home-and-home during the 2011 and 2012 seasons. DBU played some teams in a one-year agreement. ISU played in Dallas in 2011 and hosted the Patriots this season.

During the probationary period, however, the winds of college realignment pushed DBU towards membership with other Texas schools in the Western Athletic Conference. It appeared the MVC’s flirtation with DBU would amount to a short-lived affair rather than a long-term relationship.

But since then, the WAC has imploded. The Texas schools that made the WAC attractive to DBU have all gone elsewhere thanks to their established or burgeoning football programs. The football-less Patriots need a home and the MVC should make a run at them again.

Why is DBU attractive? Put simply, it’s been one of the better college baseball teams in the last five years. The Patriots played in a Super Regional in 2011 and were on the cusp again as of this writing as they were to play TCU in a regional championship game on Monday night.

To solidify the quality of baseball in the MVC, it would seem that DBU’s addition would be a no-brainer. But in the Byzantine political world of the MVC with its coaches, administrators and presidents often at cross-purposes, nothing is that simple.

Despite DBU’s track record and its benefit to the MVC in 2012, there is still resistance to their membership. I’ve talked to a lot of league sources about the topic and the amount of stories put out there as to who’s for or against what boggles the mind. It’s often portrayed as an East (against DBU) vs. West (for DBU) school divide, but it’s not that simple.

Few want to talk specifics on the record, but the reasons cited for not including DBU are many.

Some cite financial burden of travel, some have to do with competitive balance (with a few coaches allegedly concerned that the bar will be raised in the league, thus jeopardizing their jobs), some have to do with geography, some cite the short period of DBU success, some involve agendas that have nothing to do with athletics at all – such as DBU’s religious affiliation.

There are allegedly schools that have professed support of DBU membership publicly via coach and administrator, but have opposed membership at the presidential level.

It’s messy, and for the good of the league, it’s time to cut through the bull and see what’s mutually beneficial for every league member.

If DBU is still interested, the proof is in the pudding as to how it benefited the MVC in 2012. DBU’s participation in the league schedule raised everyone’s ship with its tide. At-large bids for the MVC didn’t become a possibility in 2012, they became reality.

ISU coach Rick Heller and Prettyman both saw the benefit and both told me they’re in favor of DBU’s addition. Heller has been an advocate from the beginning.

It’s time for the league’s schools to stop worrying about their own fiefdoms for a moment and realize that they and the league overall is better with DBU in it.

Go get ‘em.

Todd Golden is sports editor of the Tribune-Star. He can be reached at (812) 231-4272 or todd.golden@tribstar.com. Please follow him on Twitter @TribStarTodd.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
From the Press Box
  • Todd Golden: Elite athletes? TH bows to no one

    Maybe instead of a new swimming complex, Terre Haute ought to built itself an ice rink. I mean no disrespect to swimming, but ice hockey is the only sport that Terre Haute can’t unequivocally claim an elite athlete in.

    April 23, 2014

  • SPT 101406 WALTMAN PRACTIC.jpg TODD GOLDEN: Waltman's integrity helped him rise to the top

    When I began to think about former Indiana State coach Royce Waltman — and I’ve thought about him a lot in recent months as the ravages of a stroke and cancer robbed us of his presence — I thought to myself “what can I print?”
    Waltman was many things. Blunt, plain-spoken, unfiltered? All of the above and more. Every Indiana State fan saw Waltman in action … and I had a front row seat for three years right next to him on press row.

    April 8, 2014 3 Photos 1 Story

  • SPT 040514 COACH HANNAHS.jpg FROM THE PRESS BOX: Missouri Valley is tough — ISU making it tougher

    For those who measure the quality of a conference by their place in the Ratings Percentage Index, it was a tough year for the Missouri Valley Conference and its marquee sport: men’s basketball.
    The MVC was 11th in conference RPI and took all manner of criticism when Wichita State ran the MVC table for a perfect 18-0 season. The fingers that pointed at the league for fielding a weak challenge to the Shockers’ dominance were many.

    April 5, 2014 2 Photos

  • TODD GOLDEN: ISU's no-excuses approach for real

    If you were to ask me what the drawback of covering Indiana State baseball is? I’d be hard-pressed to name very much.

    March 29, 2014

  • SPT 030914 ODUM BAKER.jpg Todd Golden: Sycamores ran with the best

    It’s hard to run with Secretariat. Secretariat, for the uninitiated, won horse racing’s Triple Crown in 1973 and famously stormed to victory in the Belmont Stakes by an unfathomable 31 lengths. Secretariat is widely considered to be the greatest thoroughbred of all time, and his Belmont performance is one of sports’ all-time greatest moments. In Missouri Valley Conference terms, Wichita State is Secretariat.

    March 10, 2014 2 Photos

  • SPT 030814 ODUM GRAB.jpg FROM THE PRESS BOX: Odum rises to WSU challenge

    When you’re getting ready to play the No. 2 team in the country — the undefeated No. 2 team in the country and the best Missouri Valley Conference team in a generation — the unwritten rule says you’re not supposed to rile them. That you’re not supposed to poke the hornet’s nest.

    March 9, 2014 2 Photos 2 Stories

  • MBBMock_packagephoto.jpg From The Press Box: The nuts and bolts of compiling a Mock Selection for the NCAA Tournament

    Before March Madness comes the March mystery of the run-up to Selection Sunday.

    February 17, 2014 3 Photos 1 Link

  • SPT 020514 ISU FANS STAND.jpg From the Press Box: Loss couldn’t ruin great day for ISU, Terre Haute

    When I write, and when I can, I like to give myself a bit of time to soak in what I’m going to write about. After Indiana State’s 65-58 loss to No. 4 Wichita State on Wednesday, I went home, had a bite to eat and pondered what I thought the night was all about.
    I knew ISU’s disappointment cut deep. Really deep. A cruel reality of sports is that losses linger on in the memory with greater resonance than wins often do. Given the shots that rattled out, fell short and missed the mark in the final five minutes, this is a defeat that will, sadly, dog the Sycamores tonight, tomorrow and 20 years from now.

    February 6, 2014 2 Photos

  • FROM THE PRESS BOX: Little to lose, a lot to gain for Indiana State

    It’s hard not to get excited about today’s Missouri Valley Conference summit meeting between co-leaders Indiana State and Wichita State. Who wouldn’t be?

    January 17, 2014

  • From the Press Box: I’ve seen the enemy … and it’s the double bonus

    I’ve seen the enemy.
    I’ve seen it turn the game of basketball from one of exciting flow into a nonstop parade of tedium. I’ve seen it morph hundreds of what would-be thrilling, last-minute, end-to-end conclusions into foul shooting exhibitions that suck the life out of a gym or arena near you.
    It’s the double bonus. It’s a scourge, one that is often overlooked when ideas on how to make the game more entertaining or to speed the game up are put forth.

    January 3, 2014

  • tsgolden From The Press Box: If ISU figures out defense, look out

    The Great Alaska Shootout is not going to provide the Great RPI Bump that Indiana State’s participation in last year’s Diamond Head Classic provided.

    December 1, 2013 1 Photo

  • From the Press Box: Damage is done for ISU football

    As a parent and a professional, there’s a bit of advice I’ve tried to pass along that I’ve found to be true.
    No matter what you happen to be doing — whether it be job performance or just your own personal behavior — you can do the right thing for a period of time, even the vast majority of the time, but all it takes is one slip and the goodwill you’ve built up can be gone in one fell swoop.
     

    November 24, 2013

  • TODD GOLDEN: Munn, Odum want to make paper accomplishment a real one

    When it comes to Missouri Valley Conference Media Day, it has historically been a kick in the gut for Indiana State's basketball teams.
    But not this year. For the first time since formal MVC preseason polls began in the mid-1980s, the Sycamores rule the MVC roost.

    October 31, 2013

  • tsgolden TODD GOLDEN: Colts fans paid Manning ultimate tribute

    Peyton Manning’s return to Indianapolis was many things — the return of a beloved prodigal son, a battle of Colts’ No. 1-draft-pick quarterbacks and last, but not least, the visit from one of the AFC’s last reminaing undefeated teams — but most of all, it could have been a battle for the Colts’ fans soul.

    October 21, 2013 1 Photo

  • From The Press Box: ISU in top 2 of top-heavy MVC

    Change doesn’t often come to Missouri Valley Conference basketball. Until this season, it had endured with the same 10 members since the mid-1990s. But the reality of conference realignment finally hit the MVC where it lived last spring as Creighton departed for the new Big East Conference. The MVC responded by adding Loyola University.

    October 13, 2013

  • USDvISfb-84468.jpg FROM THE PRESS BOX: Sycamores shocked by 1-5 start to season

    It was a play that not only symbolized Indiana State’s 17-14 loss at South Dakota on Saturday, but perhaps the Sycamores’ entire season.
    Down three with 6:39 left in the fourth quarter, ISU faced third-and-9 from its own 39. ISU ran Shakir Bell to the left and the senior standout had daylight.

    October 12, 2013 1 Photo

  • SPT 091513 GRIMES PICK.jpg From The Press Box: An avoidable loss

    It couldn’t last forever.

    September 15, 2013 3 Photos

  • From The Press Box: Colts dodge bullets ... it's what they do

    Just a few minutes into the second quarter, it seemed Colts fans could kick back and enjoy a Sunday on Easy Street.

    September 9, 2013

  • SPT 090713 SANFORD HAZELL.jpg FROM THE PRESS BOX: Indiana State proves plenty in 20-14 loss at Purdue

    No moral victories?
    Bull. Its always been bull and it will always be bull. The Sycamores proved again that moral victories are very real, and can be very rewarding.
    All they needed to do to prove it was to look at the stunned faces of the Purdue faithful at Ross-Ade Stadium in the Sycamores’ near-miss 20-14 loss to Purdue.

    September 8, 2013 4 Photos

  • From the Press Box: Stipends? No. Off-field income? Oh yeah, bring it on

    The war flags have been raised. The trumpets have sounded.
    With the Johnny Manziel autograph hullabaloo and the ongoing Ed O’Bannon suit against the NCAA for using his likeness as background, many have rallied to the battle standard of stipends as a means of compensating NCAA athletes who are allegedly being exploited for income by their universities.
    This rally cry has a particular resonance among those in my profession, many of whom dislike the current system, and who detest the NCAA with a virulent passion.

    August 15, 2013

  • TODD GOLDEN: Golf ... the beast within?

    Like many sports fans, my interest in professional golf is confined to the four major tournaments. Many prefer the Masters, some like the back-to-roots British Open, but I’ve always liked the U.S. Open the best.

    June 16, 2013

  • McNichols and Swift 1.jpg FROM THE PRESS BOX: Close, but no cigar, theme for ISU sports in 2012-13

    When I covered my first event of Indiana State’s 2012-13 season — ISU’s opening football game at Indiana — I was the first one in the press box at IU’s Memorial Stadium. I’m never the first one in the press box.
    Maybe the prospect of ISU’s season had me so pumped that I decided to get it started close to three hours early? (Or more truthfully, maybe I was over-vigilent about predicted traffic horrors on the Indiana 46 bypass that never came to pass.)

    June 9, 2013 4 Photos

  • TODD GOLDEN: Don't give up on ISU baseball just yet

    If you had to pick one word that would describe the 2013 Indiana State baseball season, it would have to be frustration.

    May 16, 2013

  • FROM THE PRESSBOX: Content McKenna has enjoyed seeing ISU's progress

    It all happened so fast in June 2010.
    One minute, Kevin McKenna was head coach of the Indiana State men’s basketball program. Then — poof! — he was gone.
    McKenna resigned from his head coaching position at ISU on June 13, 2010 to take an assistant coach position on Dana Altman’s then-burgeoning University of Oregon staff.

    March 31, 2013

  • MVC can't wait on Crieghton to move forward

    Will they go or not? That’s been the question that the Missouri Valley Conference and Creighton have been faced with since rumors of the Bluejays’ potential exit went public in December.

    March 15, 2013

  • SPT 020613 ISU 3 JUBI.jpg FROM THE PRESSBOX: Can Sycamores reverse fortunes heading into MVC Tournament?

    Mastery of a basketball season comes in many forms. Mostly, it comes in forms that involve avoidance of turnovers, anemic scoring and poor defense.
    The mechanics of X-and-O success in basketball are obvious, but what’s often overlooked in building a successful campaign is managing the rhythm of the season, which is the hardest thing of all.

    March 6, 2013 1 Photo

  • FROM THE PRESS BOX: Accountability isn't Lansing's alone in ISU's recent struggles

    Taking ownership has always been one of Indiana State men’s basketball coach Greg Lansing’s strengths.
    When ISU has lost games in his three seasons at the helm that it was expected to win, Lansing has always been willing to fall on the sword and take blame for it.

    February 17, 2013

  • tsgolden TODD GOLDEN: Indiana State has far more occasions to rise to

    Rejoice, Indiana State basketball fans. The Sycamores’ 68-55 victory at No. 15 Wichita State on Tuesday is worthy of celebration.

    January 31, 2013 1 Photo

  • SPT012613 ISUMBBmhurin1.jpg TODD GOLDEN: Big plays in last 10 minutes story of the season for Indiana State

    You’d think I’d have learned by now.
    It’s 20 games into Indiana State’s men’s basketball season and I still expect the Sycamores’ offense operate like a well-oiled machine from the opening tip.

    January 27, 2013 4 Photos

  • Sycamores blossom on Hawaii trip

    Quick quiz … what’s the state flower of Hawaii?
    Don’t worry. I can’t just rattle state flowers off the top of my head. I had to look it up too, even though I’ve seen them all over the place in Honolulu.
    I didn’t even know that Indiana’s state flower is the peony, which replaced the apparently unloved zinnia in the 1950s.
    Hawaii’s flower, and they’re ubiquitous in Waikiki tourist shops and in actual flora on Oahu, is the yellow hibiscus.
    The yellow hibiscus is big, bold and bright. I’ve never seen one blossom, but I imagine it has to be a beautiful sight.
    What I have seen blossom — and it’s the only reason flowers would be brought up in my column — is the Indiana State basketball team at the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic.

    December 25, 2012

Latest News
TribStar.com Poll
AP Video
Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem U.S. Paratroopers in Poland, Amid Ukraine Crisis Raw: Obama Arrives in Japan for State Visit Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye' Raw: Deadly Bombing in Egypt S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart Air Force: $4.2B Saved From Grounding A-10s Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India Raw: Violence Erupts in Rio Near Olympic Venue Raw: Anti-Obama Activists Fight Manila Police Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly Cubs Superfans Celebrate Wrigley's 100th Admirers Flock to Dole During Kansas Homecoming Raw: Erupting Volcanoes in Guatemala and Peru Obama to Oso: We'll Be Here As Long As It Takes 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter Video Shows Possible Syrian Gas Attack Raw: Cattle Truck Overturns in Texas US Reviews Clemency for Certain Inmates
NDN Video
Michael Strahan's First Day on "GMA" Amazon's Deal With HBO Leapfrogs Streaming Rivals Stephen Colbert Tells David Letterman His Plan for 'Late Show' Georgetown police officer filmed tripping students Viral: It's Not Pitbull - It's Amy Poehler! Recycling Highlights for Earth Day Lupita Nyong'o Named People's 'Most Beautiful' Peeps Launched into Outer Space NYPD's Twitter Request For Photos Backfires New HBO Go Commercials Capture Awkward Family TV Watching Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India Rise of the Milkbots Jenna Dewan-Tatum Strips Down TRENDING: Brian Williams Raps 'Gin and Juice' on ‘Tonight Show’ Middle School heroes rescue students from burning bus WHOPPER OF FISHING STORY: Florida man catches massive Mako shark Maks Chmerkovskiy's "DWTS" Meltdown The many faces of Mike Woodson Ape Builds A Fire And Toasts Marshmallows In Amazing BBC Video Manchester Utd sack manager David Moyes
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -

     

    March 12, 2010

activity