Indiana football, by its very design, is odd.
It isn’t the first sport to come to mind when you think of IU and its iconic moments are few and far between.
In the past this oddity has taken the form of everything that could go wrong doing just that in the closing minutes of a close game against Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, etc. It was a charming little quirk to the outside observer and a source of eternal pain for those unfortunate enough to be invested.
But this... whatever is happening at Memorial Stadium right now is an all-new type of weird. Setting the standard of unnatural in the realm of high-level college football.
Indiana fired offensive coordinator Walt Bell in the morning following its drubbing at Maryland. Immediately, Rod Carey was hired as his replacement. Which, duh, every program has a guy who can step up as an interim in the event of a firing.
Huh? What’s that? There isn’t an interim tag? Huh, weird, maybe they gave him a weird contra- IT’S WORTH HOW MUCH MONEY???
Yes, dearest reader. Not only did Indiana hire an offensive coordinator midseason (the last guy was in week five of year two) but it also made him the highest-earning man to ever have that title in Bloomington.
Per Zach Osterman of the Indianapolis Star, Rod Carey’s name is on a deal than runs through Dec. 31, 2025 worth approximately $815,000 per year. No Indiana assistant has ever made that kind of cash before, ever.
He was hired midseason. Nobody was bidding against Indiana, he was already in the building.
There are bonuses within the contract that can push that number all the way up to $1 million, a number nearly reached by Kalen DeBoer back in 2019. His base salary was $15,000 less than Carey’s. If Carey is dismissed along with the firing of the program’s head coach, currently Tom Allen, he’d be owed everything he’s been guaranteed through the following June.
And that’s not all folks.
Despite this record-breaking contract, Carey still makes less money than the offensive coordinators at
- Ohio State
- Michigan State
I think you get the point. Most money in program history doesn’t really do much against the rest of the Big Ten. And Walt Bell was making even less.
Indiana elevated Carey, who hasn’t been an offensive coordinator in over a decade, to the job on a full-time basis in the middle of the season. No national search, just finding a guy in the building which sounds Incredibly Familiar.
Doing so after hiring a new wide receivers coach this offseason (the third different guy in as many seasons) for what appeared to be his familiarity with Walt Bell and his system. Bell introduced Anthony Tucker at the latter’s first press conference this offseason.
The only other similar, recent instance that comes to mind is Jeff Saturday taking over the Colts. Which is obviously, still, a very different scenario than this.
There’s nothing to say about this move other than how extremely strange it is. We don’t know what Carey’s system will look like at Indiana and we won’t this season.
It’s all so very Indiana football. And it’s still only week six.