Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Kelvin Sampson Bomb is Set to Blow. . .

. . .according to Andy Katz at

The NCAA sent a notice of allegations to Indiana University last Friday detailing major violations in the men's basketball program, multiple sources told . . .
Thus contradicting the wishful thinking on the part of the Indiana faithful that this would not turn out to be any big deal.

The Associated Press reported on Tuesday night that the school will make the allegations public on Wednesday. University trustees president Stephen Ferguson told AP that school officials this week reviewed the report, but that the NCAA is not expected to make its ruling until this summer.

"There won't be a hearing till this June," Ferguson told AP. "It's just been reviewed, and I think everyone is analyzing it now." . . .

But has learned over the last week that the NCAA uncovered new information since Indiana self-reported violations under second-year head coach Kelvin Sampson in October. . . .

Multiple sources told that the NCAA was looking into whether Sampson did not tell the truth about those calls, resulting in the allegations of major violations. . . .

As in so many cases, the cover-up can have greater consequences than the crime.

This new information that helped result in a major violations tag could put the season of Indiana (No. 12 ESPN/USA Today, No. 13 AP) under a cloud of uncertainty and the career of Sampson as well. made multiple efforts to reach Indiana athletic director Rick Greenspan over the past week and he never returned calls. Sampson didn't return a message Tuesday.

A postseason ban for the Hoosiers would only come into play if IU decided to self-impose such a measure since the committee on infractions won't meet until June. According to multiple sources, a postseason ban would only occur if there were an issue with the eligibility of any current student athletes, which has been told isn't an issue yet.

This sort of talk is premature, but one cannot help but speculate on whether Kelvin Sampson's prize recruit, Eric Gordon, was the target of any of the illegal recruiting. In any case, is is difficult to have any sympathy for what Indiana is going through. After all, they did hire a known cheater.

I will update over the course of the day, weather and classes permitting, should further information come available.

Update (1) 9:46 AM

The Indianapolis Star has PDFs of the letter from the NCAA and the Notice of Allegations. I will read and process them ASAP. Here is the Star's quick take:

Indiana University men's basketball coach Kelvin Sampson provided "false or misleading information" to the school and NCAA investigators, according to a list of five "major" violations the NCAA is alleging against IU.

The "notice of allegations" sent to IU president Michael McRobbie on Feb. 8 and released publicly today alleges that Sampson and his staff violated telephone recruiting restrictions imposed because of the coach's NCAA violations while at Oklahoma, and then lied about it.

Sampson "failed to deport himself ... with the generally recognized high standard of honesty" and "failed to promote an atmosphere for compliance within the men's basketball program," according to the allegations. . . .

Update (2) 10:56 AM Parsing the New Information

The letter:
As indicated in my February 6 letter, the Committee on Infractions review information concerning possible major violations either through the summary disposition process or an in-person hearing. It is my understanding that the enforcement staff has discussed the possibility of processing this case through the summary disposition process and that currently this process does not appear appropriate.
In other words, there were substantial differences between what Indiana reported and what the investigation found.
Your institution should understand that all of the alleged violations set forth in the document attached to this letter are considered to be potential major violations of NCAA legislation, unless designated as secondary.
Self-explanatory. None of the five violations were designated as secondary.

The Notice of Allegations:

Allegation #1 is essentially what we already know about the violations which Indiana self-reported in the fall. The only thing noteworthy here is that they were deemed to be major violations by the NCAA

Allegation #2 details additional impermissible calls made by fired assistant Rob Senderoff, and current assistant Jeff Meyer. Some were merely one extra call made in a month, and would be secondary violations in isolation. Some of them could not have been accidental:
From May 31, 2006, through June 7, 2006, Senderoff placed two impermissible telephone class to prospective student athlete Yancey Gates, the prospective student-athlete's parents or legal guardian(s), prior to June 15 of his sophomore year in high school. . . .
During May 2006, Senderoff placed three impermissible calls to then prospective student-athlete Demetri McCamey. . .

From March 1 through July 17, 2007, Senderoff placed 22 impermissible calls to prospective student-athlete Jonathan "Bud" Mackey. . .

From March 26 through April 15, 2007, Senderoff placed three impermissible calls to prospective student-athlete Philip Jurick. . .

From June 29 through July 10, 2006, Meyer placed six impermissible calls to then prospective student-athlete Robbie Hummel. . .
Allegation #3 represents the specific charges against Sampson:
It is alleged that (a) during the time beginning May 25, 2006, through May 24, 2007, Kelvin Sampson, head men's basketball coach, acted contrary to the NCAA principles of ethical conduct when he knowingly violated recruiting restrictions imposed by the NCAA Committee on Infractions, as penalty for Sampson's prior involvement in violations of NCAA legislation; (b) Sampson failed to deport himself in accordance with the generally recognized high standard of honesty normally associated with the conduct and administration of intercollegiate athletics by providing the institution and the NCAA enforcement staff false or misleading information; and (c) Sampson failed to promote an atmosphere for compliance within the men's basketball program and failed to monitor the activities regarding compliance of one or more of his assistant coaches.
The various impermissible calls are then detailed. There are a number of points in the document where names of prospective or 'then-prospective' student-athletes are redacted. This might not mean anything. But it does leave open the possibility that Eric Gordon's recruitment was tainted. Then the real explosive point in the report is reached:
Sampson repeatedly provided the institution and the enforcement staff false information regarding his involvement in violations of the Committee on Infractions recruiting restrictions. . . during a November 13, 2007 interview with the institution and the enforcement staff, Sampson stated that at the time of the violations, he was unaware that Senderoff was using three-way calls to allow him to speak with prospective-student athletes. . . . Sampson further stated that he did not engage in three-way conversations. . . . Additionally, Sampson stated that there was never an instance when he was on the phone with a prospective student-athlete when Senderoff also spoke. Finally, Sampson stated that he never spoke with Buford.

In fact Sampson engaged in three way telephone conversations with multiple prospective student-athletes. . . including a June 19, 2006, three-way conversation between himself, Senderoff and Buford. In addition, Sampson participated in speakerphone conversations involving himself, Senderoff and prospective student-athletes.
I have got news for you Coach Sampson. Throwing Senderoff under the bus failed to provide you cover for your cover-up.

Allegation #4 essentially recounts Allegation #3, except it is targeted at Senderoff. While Senderoff is accused of providing 'false or misleading information', his phone logs, he is not, unlike Sampson, accused of dissembling when he was interviewed.

Allegation #5 is new, and details impermissible recruiting contact this summer by Sampson and Meyer involving Derek Elston, along with some minor impermissible benefits (a backpack and a T-Shirt). Absent the pattern of cheating, this may have remained a secondary violation.

The bottom line is that Sampson and Meyer are in serious trouble. It will be interesting to watch Indiana's battle between ethics and success as the basketball season progresses.

Update (3) 12:10 PM

The Indy Star now has a PDF of Sampson's contract up. Amongst the provisions:
Action By University for Just Cause. The University shall have the right to end this Employment Agreement for just cause prior to its normal expiration on June 30, 2013. The term "just cause" shall include. . .any of the following:

5. A significant, intentional or repetitive violation of any law, rule, regulation, constitutional provision, bylaw or interpretation of the University, the Big Ten Conference or the NCAA by a member of the intercollegiate men's basketball coaching staff or any other person under the Employee's supervision and direction, including student athletes in the program, which violation the Employee knew or should have known of and which violation may, in the sole judgment of the University, reflect adversely upon the University and its athletic program, including but not limited to any significant, intentional, or repetitive violation which may result in the University being placed on probation by the Big Ten Conference or the NCAA.
Athletic Director Rick Greenspan commented today that "We are extremely disappointed in these new allegations regarding Coach Sampson. To say the least, we view these allegations with grave concern and will cooperate fully with the NCAA as they adjudicate these charges." Lets hope that he, and IU president Michael McRobbie have the guts to wave Sampson goodbye. With no severance.

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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