IU Trustees rename intramural center after Bill Garrett

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Bill Garrett was the first black basketball player in the Big Ten conference. The Bill Garrett Fieldhouse on the IU Bloomington campus has been named in his honor.

(Photo courtesy of IU Athletics)

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) — The Indiana University Trustees have unanimously approved a resolution to name the intramural center on the Bloomington campus after Bill Garrett, the school’s first black basketball player.

Garrett, from Shelbyville, broke the color barrier in Big Ten basketball when he made his varsity debut in 1948. He went on to play for the Harlem Globetrotters.

The trustees approved the resolution Friday.

The center formerly was named after Ora Wildermuth, a former IU trustee and judge from Lake County. Trustees voted in 2018 to remove Wildermuth’s name because of his opposition to racial integration and comments he made about race. In one 1948 letter, Wildermuth claimed the average intelligence of blacks was so far below whites that it was “futile to build up hope for a great future.”

IU President Michael McRobbie says Wildermuth’s views were deplorable.

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