In his nine-year tenure as Indiana coach, Tom Crean scheduled a remarkable 23 non-league opponents who finished the season with an RPI of 300 or worse.
Crean’s successor will have a financial incentive not to continue that practice.
Archie Miller will receive a $125,000 bonus each time his non-league schedule does not include more than one opponent who finished the previous season with an RPI above 300, the Indianapolis Star reported Tuesday after obtaining a copy of the newly hired Indiana coach’s contract. Miller agreed to a seven-year contract in April that will pay him at least $24 million.
The purpose of the non-conference scheduling clause in Miller’s contract is to appease Indiana ticket holders who were dissatisfied with the quality of the home slate in November and December the past few years.
Last season, for example, Indiana hosted the likes of Mississippi Valley State (334), SIU Edwardsville (333), Delaware State (332) and UMass Lowell (309). The Hoosiers also played only one home game before Big Ten play against an opponent that finished the season 150th or better in the RPI.
Shrewd scheduling should make it easy for Miller to obtain that bonus every year without putting his team in undue jeopardy of a bad early season loss. All he has to do is buy a few home games against teams who were in the high 200s in the RPI the previous year, still typically easy wins yet not quite as unpalatable as some of the matchups Crean annually scheduled.
It doesn’t appear Miller will be eligible to receive that bonus next season. Among the teams Indiana has already agreed to host are Howard and South Florida, both of whom finished last season 300th or worse in the RPI.
Miller has a reputation for strong non-conference schedules from his Dayton tenure, though playing top non-league foes is more of a necessity for an Atlantic 10 school than one in the Big Ten. Miller has already expressed interest in restarting the Kentucky series at Indiana and in potentially scheduling older brother Sean’s Arizona program down the road as well.
– – – – – – –