Thursday, October 18, 2007

Kelvin Sampson Cheats Again

The whole sorry story is here. Naturally, we should not be surprised, given his history of rule-breaking, although the looming sanctions were not, of course, brought up when Sampson was hired. What is remarkable about this story, however, is the extent to which University of Indiana alumni and press have turned on Sampson and Athletic Director Rick Greenspan, despite success in the first season and a number of recruiting coups. This editorial in the Bloomington Pantagraph captures sentiments well:
Rick Greenspan got his man. Now, he’s getting what he deserves.

Greenspan’s 2006 national search for Indiana University’s head basketball coach ended in the hiring of Kelvin Sampson, a curious choice given the number of available candidates who were not under NCAA investigation. . . .

Thus, in May 2006, two months after being hired at Indiana, Sampson was banned from recruiting off campus for one year and, among other things, prohibited from participating in three-way calls with recruits.

At the time, he said he’d “learned an invaluable lesson.”

Turns out he learned nothing, unless you count knowing how and when to throw an assistant coach under the bus.

On Sunday, a red-faced Indiana announced self-imposed penalties against Sampson, which include not giving him a $500,000 raise he was due and stripping his team of a scholarship for next season. An internal probe found he had taken part in 10 three-way calls between May 25, 2006, and May 25, 2007, a direct violation of his NCAA sanctions.

His excuse?

He said he only knew of one of them (one too many?), and that assistant coach Rob Senderoff was responsible for patching through the three-way hookups.

Indiana punished Senderoff, freezing his salary and banning him from recruiting off-campus or making recruiting calls through July 2008. Yet, the responsibility rests with Sampson, leaving Greenspan, the former Illinois State athletic director, to wait nervously as the NCAA conducts its own investigation and mulls further sanctions.

That puts Greenspan right back where he was when he hired Sampson, so yes, he had this coming. A change of address has not changed Sampson, and perhaps only Greenspan believed it would. . . .

Why did Greenspan bring in a coach with dirty laundry, particularly at a school the volatile Knight kept squeaky clean for so long? Knight’s downfall was his inability to control his temper. But when it came to NCAA rules, he never lost his grip.

Clearly, Greenspan looked at Sampson’s 12-year record at Oklahoma — 279-109, three NCAA Sweet 16s, two Elite Eights, one Final Four — and felt he was worth the risk. There was pressure to win following the forced resignation of embattled Hoosiers’ coach Mike Davis, and Sampson provided hope for a quick fix.

Greenspan got what he wanted.

Now, he has to live with it.
We will have to see whether all will be forgiven, as is the pattern, should Sampson remain successful on the court.

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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