IU Coach Kevin Wilson is out as IU football coach after six seasons, the program confirmed December 1, 2016. Defensive Coordinator Tom Allen was named his permanent replacement.
IU Athletics Director Fred Glass said at a press conference the decision was not due to on-field performance or NCAA compliance issues.
Glass accepted Wilson’s resignation after a meeting at 8:30 a.m. December 1, where philosophical differences about the leadership of the program led to an agreement to part ways.
“There is no smoking gun or single precipitating event that led to where we are today,” Glass said. “I think it’s really a realization by myself and Kevin that we’re just not on the same page about some of what I view as key ways of how the program needs to be led.”
As news broke of Wilson’s departure, former IU players spoke to the Indiana Daily Student claiming Wilson was abusive. Several players said Wilson forced athletes to play through injuries and created a culture of fear in trainers and players to report injuries.
Laray Smith, who played at IU from 2013-15, said Wilson pressured players to play through injuries.
He said he had an injury to his back during his freshman year. The team told him it was just a bruise, but doctors told Smith he had a blood clot. Wilson still pressured Smith to play.
“Once you were hurt, he didn’t care about you,” Smith said.
He went on to say Wilson was mentally abusive to players by putting them down more than just to motivate them.
Former IU walk-on Kyle Loechel defended Wilson and said Wilson left it up to the medical staff if a player could play or not.
“I mean they wouldn’t let you sit out for a petty injury, but I never saw anyone truly get pressured to play injured,” Loechel said. “It’s true that if you couldn’t physically play then all the coaches kind of forget about you, not just Wilson.”
Plenty more current and former players took to Twitter to defend Wilson, too.
Former IU kicker Mitch Ewald posted a note saying Wilson never forced anyone to play injured and went out of his way to make sure Ewald got rest at times. He said Wilson didn’t allow drugs and enforced going to class.
“He built a winning program,” Ewald wrote. “He’s the best coach I ever had.”
Senior receiver Isaac Griffith tweeted thanking Wilson for helping him become a better man.
Still, one former IU player went as far as to say every player injured during his time under Wilson was forced to play earlier than they would have liked.
He said when a player was injured in practice, trainers would be scared to tell Wilson because Wilson would cuss the trainers out in his office and then storm to the trainer’s room to cuss out the player.
Players, coaches, tutors and counselors walked on eggshells around Wilson with the fear he could snap at any moment.
A current IU player said he was unaware of any of this. He said he first heard about it Thursday via Twitter.
Wilson, who signed a six-year extension in January, was set to make $2.15 million in 2016. As part of his resignation he will receive a one year salary of $542,000.
Andrew Hussey and Taylor Lehman contributed reporting to this story.