Thursday, February 21, 2008

Source: Sampson Out, Dakich in at Indiana

According to WTHR, a local Indianapolis TV station:

Bloomington - Indiana University is making plans to finish the basketball season without Kelvin Sampson. The coach of the Hoosiers is not expected to be with the team when they play at Northwestern Saturday.

A source close to the situation tells Eyewitness Sports that officials from the IU administration have met with assistant basketball coach Dan Dakich about taking over the basketball team as interim head coach for the rest of the season. . . .

The source says that by Friday afternoon, Sampson and the university will likely reach a financial settlement ending his employment, or Sampson will be suspended pending termination under the terms of his contract. . . .

If this turns out to be true, it will represent no great surprise to anyone who has been following this story. Fortuitously, or perhaps deliberately, the Indy Star published a profile article about Dakich this morning:

Dan Dakich, who sits three seats to the right of coach Kelvin Sampson on the IU bench, is available to take over as interim coach should Sampson resign, be suspended or get fired this week.

Dakich, 45, has what many consider the perfect pedigree for the job. He's from Indiana, spent 16 seasons alongside Bob Knight at IU -- first as a player, then 12 years as an assistant coach -- and has 10 years of head coaching experience with Bowling Green.

IU assistant Ray McCallum also grew up in Indiana and has head coaching experience at Ball State and Houston, but his longtime association with Sampson might work against him. . . .

Dakich was a pedestrian player at IU, averaging 3.6 points and 1.6 rebounds over his four-year career, which concluded in 1985 when IU lost to UCLA in the NIT championship game.

He gained greater recognition as an assistant coach, first as a graduate assistant for two seasons and then as a full-time assistant for 10 before becoming head coach at Bowling Green.

Dakich compiled a 156-140 record in 10 seasons at Bowling Green. He resigned last March, telling athletic director Greg Christopher that he wasn't interested in pursuing an extension to his expiring contract.

His most controversial moment came in April 2002 when he accepted the head coaching position at West Virginia, receiving an annual pay increase from $125,000 to $500,000. He backed out and returned to Bowling Green a week later, in part after learning of a possible NCAA rules violation within West Virginia's program.

Dakich returned to IU last June as the director of basketball operations, then moved onto the bench after Rob Senderoff resigned in October in the wake of NCAA sanctions. . . .
Stay tuned!

Update (1) 2:20 PM

Fox Sports has called WTHR's 'source' and raised to 'numerous sources':

Sampson was informed early Thursday that he will no longer be the coach at Indiana, numerous sources told

The official announcement is expected to come Friday, when the university's self-imposed seven-day investigation period ends.

When asked to confirm Sampson's firing, Indiana director of media relations J.D. Campbell told, "I don't know that to be true."

Campbell also said no official announcement was currently scheduled for Friday.

Thanks so much, Campbell, for providing a classic non-denial denial.

Update (2) 2:28 PM

The AP is reporting that there will be an announcement tomorrow:
Trustee Philip Eskew Jr. told The Associated Press that he had been notified by e-mail that Indiana would have an announcement on Sampson’s status Friday, but he did not have further details.

Update (3) 2:35 PM

According to WISH, another local Indianapolis station, a buyout of Sampson's contract is being negotiated, and a team meeting has been called:

24-Hour News 8 has learned from sources close to the IU basketball program, that the school is negotiating a buyout of head coach Kelvin Sampson's contract.

Sources also tell 24-Hour News 8 that a team meeting has been called with in the hour to discuss the future of Kelvin Sampson.

Update (4) 3:24 PM

The Indiana Daily Student is reporting a couple more details:

IU spokesman Larry McIntyre told the IDS the University is expecting to hold a press conference tomorrow to discuss the future of IU coach Kelvin Sampson.

"We are sort of assuming on the basis that there is likely to be something," McIntyre said.

Additionally, McIntyre told the IDS that faculty athletic representive Bruce Jaffee and University general counsel Dorothy Frapwell had lunch with IU President Michael McRobbie, but did not know the agenda of the lunch.

Update (5) 3:45 PM

The Indy Star is reporting that everyone's sources are wrong:

Late Thursday afternoon, school officials said Web news reports of Sampson's firing were premature, although acknowledged his dismissal is still a viable option.

Athletic director Rick Greenspan is expected to submit his recommendation to president Michael McRobbie on Friday. No timetable has been set for an announcement, said Larry MacIntyre, IU's director of university communications. . . .

Web accounts reported Sampson would not coach IU's game Saturday at Northwestern, and that IU administrators had met with assistant coach Dan Dakich about replacing Sampson on an interim basis.

"Somebody is making assumptions that are not based in fact at this point," MacIntyre said.

Recall that this is the same guy who, when asked about a reporter who indicated that Rob Senderoff was about to resign in October, answered “I think that reporter does not know what he is talking about.”

Update (6) 6:20 PM

Gary Parrish at CBS Sportsline is reporting that a number of Indiana players have been told that Sampson is gone:
Indiana athletic director Rick Greenspan told five IU players Thursday afternoon that their coach, Kelvin Sampson, will not be on the sidelines Saturday when the Hoosiers play at Northwestern, a source has told

According to the source, Greenspan met with D.J. White, Eric Gordon, Kyle Taber, Lance Stemler and Adam Ahlfeld. The source confirmed the earlier report by that Sampson will not coach the rest of this season but added that it remains unclear whether Sampson will officially be suspended pending a hearing with the NCAA or terminated.

Either way, the source said the players were told an official announcement will come Friday.

On other fronts, WISH TV is reporting that team members met at 3:00 to "to discuss the future of the team. None of the players would comment while leaving the meeting as to what was discussed." The AP is characterizing this as a "a regularly scheduled NCAA compliance meeting."

Update (7) 8:13 PM

An updated AP article has a couple more details, including those of a team meeting with Greenspan:

The team met with athletic director Rick Greenspan on Thursday night. Almost the entire team left en masse after the meeting about 7:45 p.m. and declined comment as they got into their cars and left the parking lot.

Meanwhile, university officials and athletic department officials spent Thursday reviewing their options.

President Michael McRobbie had a lunch meeting with university counsel Dorothy Frapwell and faculty representative Bruce Jaffee in the president's office. Frapwell and Jaffee were two of the three people asked to conduct the school's second investigation into the allegations. The third, Greenspan, could not be seen through the office's glass doors, and Frapwell and Jaffee left through a back entrance to avoid reporters.

Update (8) 12:34 PM Friday

Overnight, the most explosive new reporting came from Gary Parrish at CBS Sportsline:
A Thursday night meeting between Indiana athletic director Rick Greenspan and the school's basketball team became heated when players threatened to quit if the AD follows through with a plan to remove Kelvin Sampson as the Hoosiers' coach, two sources have told

According to the sources, after Greenspan informed five selected players -- namely D.J. White, Eric Gordon, Kyle Taber, Lance Stemler and Adam Ahlfeld -- of his decision to replace Sampson he called a meeting with the entire team in an attempt to "prepare" them for Friday's official announcement that Sampson would either be suspended or terminated in time for the Hoosiers' weekend game at Northwestern. But before Greenspan finished his speech, the sources said an unidentified player stood up and insisted "if Sampson ain't coaching, we ain't playing" and that Greenspan responded with what he thought was a rhetorical question.

"Greenspan asked if he should just cancel the whole season," one source said. "And the player told him 'We don't care what you do. But if Sampson ain't coaching, we ain't playing.' And then they just walked out." . . . .

According to the sources, Greenspan asked Sampson to resign Thursday night but Sampson -- who was alleged in a report released last week to have committed five major NCAA rules violations -- rejected the request.

But there is a game of 'dueling sources' currently playing out between Parrish and Andy Katz at
"No decision was made until this morning, I cannot stress that enough," the official said in reference to various reports Thursday that claimed a decision to fire Sampson already had been made. "All those reports about it being made yesterday and of the players being told and of the team threatening not to play were not true. It's pure science fiction.

"The content of the meeting with the players was to keep them focused on the season and to [allow them to] ask questions at that time.'"
There is also this comment in the Indy Star, from a parent of one of the IU players:
The players left Greenspan's office about 7:30 p.m. Brian Stemler said his son, IU senior forward Lance Stemler, told him the meeting centered on the team, not who would coach them Saturday at Northwestern, or beyond.

"He said it was nothing about what was going to happen," Brian Stemler said. "He said it was about the season going forward. He said nothing was said about anybody taking over, that a decision was going to be made (today)."
I will continue to update here until there is an official announcement by the University, which is due for 2:00.

Update (9) 12:40 PM Friday

By engaging in what I consider to be slimeball tactics, WTHR in Indianapolis has scooped this non-denial denial regarding the player boycott from Indiana forward, and player of the year candidate D.J. White:

Eyewitness Sports has also learned that players have voiced loyalty to Coach Sampson. A source says some players are considering skipping Saturday's game against Northwestern. We asked player DJ White whether that report was true, and an irritated White responded, "I don't know who your sources are." But he added, "I'm not gonna say it's not true."

When pressed for clarification, White repeated, "The only thing I will say is, 'I will not say it's not true.'"

Harassing the players is WAY out of line. On other fronts, the 2:00 PM press conference was apparently just an ESPN rumor.

Update (10) 1:00 PM Friday

Luke Winn at Sports Illustrated is reporting a story similar to that of Gary Parrish:

The source said that in meeting with Hoosiers players on Thursday night, IU athletic director Rick Greenspan informed them of the likelihood that Sampson would no longer be their head coach -- either as a result of a termination or suspension Friday.

The players' response, according to the source? "If Sampson isn't our coach, we'll quit." The source said this was the unified sentiment of the whole team, but was first expressed by the Hoosiers' senior leadership in a smaller meeting earlier Thursday. Greenspan and the players reached a stalemate in the second meeting, with the athletic director reportedly asking them if "the whole season should just be canceled."

The source also told select players have indicated they might be willing to soften their stance on quitting if a key change was made to Greenspan's proposed plan of succession. The school reportedly wants to anoint IU assistant Dan Dakich as interim head coach for the remainder of the season, but the players' preferred choice is assistant Ray McCallum, who played a significant role in recruiting much of IU's current roster.

Update (11) 1:50 PM Friday

The AP is reporting that there was a mid-day team meeting:
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) - At least one Indiana basketball player who emerged from the team locker room today appeared to have tears in his eyes. . . .

A few minutes after Greenspan left the basketball coach's office, Sampson walked down ramp with his wife, Karen. Players, managers, assistant coaches and the coach's son, Kellen Sampson, then gathered in the locker room for what appeared to be a team meeting.

The meeting broke up about midday with freshman forward Eli Holman emerging with puffy eyes, looking like he was tearing up.

Update (12) 3:03 PM Friday

The Indy Star is now lining up against Katz at ESPN, and with CBS and Sports Illustrated on the issue of a potential player boycott:

Indiana University men's basketball players walked out of a Thursday night meeting with athletic director Rick Greenspan, refusing to play the rest of the season if coach Kelvin Sampson is dismissed, a person familiar with the situation said today.

During the meeting, Greenspan told players about what course of action the school might take regarding Sampson, the source said. The source was told Jamarcus Ellis walked out of the meeting.

IU plays at Northwestern on Saturday. The source said players will follow the lead of D.J. White.

"As far as them playing, it depends on D.J.," the source said. "He's the leader. He's the cornerstone. Whatever D.J. does, they're all going to do."

The players met again today. Afterward, WTHR-13 asked White if the players were planning a boycott.

"The only thing I will say is, 'I will not say it's not true,'" the station quoted him as saying.
Asked if the players are still planning to walk out after today's meeting, the source said, "I know they were. I don't know if they are now."

The players want assistant Ray McCallum to take over if Sampson is going because McCallum was involved in recruiting several of them, the source said.

Update (13) 4:50 PM Friday

The Hoosier Scoop, an Indiana sports blog is reporting that six players were absent from today's practice, which was led by assistant Dan Dakich:

Dan Dakich is coaching IU’s basketball team in practice, but a number of the key Hoosier players are not there.

As far as we can tell, D.J. White, Jamarcus Ellis, Armon Bassett, Jordan Crawford, DeAndre Thomas and Brandon McGee are not at practice. That leaves IU with seven players practicing and six not there.

We don’t know exactly what that means, but it seems ominous after the reports today that players have been talking about a walk-out for Saturday’s game at Northwestern.
According to chatter on the Indiana message boards, there was, indeed, a boycott of practice.

Update (14) 6:35 PM Friday

Confirmation from the Indy Star:

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Kelvin Sampson will meet with his team tonight and encourage them to play in Saturday's game at Northwestern regardless of his situation, a person close to the team said today.

Six players, including D.J. White, Armon Bassett, Jamarcus Ellis and Jordan Crawford, did not show up for a scheduled practice today at Assembly Hall.

Another person close to the team said players have threatened to boycott Saturday's game if Sampson is not the coach, and the team will follow D.J. White's lead on whether to play.

Update (15) 6:41 PM Friday

Katz is reporting on ESPN that a $750,000 buyout has been negotiated, and Dakich will take over as coach.

Update (16) 7:42 PM Friday

Confirmation from the AP through an official Indiana channel:
Indiana University spokesman Larry MacIntyre says the school has agreed to a $750,000 buyout with basketball coach Kelvin Sampson. Assistant Dan Dakich takes over as interim head coach.

Senior captain D.J. White, Armon Bassett, Jordan Crawford, Jamarcus Ellis, DeAndre Thomas and Brandon McGee skipped Dakich's first practice Friday afternoon. It is unknown if they will play when the 15th-ranked Hoosiers travel to Northwestern on Saturday.
Goodman at Fox News reports that there is now only one thing lacking:
"We don't have his signature," Indiana spokesman Larry MacIntyre told "His attorney is still reviewing a separation agreement with those terms. It could be signed at any moment."

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


lord-biff said...

Prof - You are surely on top of this rather fluid situation. Good work.

My only question to IU, what took so long???

Profane said...

Thanks Biff,

There was a good discussion of the 'what took so long' question earlier in the week on the Hoosier Nation message board. Essentially what has happened over the past week is that Indiana has been closely following the 'due process' provisions in Sampson's contract which set out the process for a 'just cause' dismissal. Indiana is attempting to avoid a repeat of the O'Brien lawsuit against Ohio State.

lord-biff said...

IU can't afford to let the "inmates run the asylum" and have the players calling the shots. If they boycott, their probably gone too.

I can't feel any remorse for IU. They knew going in what they were getting. Sow the Wind. Reap the Whirlwind.

Profane said...

Indeed Biff.