In general, for major facilities, there will be a five-year waiting period after the death of any individual before considering his or her name for commemoration in naming a major facility. The five-year delay was instituted by Dr. Wells to ensure that buildings were not precipitously named in the first emotional outpourings after the death of a public figure. He preferred a more contemplative process to safeguard the reputation of both the individual and the institution, and to eliminate overlap and duplication of namings. At his request, this rule was observed in the naming of the Herman B Wells Library. (Image of Herman B Wells Library courtesy of Indiana University).
Could IU's naming policy be an obstacle?
By John M. IU
One thing to consider as some folks (including me) advocate naming the new end zone building after Terry Hoeppner is that IU's naming policy may make that impossible. I'm somewhat embarrassed that I didn't think of it before.
The policy distinguishes between Commemorative namings and Administrative namings and further sets forth a difference between naming of minor spaces (reading rooms, etc.), which can be approved by the university vice-president, and major administrative namings. Such major decisions require approval by the president, the board of trustees, and, a body you may not have known existed, the All-University Committee on Names. Cutting to the essence, here's the five year rule:
Perhaps that is why Rick Greenspan has been non-committal on the issue. While I don't think calling the new building the Hoeppner Center would seem like a rash decision five years down the road, if the university wouldn't make an exception for Herman Wells, I'm guessing that they won't for Hep, if this policy applies.
That is, it appears, a big if. The article doesn't say either way, but it doesn't seem that the athletic department has followed the five year rule. For instance, the soccer stadium was named after now-deceased IU Foundation president Bill Armstrong years before he died. The field at Bill Armstrong Stadium now bears the name of recently retired soccer coach Jerry Yeagley. The soon-to-be-replaced weight room bears the name of retired coach Bill Mallory. Certainly, the weight room might fall into the minor category and outside the authority of the Committee on Names, but the soccer field and stadium would seem sufficiently major. Again, the policy, based on my quick reading, doesn't seem to mention athletic facilities but also doesn't seem to specifically except them.
Finally, every time the five year rule comes up, someone says, "but what about Mellencamp Pavilion?" Even if the five year rule does apply to athletic facilities, clearly it's different when someone is writing checks, and the policy says as much.
EDIT: In a sure sign that I have taken one too many "Hutch got scooped again!" cheap shots, Terry Hutchens beat me to the punch on the naming policy issue.