The Republic Masthead

Time for Hoosiers, Boilermakers to get with it


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Former Indiana offensive coordinator Seth Littrell knows a little something about value.

I doubt that Littrell, who made the Hoosiers one of the most powerful offensive forces in college football, read IUPUC assistant finance professor Ryan Brewer’s valuation study of college football programs and found out that North Carolina, at No. 44, was ranked two notches higher than Indiana.

Littrell, who took a basically lateral move by becoming the offensive coordinator last week at North Carolina, knows that when you are an assistant at Indiana, and the going is good, you need to get going.

If we look at Brewer’s fascinating study, which compared what all 116 FBS (Division I-A) schools would be worth on a fantasy open market, North Carolina and Indiana are virtually dead even.

In the real college football world, Littrell is betting his future on the fact that North Carolina has a better shot of success on the football field than Indiana. You don’t need a degree from Stanford (which has a football program that Brewer valued only three spots higher than Indiana) to understand that one.

Likewise, Purdue defensive backs coach Jon Heacock just took the Toledo defensive coordinator’s job. Sure, Heacock took over more responsibilities, but you might surmise he was jumping off a sinking ship.

Changing jobs in college coaching can be as common as changing socks. However, successful BCS conference teams tend to keep their quality personnel unless they receive substantially better offers. If Indiana truly has a football program worth $125.8 million, it should have found a way to keep Littrell.

I don’t know have the accounting, math or business skills to analyze Brewer’s study. It’s impressive, however, that athletics administrators around the country have taken notice.

At a glance, it appears Brewer has put together a Herculean effort to come to the conclusion that big market, BCS Conference teams are more valuable than small market, non-BCS conference ones. It’s kind of like the Stanford professor who got more than $200,000 in government funds to study why people use Internet dating services. Duh!

However, Brewer’s study is much more. It really could be used as an alert to universities like Indiana and Purdue that they are under performing.

Sure, both schools are in the top half of the top football programs in value. Then again, Indiana is ranked 10th in the Big Ten and Purdue is 11th. Illinois, by the way, comes in 12th in Brewer’s study at a worth of $94.5 million.

Indiana Athletic Director Fred Glass commented that Brewer’s study “does underscore the value and relative strength of Indiana University football.”

However, here’s hoping Glass takes something more important from Brewer’s study.

Indiana and Purdue are like the crummy houses on the expensive football block. If you were buying, you would snap them up because with a little landscaping and paint, their value would increase significantly.

Not just anyone is willing to do that work. To this point, Indiana certainly has had no interest in fixing up its

own home.

Fans of the Hoosiers, however, see that the program can be so much more. Brewer ranks Michigan No. 3 in college football value and Ohio State No. 4.

Why not Indiana? Why not Purdue?

Here’s hoping that Brewer’s study forces administrators to ask that question.

Jay Heater is The Republic sports editor. He can be reached at jheater@therepublic.com or 379-5632.

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