Big 10 Presidents Back Myles Brand

Friday, September 22nd 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The presidents of the other Big Ten universities are standing behind Indiana's Myles Brand on his decision to fire basketball coach Bob Knight.

All 10 other presidents, joined by the heads of three national higher education associations, published a full-page announcement in Friday's Chicago Tribune backing Brand's decision to dismiss Knight and praising Indiana's trustees for supporting his leadership.

Their announcement endorses ``the difficult but necessary exercise of presidential authority'' in firing Knight.

The controversy surrounding Knight's behavior had begun to eclipse the university's academic mission, the presidents said.

``The exercise of presidential leadership to counter such situations is critical. Even popular and successful coaches must observe institutional chain of command and be bound by values and policies of the institutions they serve,'' the statement said.

After Knight was fired Sept. 10, Brand and other administrators were the targets of jeering and threats from the coach's defenders.

Knight's departure sparked campus protests that drew more than 2,000 students. Demonstrators burned effigies and knocked over light poles outside the president's residence.

At one point, Brand and his wife, were driven from their campus home. Peg Brand, a philosophy professor at the school, taught classes with a police officer at her side.

The intensity of the reaction to Knight's firing prompted university leaders to make a public show of support for presidential control of college athletics, said Stanley Ikenberry, president of the American Council on Education and former president of the University of Illinois.

``This statement is directed to presidents and boards nationally and not confined to the public debate taking place in the State of Indiana,'' Ikenberry said.

Also signing the statement were heads of the Association of American Universities and the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges.