Indiana football and basketball beat writer Zach Osterman released a piece Saturday afternoon detailing one instance of Wilson and the training staff forcing a player, Nick Carovillano, to continue practicing despite suffering an injury.
According to Carovillano, his injury came during a collision in practice in September of 2014.
Carovillano approached a team trainer, who asked if the pain were radiating down into his legs. When he said no, the trainer told him he wouldn’t treat the injury, Nick told IndyStar. In an email to IU officials, detailing his son’s story, Dean Carovillano said his son was later told by trainers to address persistent pain from the injury with extra stretching, and was told he had shin splints.
“I approached a different trainer in week two of my injury, saying I’m starting to get pain down my leg, my back still hurts,” Nick Carovillano told IndyStar. “Basically, they’re just kind of giving me the run-around, saying I’m not hurt. ‘You’re being soft. There’s nothing wrong with you.’”
Carovillano returned home to Cincinnati on an off-weekend where he visited a local doctor who immediate told him to stop playing football.
While rehabbing his injury, Carovillano was relegated to a tent on one end of the field where injured players rehabbed and did workouts.
The workouts, Carovillano said, were always designed with players’ injuries in mind, and he believed them safe. But, he said, Wilson’s attitude toward players in the tent demoralized him.
“He would come over and yell at us, saying, ‘I’m paying $70,000 a year for you to sit on your ass,’” Nick Carovillano said. “That happened about halfway through the season and carried on to the end of it. If you were injured, he just wanted to make you feel like crap. He just wanted to make you feel bad, so you basically would stop being injured.”
“It just seemed like I wasn’t welcome there, and I was kind of considered a disappointment to them,” he said. “I injured myself playing for them. I wasn’t starting at all. Everything I was doing was for the betterment of the team. You get injured, and the whole attitude changes toward you.”
Carovillano would eventually leave the program and school in early April of 2015 before his father would file a complaint that led to an investigation by an outside law firm.
The investigation, which concluded on May 1, determined that the coaching staff had not pressured the medical staff into making any judgements on Carovillano’s injury. However, Glass still was not pleased, issuing a memo to Wilson.
But, Glass wrote, “even within the unique culture of football, there were behaviors that may create an unhealthy environment for injured players. This last conclusion was based on a variety of findings, including your own admission that you made jokes to injured players or implied that they are not useful members of the team.
“Some players said that they felt pressure or witnessed coaches pressuring others and indicated that they found it depressing and demoralizing to have coaches make such comments when they were already frustrated with their injuries. It was found that coaches appear to push players to work harder than they should when they have injuries that are unconfirmed by an outside test.”
Glass and Wilson met two weeks after the investigation’s results were released where Glass reiterated his point.
...on May 13, Glass met with Wilson again, this time to discuss conclusions from the investigation and steps to be taken. In a memorandum Glass wrote to Wilson after the meeting he noted that Wilson had admitted to him that he “made jokes to injured players about their injuries or implied that they were not useful members of the team.”
“As head football coach,” Glass wrote, “you are directly responsible for the welfare of your student-athletes. Accordingly, any comments attributed to you and your staff, whether said in jest or not, which have the effect of pressuring or demeaning injured players are completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated.” Glass warned that further such statements or actions would “subject you and your staff to disciplinary action.”
Perhaps the most insightful quote of the story came from Glass, who admitted that Wilson had “run out of chances.”
“If these issues had been in a vacuum, they would’ve been the kinds of things we could’ve worked through,” Glass said. “It wasn’t the first time I dealt with these issues. There comes a time when you run out of chances.”
The IndyStar has placed a public records request on the more recent investigation conducted by an outside law firm, though that information has not yet been released.