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Column: We, as a society, have progressed past the need for Hoosier Bait

A Call for the end of a genre of Post.

NCAA Basketball: Indiana at Maryland Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

“issuing correction on a previous post of mine, regarding D*n D*kich. you do not, under any circumstances, “gotta hand it to ‘em”

Readers of this website know that Indiana basketball is one of the biggest, most valuable brands in the country, even when things aren’t going well.

In 2018, one year into the dullest era in men’s program history and the middle of a four year NCAA tournament drought, Indiana was still ranked the second most valuable college basketball brand in the country.

Over the last two years, Mike Woodson has done tremendous work to push the brand even further, landing elite high school recruits, booking a top musical act for Hoosier Hysteria, and, most importantly, building a winning basketball team.

For the most part, this has been a positive development for Indiana men’s basketball. Games against teams like Arizona and Kansas not only serve as a great measuring stick for a team with high ambitions, but put Indiana firmly back in the national stage, affirming the program as a destination for future recruits.

As I wrote last week, it’s also paying off for the current players, like Trayce Jackson-Davis and Jalen Hood-Schifino, who inked deals with Adidas as official NIL ambassadors. These guys came to Indiana to be in the spotlight and bring the program back to greatness, and they’ve largely had the opportunity to do so this season in front of record TV audiences and NBA scouts.

Unfortunately, the new prominence has also made Indiana an attractive target for disingenuous media opportunists like Dan Dakich and Jeff Goodman, who capitalize on Indiana’s desire for more coverage of their mighty Hoosiers.

I will not do them the dignity of linking their work here, but Goodman and Dakich in particular have a history of making publicly asinine takes for no reason other than driving up engagement with one of the most passionate fanbases in college sports. I call this kind of content Hoosier-bait, as it serves no purpose other than to upset fans to the point that they engage with the post.

Why else would you need a national podcast to host a Twitter Space dedicated to Indiana’s ceiling after literally every loss? What analytic value does anyone get from repeatedly asking Geo Baker what he thinks of Indiana?

To be completely fair, Goodman seems much more benign than Dakich, who has been de-platformed by multiple media outlets for harassing journalists, high school coaches, and college players alike. That said, there’s no reason for somebody like Goodman to amplify Dakich at this point, as he did today when he endorsed Dakich’s interview of Tom Crean.

While I cannot personally prevent these guys from posting this kind of content, I can do my best to ignore it and prevent their articles and podcasts from reaching wider audiences. This means not linking to their work, not engaging with it on Twitter (even if it means passing an epic dunk opportunity), and ignoring these “commentators” to the best of my ability.

I haven’t been perfect at this, and you can see as much if you scroll a few weeks back on my timeline to when I called out Jeff Goodman for calling Woodson a bad hire. Going forward though, I think it’s best to stop engaging with these guys at all, letting their Hoosier nonsense drift harmlessly into the online void.

If the clicks dry up, they’ll have no more incentive to post or record their insane takes and the world will be a better place. I will do my part to help demonetize this Indiana-baiting to the best of my ability, and I encourage you to do the same.