Harper and Bob Knight sit at a table, the image is autographed View print quality image
Harper got his picture taken at the end of the season banquet with coach Bob Knight and got the image autographed. Photo courtesy of Doug Harper

Thirty years after Harper's time as a cheerleader the memories of participating in the timeout and leading the crowd still hold strong for him.

"It is a rush," said Harper, who lives in Atlanta where he commonly teases his neighbor who went to the school up north. "You're just excited because you love your school and love your basketball program. You have a chance to help get the crowd up and excited. It's a neat opportunity as an IU cheerleader to feel like you can show your enthusiasm for your school and draw other fans into it too, at the peril of the opponent."

Whether a guest is witnessing the timeout for the first time or a longtime season-ticket holder is participating in their hundredth occasion, The Greatest Timeout in College Basketball is an impressive sight to behold and leaves a lasting impact second to none.

"You can pay someone to spin plates or juggle chainsaws, but when you get over 17,000 fans screaming to 'William Tell,' it's just better than anything out there," Harper said. "It should make a huge difference for the people coming to the game, giving them a memory for something really special they saw while at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall."

Overtime notes

  • The Greatest Timeout -- Home Edition

    During the COVID-19-restricted 2020-21 season with no fans, IU Athletics' Mark Skirvin and Andrew Brown conceived a way to incorporate the program's passionate fan base into one of its greatest traditions from home.

    The Greatest Timeout -- Home Edition was created from a large amount of user submissions reenacting the routine. Skirvin said they likely could have made another video without repeating anything from the original because they received so many high-quality entries.

  • A signal to start

    The game's first stoppage under eight minutes to go in the second half signals the traditional spot of the timeout, but the band has another method to sync up. Smedley makes a bow and arrow gesture to signify the song being played before cueing the 72-member band in.

  • Quick learners

    The cheerleaders learn the routine before each season and review its tradition and significance. For the band, the "William Tell Overture" is among the first four songs they rehearse, along with "Indiana, Our Indiana," "Indiana Fight!" and The Star-Spangled Banner.

  • Costing the team points

    According to "Tales from the Indiana Hoosiers Locker Room" by former IU player John Laskowski, a late start to the routine earned Indiana a technical foul in a 1982 contest against Purdue for cheerleaders being on the court too long. Coach Bob Knight heard Crabb make the announcement before approaching the scorer's table and then addressing the cheerleaders. "We love your support, but get off the floor."

  • No distractions at the line

    Today, it's common during opposing teams' free throws to hear the crowd yelling and see people behind the backboard trying to distract the player.

    Not on Bob Knight's watch. He didn't want fans waving their arms or trying to distract opposing players while they were shooting free throws. Knight showed up at a cheerleading practice in Assembly Hall and specifically asked the cheerleading team for their help.

    Begrudgingly, Harper had the tough task one game of going into the stands to tell some students that were being distracting during free throws to sit down.
    "At first they were blowing me off, saying they paid their money," he said. "I happened to look over at the bench, and Coach Knight was looking right at them, and he stuck his hand out and pointed at them to sit down. And they quickly did."

Celebrating 50 Years at Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall” is a collection of stories resulting from a collaborative effort between IU Studios and IU Athletics to pay homage to one of college basketball’s most iconic venues and its importance to Indiana basketball.