Philosophical differences. Apparently that's what brought Kevin Wilson's six-season tenure at Indiana to an end on Thursday.
After reports of Wilson's firing filtering in throughout the day Thursday, Indiana athletics director Fred Glass announced Thursday night that Wilson resigned from his position not a year after agreeing to a six-year contract extension in January.
Glass was incredibly vague throughout his lengthy press conference, alluding solely to general disagreements he and Wilson had over the leadership of the football program. Wilson will receive his base salary of around a half a million dollars over the next year but won't get anywhere close to the approximately $11 million left on his recently extended deal.
Succeeding Wilson not in an interim role but as the new permanent head football coach of the Hoosiers is defensive coordinator Tom Allen, who did a great job transforming a formerly paper-thin defense into a solid unit in just his first season with the program. Glass said Allen has a six-year deal as the new head coach.
Reports Thursday indicated the situation involving Wilson might have been a replay of the one that played out a year ago in Champaign, when Tim Beckman was fired as the head football coach at Illinois after an investigation into that program found support for claims that Beckman mistreated his players by forcing them to play while injured and holding an inappropriate amount of influence over the training staff.
Glass didn't do much to directly respond to those reports during his press conference but did emphasize that an outside law firm did take a look at the Indiana program and found no medical wrongdoing and that the program's medical staff was doing exactly what it was supposed to be doing, seemingly dismissing the idea that Wilson was doing the same kind of things Beckman was at Illinois.
Glass: “We had some outside people help us take a hard look at where we are with some concerns that had been raised.” #B1GTalk— Big Ten Talk (@NBCSBigTen) December 1, 2016
Glass: “A major conclusion of that report was that medical care was not compromised in the program at all.” #B1GTalk— Big Ten Talk (@NBCSBigTen) December 1, 2016
Glass said there was no "smoking gun" or "precipitating event" that led to the separation between Wilson and Indiana. Glass did make some comments that might've been in the ballpark of condemning an old-school approach to coaching, one Wilson was described as having by outside observers Thursday on social media. But that could also be reading into something that's not there.
Glass: “What might be OK in an industry isn’t necessarily OK here (at IU).” #B1GTalk— Big Ten Talk (@NBCSBigTen) December 1, 2016
Glass: “Proud to be part of an institution that puts what it believes to be the right thing ahead of competitive success.” #B1GTalk— Big Ten Talk (@NBCSBigTen) December 1, 2016
Glass failed to move beyond the "philosophical differences" line, saying that issues between him and Wilson he thought were behind them — enough so to give the coach a six-year contract extension less than a year ago — bubbled up again recently.
The mention of "a pretty good run" seemed somewhat flippant considering Wilson was taking the Hoosiers to places they hadn't been in more than two decades. Indiana punched its ticket to a second consecutive bowl game with a win over rival Purdue last weekend, something this program hadn't done since 1991.
But again, Glass pointed to differences in the approach to leadership being the sticking point here, not football.
The end of an increasingly successful era for a program that has historically not experienced much success at all on the field perhaps stemmed from a not much more than a frayed relationship between an athletics director and a head football coach.