INDIANAPOLIS -- Coach Mike Sanford did his homework on Antonio Allen and decided to take a risk on him.
An Indianapolis native, Allen, 20, was the Hoosiers' top tackler last season but was kicked off the team one day after his June arrest. He was charged with two counts each of dealing methamphetamine and dealing heroin and one count of dealing cocaine.
"I feel like college athletics is about teaching, educating and coaching, and part of that, in my mind, involves helping people grow up and become productive members of society," Sanford told The Associated Press in a phone interview. "We felt like our situation is a situation where we can help him."
Allen is scheduled to start practicing with the team Thursday.
But Sanford is proceeding cautiously.
Players who transfer from a Football Bowl Subdivision school to a Football Championship Subdivision normally are eligible immediately. Allen, however, will redshirt so he can fight the charges he is facing and, Sanford said, to comply with another NCAA rule.
Before pursuing Allen, Sanford said he needed clearance from school leaders and athletic department officials. Once given permission to investigate, Sanford said he contacted coaches at Indiana and at Ben Davis, Allen's high school, and collected additional information through other means. It was only then that Sanford met with Allen in person.
"Mike Kirschner called me," Sanford said, referring to the coach at Ben Davis, "and basically said he thought our program, our environment would help him get his life back together."
Sanford said he is imposing some additional conditions on Allen, although he would not publicly specify the guidelines.
The school admissions policy, he said, does not require background checks of prospective students and does not ask anyone to divulge potential legal charges, either.
Asked whether the scholarship would be revoked if Allen is convicted, Sanford responded: "We will deal with that, but we don't want to deal with unknowns right now. We'll see what happens."
Allen was arrested after allegedly being videotaped selling drugs to an informant. Police also later searched Allen's residence in Bloomington.
In addition to the five drug-dealing charges, Allen faces charges of possession of cocaine, possession of more than 10 grams of heroin and maintaining a common nuisance.
As a sophomore last season, Allen led the Hoosiers with 74 tackles. He also had 3 1/2 tackles for loss, one sack and two interceptions.