IUSF’s actions are turning the unique and amazing experience of Little 500, cited by many as the high point of their college years, into a bad memory to be actively forgotten for at least several individuals involved here.
It seems an act of hubris in response to having been legally recorded and held accountable for one’s words — while at the same time, we are all tracked by surveillance cameras and even our own devices constantly. Tom Schwoegler has been a great friend to the event and has mentored countless riders over five decades with no compensation and seldom even a word of thanks from the IU Student Foundation.
Those who made this decision have reigned for a tiny fraction of that time, and seem to lack perspective of the bigger picture. They have made this about themselves, which they have the power to do, but not without consequences.
The race is losing participation, and it is not too late to reverse this decision and mitigate the consequences. A show of solidarity and sportsmanship by the other teams to wait out the penalty en masse alongside the affected team would be an effective protest, and I expect to see that.
Teachable indeed. It would not look good for IUSF and would force an additional spotlight to the situation in media coverage. It also would be bad for the future of the event, a crown jewel of IU that is in decline due in part to decisions like this. The way to turn off this bad public relations that is about to play out? In the spirit of this great event, reverse the decision, allow the team to ride without a penalty and allow its coach to guide them on race day.
There are no losers in this solution.
Little 500 Alumnus 1978-81