ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Coach Tom Crean is apologizing for an angry run-in with a Michigan assistant after Indiana University claimed the Big Ten regular season title for the first time in two decades with a dramatic 72-71 come-from-behind win at Michigan on Sunday.
Moments after Cody Zeller's go-ahead layup and strong defense to deny Trey Burke, Crean confronted Michigan assistant Jeff Meyer on the court. RTV6's cameras were rolling, capturing the confrontation.
Meyer was on IU coach Kelvin Sampson's staff when the school was hit with NCAA sanctions. The NCAA said Sampson and Meyer engaged in an impermissible recruiting contact during a two-day sports camp held at Assembly Hall in 2007.
"You know what you did," Crean shouted. "You helped wreck the program. You helped wreck our program."
Crean was also talking as he walked up to Meyer, but words other than what sounded like "classy" couldn't be made out. Crean grinned widely as he walked off the court after the confrontation, escorted by an IU assistant coach.
In a conference call ahead of this week's Big Ten Tournament, Crean addressed what he called his "professional misunderstanding" with Meyer.
"On the way to the plane actually, talked to him on the telephone. We discussed a couple of things. I apologized for that, and, in retrospect, I wish I never would have addressed anything after the heat of battle in a game," Crean told reporters. "But we move on, and that’s what I’ve done in that situation. End of story. Now our focus is completely on helping our team improve this week to get ready for Friday."
Sampson was forced to resign after the NCAA issued four violations to him and his staff for making improper phone calls to potential recruits.
Sampson was found to have made 577 impermissible calls from 2000 to 2004 at Oklahoma and was punished in May 2006, less than two months after taking the IU job. He was banned from calling recruits and making off-campus visits for a year.
IU entered a dark period brought on by sanctions. Crean has resurrected the program, now one of the favorites to win this year's NCAA Tournament.