Q&A: Josh Tucker

Last Wednesday, after the NCAA released a report charging Indiana coach Kelvin Sampson with recruiting violations for making impermissible phone calls and lying to investigators, Indiana took on Wisconsin in Bloomington. With the campus buzzing, Josh Tucker -- a 31-year-old lifelong Hoosier fan -- decided to stir the pot by wearing a T-shirt that read "Bring Bobby Back." After being asked twice by security to take off the shirt (he did and put it back on both times), Tucker became an instant celebrity. SIOC's Rama Sibhoda sat down with Tucker to discuss the incident, Indiana hoops and a potential lawsuit against IU:

SIOC: So, what happened the night of the IU-Wisconsin game?

JT: Five minutes after I got to my seat a security guard came over and told me to remove my shirt. I had one shirt on and another in my hand. The guard said it was offensive and I asked who it was offensive to. He wouldn't tell me, he just demanded that I take it off. I took it off because the game was getting good, then after halftime I put the shirt on again and gave the other to my friend who was with me to wear. The same guard came back and argued with us for five minutes, threatening to have us thrown out and arrested if we didn't take the shirts off.

SIOC: What were the reactions of people sitting around you?

JT: There was pretty much no reaction from the people sitting around me but my friends were upset about it and a photographer from The Indianapolis Star asked me my name and what was said. A couple of people in the media I talked to said that it wasn't something security should do. In the days following it heated up a lot more, there was an article on the Indy Star's website, the Bloomington [Herald-Times], and the Indiana Daily Student and people started to contact me.

SIOC: Word is that you're looking to file a lawsuit against the university, is that true?

JT: I did consult counsel and I'm narrowing it down to who I'm going to hire. I thought I'd settled but I found out other attorneys were interested but I still need to contact them. I did talk to a very high profile first amendment attorney, I'm not at liberty to say who until I hire them, but it will be someone very high profile. I'm not looking to profit off this, all I want is for [IU] to pay for treating me like I wasn't a US citizen. Any money I make from this will be donated to charity.

SIOC: Have you become sort of a celebrity on campus?

JT: Yeah, it's kinda crazy. I was back on campus on Saturday [for the game against Michigan State], handing out shirts, giving them away, and a couple of guys I gave shirts to came to me and said [security inside Assembly Hall] were taking away the shirts I gave them. I went inside Assembly Hall and noticed they had confiscated a bunch of stuff, several signs and shirts. I did see a sign that said "Bring Back Bobby." For them to confiscate those shirts just added fuel to the fire.

SIOC: Has anyone given you any trouble for your pro-Bobby Knight stance?

JT: No, I've had people ask me about it, but I've been an IU fan since I was young and I didn't always agree with how Knight treated his players but always stood by how he represented IU. He is a man of integrity, right now there's zero integrity. They didn't give him his due when they fired him. The way they went about it was inappropriate. They need to bring back coach Knight in some way or form and honor him for what he did for the university.

SIOC: Who are your top three picks to replace Kelvin Sampson if Bobby Knight doesn't come back?

JT: My top three would be Brad Stevens of Butler, he's a young up and coming coach with a lot of respect around the state. My second choice would be Tom Crane of Marquette, and last, Lawrence Frank of the New Jersey Nets, he was a manager under coach Knight.

SIOC: How many hits has your website -- bringbackbobby.org -- gotten?

JT: As of Saturday night it was over ten thousand, by next week we'll be at 30,000 hits. I've ordered 2,000 shirts and in the next two weeks we should sell all of them. All the profits I make will be donated to the V Foundation for Cancer Research.

SIOC: Do you think Kelvin Sampson will be fired?

JT: I believe he will get fired. If he wants to stay at IU he has to come out and say, "I screwed up and lied about it." I honestly believe he's gone, most fans believe that too. He's a great coach but he didn't have to do it the way he did. He could have come out and done everything with integrity, but he chose a different path and I believe he needs to pay the consequences for it.

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