Emmitt Holt left Indiana with no choice but to remove him from team

Emmitt Holt (USATSI)
Indiana’s Emmitt Holt has played his last game for the Hoosiers. (USATSI)

The news came Monday afternoon, via a release from Indiana’s sports information department, and it was hardly a surprise. Emmitt Holt’s time as a Hoosier is over — the result of an incident last weekend in which he was cited for illegal possession of alcohol.

Simply put, Indiana had to do this.

The school didn’t have any choice, all things considered.

Indiana athletic director Fred Glass basically said as much Monday.

“In Emmitt’s case, he had a situation … [where he hit] Devin Davis [with a vehicle last year after] … he had been drinking. It wouldn’t have been a violation if he was 21, but he wasn’t and he was cited,” Glass told Peegs.com, a website dedicated to covering IU sports. “It probably wasn’t his fault he hit Devin, but the fact remains that he ran into his best friend, splatted blood all across the asphalt. If that doesn’t scare a guy straight, what does?”

Fair question.

Regardless, fast-forward roughly 10 months, and …

“There he is with two freshmen with booze in a car, teaching them the wrong way to be an Indiana basketball player,” Glass continued. “He’s a veteran. Not only was he a part of [the incident last year], he heard me talk to him about it. He heard [IU coach] Tom [Crean] talk to him about it — that we weren’t messing around, that there would be serious consequences if something happened again.”

Which means …

“You don’t have any choice [but to dismiss him],” Glass said, and I couldn’t agree more.

For starters, Holt is a pretty mediocre college basketball player, long as we’re being honest, a former three-star recruit who only averaged 3.6 points and 3.0 rebounds last season. In other words, he’s not better than the problems he’s caused. So good riddance, young man.

But beyond that, and more importantly, Holt embarrassed the program again, and he did it when, as Glass implied, everybody understands there is essentially a zero-tolerance policy for repeat offenders at IU. We know this because the aforementioned Davis, and teammate Hanner Mosquera-Perea, were each dismissed earlier this offseason after being caught in a dorm with marijuana, which counted as a second off-the-court incident for both.

After watching two teammates be dismissed in May for a relatively minor offense, you’d think Holt would grasp, even if he had never grasped it before, that any similarly minor offense would also lead to his dismissal. And yet there he was late on a Friday night, still just 19 years old, riding around in a vehicle while illegally possessing a bottle of alcohol.

Again, independent of everything else, it’s probably not too big of a deal.

Millions of college kids, in some form, have done that.

But, as I pointed out in a column last week, no incident involving an Indiana basketball player these days is independent of everything else. Each little thing, no matter how small it is, will create a negative national headline that plays into a larger narrative about the program, and that narrative is that this is a program that is, for one reason or another, filled with players who can’t stop getting caught doing dumb and illegal things.

Like smoking in a dorm room.

Or drinking underage out in public.

And I honestly can’t even keep track anymore.

It must be completely exhausting for Crean, who, in fairness, cannot and should not escape responsibility. He is the head coach, after all. And every player on the roster is a player he recruited. So if they’re knuckleheads, they’re knuckleheads he enrolled.

Let’s not get it twisted.

But, that said, what’s the man supposed to do?

As Glass made clear, he and Crean have talked to the players over and over again, stressed to them the reputation they’ve created and explained why things must change. If they won’t listen, they won’t listen. But, if they won’t listen, they must pay a big price.

And so now they are.

Devin Davis and Hanner Mosquera-Perea were examples back in May.

Emmitt Holt is the latest.

And, for Indiana’s sake, I really do hope he’s the last.

Because, if not, that means there’s still at least one more dummy on IU’s roster.

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