INDIANAPOLIS — The chants echoed throughout Assembly Hall. They were audible on TV. On radio, too.
“(Bleep) you, Haarms!”
“(Bleep) you, Haarms!”
“They were all over me. It was bad,” Purdue center Matt Haarms said of the fans’ taunts. “It’s always bad. It’s bad at Michigan, at Michigan State, at Maryland, at Iowa, but not like this.”
“I heard them saying something, but I was probably the only fool in the whole arena not to hear it,” Matt Painter told 1070 the Fan’s Dan Dakich on Wednesday. “After watching it on tape, I hear it now. … It’s high-level, competitive rivalry game, things are going to happen.”
Indiana athletic director Fred Glass called his counterpart at Purdue, Mike Bobinski, and apologized for the profane chants.
On Wednesday, Indiana Athletics sent an email to student season-ticket holders, commending them for their passion, but reminding them that IU expects respectful and sportsmanlike behavior.
“The profane chants directed at a specific Purdue player were not part of your positive contributions,” Glass wrote to student season-ticket holders. “They were embarrassing and unacceptable and reflected poorly on you and Indiana University. Knock off the profane chants, and please help those around you do the same. You and Indiana University are better than that.”
There’s no denying the passion when it comes to the IU-Purdue rivalry. Heck, at every Purdue game, football or basketball, the student section chants “IU Sucks!” But when does it go too far?
One particular former Hoosier thinks last night went too far.
Tuesday was far from the first time college students have directed profanity or vulgarities at opposing teams or players. And it’s certainly not an issue isolated to Bloomington. At IU, P.A. announcer Chuck Crabb will ask fans to remain passionate but be respectful or the team could be assessed a technical foul.
The pep band or pre-recorded music will sometimes be used in an attempt to drown out profane chants, but that only helps in dead-ball situations. The Big Ten has rules about playing music during game action.
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In 2009, Tom Crean implored fans to be better after some targeted Maryland’s Grevis Vazquez with a sexist, derogatory chant. Crean tried to get fans to quit the chant during game action and addressed it in his postgame comments.
“First things first, I love our fans and I love our students. We come to the games and we cheer like crazy for our team and we can be obnoxious and we can be nasty and we can cheer against the other team,” Crean said.
“But we never use vulgarity against an opponent. That is not what happened at Indiana in the past and it’s certainly not going to happen under my watch.
“We have too much pride, too many great students, too many tradition-based things here for anything to turn it the other way,” Crean said. “And nobody deserves that. We have to find a way to be obnoxious without being vulgar because we are too good for that.”
Last February, Virginia Tech coach Buzz Peterson grabbed the P.A. microphone at the scorer’s table and asked Hokies fans to “quit cussing” during their game against Duke.
The Indianapolis Star’s Zach Osterman contributed to this story.