Monday, October 29, 2007

More on the Kelvin Sampson Imbroglio

There is some excellent commentary from Mark Tupper of the Decatur Herald and Review:
CHICAGO -- No, Kelvin Sampson did not throw himself on the proverbial sword and resign. Nor did anyone walk up to the Indiana basketball coach and hand him a cell phone, saying, "Here, coach, it's for you."

Would have been funny, but it didn't happen. . . .
This is already an old joke, but expect those sorts of hi jinks during every Indiana away game this season.
Even Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany voiced his displeasure that Sampson is once again on the hot seat.

"I expect three things from the coaches in this league," Delany said. "I expect them to coach and educate. I expect them to abide by the rules. And they are expected to win. The first two supersede the third.

"The conference will wait to see what the NCAA report says but I am disappointed."
Starry eyed moralizing? Nah. Scandal is bad for business.
Sampson danced around the issue, saying, "We're focusing on basketball now."

It was interesting Sunday to hear other coaches talk about one of their Big Ten brothers. No one wanted to hang him out to dry - including Illinois' Bruce Weber, who wouldn't lose a wink of sleep if Sampson vanished, never to be heard from again.

But one gets the feeling that no coach really trusts Sampson, either. And who can blame them? I mean, who cheats while they're on probation?

Sampson, by the way, would dispute the notion that he was cheating. He blamed the violations on "sloppiness," implying they were innocent of any maliciousness and were simply careless in the process of trying to do things right.

Yeah, right.

Although the cases are not the same, it's worth recalling that when Fresno State head coach Ray Lopes flagrantly made a number of improper phone calls (after he'd done the same during a previous employment), the NCAA barred him from coaching at a member school for three years.

And that previous school? Oklahoma, where he was an assistant coach for Sampson. . . .
Yep, Lopes learned to cheat from the best.
If I asked, "Why would those same fans put up with Sampson's shenanigans now?" it would be a rhetorical question. Because we all know the answer.

Some fans, regardless of school affiliation, will always justify transgressions if it translates into success. One Indiana fan was asked by the Indianapolis Star what he thought of the situation and the decision to withhold Sampon's bonus pay.

"Is Eric Gordon and a national championship worth $500,000? I say yes."
See also this article in the Indiana Daily Student:
CHICAGO – For the second year in a row, IU men’s basketball coach Kelvin Sampson fended off questions at Big Ten Media Day about his recruiting practices. . . .

Assistant coach Rob Senderoff, the man the IU Athletics Department has said is responsible for making dozens of impermissible phone calls, did not attend a men’s basketball open practice Friday. When asked about Senderoff’s absence, Sampson sharply declined comment.

“No, I’m not answering none of those questions,” Sampson said. “I am not even getting into any of that stuff. We’re dealing with stuff, and I’m going to coach my team.”

When asked what Senderoff’s role has been in practices, Sampson said “I’m not getting into that.”

The brief exchange with reporters came during a three-hour interview period at the annual event.

After the open practice, Director of Athletics Media Relations J.D. Campbell said Senderoff missed the practice to tend to personal matters.
How convenient.


According to Fox News, Assistant Coach Mark Senderoff will be thrown under the bus:
Indiana assistant coach Rob Senderoff will resign Monday in the wake of the recent phone scandal involving the Hoosiers, according to two sources close to the program.

Senderoff has become the "fall guy" for Indiana head coach Kelvin Sampson, who came to Bloomington and was immediately hit with NCAA sanctions back from his days at Oklahoma.
In other news, dog bites man.


FOX News Report is 'Off the Mark':
IU spokesman Larry MacIntyre would not confirm reports Monday that Rob Senderoff will resign as assistant IU men’s basketball coach.

MacIntyre said he did not know whether Senderoff is currently a University employee, and he said he was not informed of any pending resignation.

However, MacIntyre said reports by Fox Sports that sources close to IU athletics said Senderoff would resign today were “off the mark.”

“I think that reporter does not know what he is talking about,” MacIntyre said.
The plot thickens. . .


Without citing any further sources, Mike DeCourcy at the Sporting News is reporting that the resignation of Rob Senderoff is a foregone conclusion, and adds some details:
Here is the basic punishment if you commit secondary NCAA rules violations: They put you on a plane, send you off to take a seminar on how the rulebook is supposed to work, then put you back to work doing whatever it is you do -- presumably, recruiting new athletes for your university.

Here is what happened to Indiana assistant coach Rob Senderoff: He was given three days to accept the offer to resign his position. . . .

At Indiana, he was charged with making roughly three dozen impermissible phone calls over the course of 15 months -- a little more than two a month. You don't get rid of somebody like that. You yell at him, tell him he was extremely foolish to break that particular rule under this particular coach, and then put a note in his personnel file.

If this was to be the solution, why was it not the original conclusion? Did Indiana suddenly find religion? Or did the initial media reaction to the revelations present a convincing case that firing a lower-level employee would be a keen public relations move?

Well, it wasn't.

Absolutely. If true, it looks like a failed attempt to cover Sampson's ***.

This was the worst call anyone at Indiana has made in years. . . .

Actually, that was hiring a cheater in the first place.

UPDATE: 11:35 PM

The Bloomington Herald-Times is reporting the same thing as Mike DeCourcy, and adds some detail:
Indiana men’s basketball assistant coach Rob Senderoff has resigned at the university’s request, according to sources close to the situation.

An official announcement is expected today.

Senderoff, 34, could not be reached Monday. The voice mail message on his university-issued phone had been changed to say that he can no longer be reached at that number and will not check any messages left there.

Indiana head coach Kelvin Sampson and athletic director Rick Greenspan were not available for interviews Monday.

Senderoff was told on Friday, the same day he was absent from a basketball practice open to the public, that he had three days to turn in his resignation. He did so, and will receive a severance package from the university. . . .

Assuming the story is true, the manner in which Indiana University mishandled this story is breathtaking.

UPDATE: Tuesday 12:02 AM

Another small detail in the Indianapolis Star:
Indiana University assistant basketball coach Rob Senderoff's resignation will be announced today by the school, according to a source close to the program.

The resignation is being characterized as voluntary.
Lawyers for the university and Senderoff began meeting Friday to discuss a settlement. Monday afternoon, they reached an agreement, the source said.
Voluntary? As in resign or be fired?

UPDATE: Tuesday 11:43 AM

Its official. Indiana University released the following statement this morning:
Bloomington, Indiana - Rob Senderoff has decided it is in his and Indiana University's best interests that he voluntarily resign from the University. His resignation is effective immediately.
The internal report on the recruiting violations has also been released to the local media:
The Ice Miller report that details Indiana University's self-reporting of impermissible telephone calls made by the IU basketball staff during the period when Kelvin Sampson was under NCAA sanctions for recruiting was released to the media this morning.

The report, which is 4-inches thick, gives specific details on the more than 100 telephone calls that IU believed could potentially be violations. There were 35 calls in particular that the university singled out as being possible NCAA secondary violations.
Considering the ineptitude with which Indiana handled this matter, along with looming NCAA sanctions, do not expect this story to go away any time soon.

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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