Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Indiana University's Spin Control. . .

. . .has been asleep at the switch until now. It has finally stepped into the fray:

Indiana Releases Men's Basketball Documents

Oct. 30, 2007

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - The Indiana University Department of Athletics today announced its release of all documents relating to its discovery and subsequent investigation, and self-disclosure of recruiting violations and issues with the sanctions involving the men's basketball coaching staff.

"When reviewed as a group, these reports provide a very clear picture of what took place in this matter. Accordingly, we have chosen to impose very significant self-imposed sanctions that we are operating under currently and have recommended to the NCAA," said Director of Athletics Rick Greenspan.

Thats right. Nothing more to do. We have handled it all ourselves.

The documents include an October 3 independent investigative report that was submitted to the NCAA Committee on Infractions focusing on 111 telephone recruiting calls last season that were found to exceed limits on the number of times a prospective athlete could be contacted under NCAA sanctions (109 of the calls) or NCAA rules (32 of the calls, 30 of which also were contrary to the sanctions). A second document is the self-report to the NCAA enforcement staff regarding the phone calls that violated NCAA rules. That report concluded that out of these 32 phone calls it is likely only 13 actual conversations occurred. Also among the documents are two other reports detailing the circumstances of impermissible personal contacts with recruits or their families not related to telephone calls.

Note how the writer sets up a distinction between the violations committed as a result of the sanctions on Sampson, as opposed to standard rules violations, as if that gets them off the hook for either set.
All the violations are being reported to the NCAA as secondary infractions. . . .

"Through extensive and lengthy discussions with our legal counsel, it was concluded that these violations are of a secondary nature because they represented isolated instances. They provided little, if any, recruiting advantage and did not involve any extra benefits," Greenspan said.

Once again, NCAA, nothing more to punish us for!

"However, Indiana University expects and demands full and complete compliance with all NCAA rules and will continue to do so. I will continue to send a very strong message to our coaches, student-athletes and supporters that our standard is and will always be complete compliance." . . .
Then why did you not fire Kelvin Sampson? I sense more spinning on the way. . .

Greenspan said the limitations on recruiting were extended for another season to ensure that the full effect of last season's NCAA sanctions on recruiting is realized.

The Ice Miller report found that of several thousand recruiting calls made from May 2006 to May 2007 by the assistant coaches, a total of 111 exceeded sanction or NCAA limits. Of those, 101 were made by assistant coach Rob Senderoff, in addition to 9 other three-way calls in which he connected a prospective athlete with head Coach Kelvin Sampson.

Although permissible under NCAA rules, three-way recruiting calls involving Sampson were in violation of the stricter, NCAA-imposed sanctions which were in effect on the IU staff last year from May, 2006 to May, 2007.

Greenspan said the Ice Miller report did not conclude that Sampson acted deliberately to violate the sanctions he was operating under last season.

In its conclusion, the report states that investigators "considered the fact that with so few impermissible calls involving Sampson out of the thousands of recruiting calls made from May 2006 through May 2007, this could not have been a purposeful plan to circumvent the sanction."

So we are to believe, then, that Kelvin Sampson was not aware of what recruiter extraordinaire Rob Senderoff was up to?

The investigation found that most of the impermissible calls occurred because Senderoff failed to log calls made from his home telephone, thus making it impossible for compliance staff to accurately track the number of times each prospective athlete was contacted by telephone. Most of Senderoff's calls were made from his cell or office phone and were properly logged.

Because of the inaccurate records, some prospective athletes and their families were called by assistant coaches more often than permitted under the sanctions or NCAA rules.

Ahhhh. Calls from home. Inaccurate records. PLAUSIBLE DENIABILITY. But there is more:

Two violations unrelated to telephone conversations were also reported to the NCAA:

On May 12, Senderoff arranged a 15 to 30-minute meeting at Assembly Hall between former IU President Adam W. Herbert and the mother of a prospective student athlete. The mother had come to Bloomington to watch her son participate in an AAU basketball tournament at Assembly Hall. NCAA rules prohibit schools from making recruiting contacts with tournament participants or their families until after the tournament is over. To determine whether a violation had occurred, the university had to confer with the Big Ten conference, which in turn had to request assistance from the NCAA to clarify the complex rules in this area.

Ummmm, seems pretty clear to me. Student at tournament. Recruiting contact. Violation.

On June 30, assistant coach Jeff Meyer arranged for Sampson to meet with a prospect who was in Bloomington to participate in a Sampson-sponsored tournament. Because NCAA rules prohibited Sampson from making recruiting contacts with tournament participants, the prospect's coach was told he would have to withdraw from subsequent participation if he met with Sampson. The meeting took place, but the prospect returned to the tournament the next day unbeknownst to Meyer or Sampson.

Both of these infractions were reported as secondary violations because they provided no recruiting advantage and did not include any inducement or extra benefit.

NO RECRUITING ADVANTAGE? FROM A MEETING WITH AN EX UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT AND AN EXTRA MEETING WITH THE HEAD COACH!?!?!? Ok. I have screamed. I feel better now. I will hopefully feel alot better if the NCAA comes down hard on Kelvin Sampson and Indiana, who may be looking at the dreaded phrase 'lack of institutional control' before long.


The Indianapolis Star has released a PDF of Indiana's self-report to the NCAA.


Here is where, institutionally, Indiana really screwed up. From page 17 of the self-report:
These three-way calls were not noticed during the compliance staff's regular and usual monitoring of phone calls during the course of the academic year as both manual and computerized searches focused on the declared recruiting phone numbers being called and the frequency of calls to these numbers, not other columns or information on the phone bills. In addition, because the three way code was always attached to a local call on the phone bill, it was not detected in analyzing the calls to the declared recruiting numbers. Further, since the coaches had requested and received a clear interpretation from the Committee on Infractions in June 2006 that three-way calling with Sampson would not be permissible (see Item No. 8, Attachment L), three-way calls should not have been an issue.
So, since the coaches were told that they could not do something, the compliance staff simply assumed that they would not? This is a classic case, in NCAA speak of a 'Failure to Monitor'.


Audio from the afternoon teleconference at Indiana, courtesy of the Bloomington Herald Times. Nothing in the way of significant new information.

UPDATE: Wednesday 3:26 PM

Rob Senderoff's severance agreement has been released. It is uninformative legalese for the most part.

1. Kelvin Sampson Cheats Again
2. More on the Kelvin Sampson Imbroglio
3. Indiana University's Spin Control. . .
4. The Kelvin Sampson Bomb is Set to Blow. . .
5. Kelvin Sampson: "Time to Cleanse the Slime"
6. In June: Sampson versus Senderoff?
7. Source: Sampson Out, Dakich in at Indiana
8. Commentary on Sampson's Departure

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