|Indiana mum on coach Kelvin Sampson's fate after NCAA alleges violations|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 21 February 2008 23:01|
The college basketball world is still waiting for a clear answer.
University officials met repeatedly throughout the day and debated late into the night what to do about the major allegations surrounding Sampson and the Indiana program. The Hoosiers have not been guilty of a major NCAA infraction since 1960.
Even players weren't immune to the process.
Following a scheduled 3 p.m. team meeting to discuss compliance issues Thursday, Hoosiers left without comment. They met later with athletic director Rick Greenspan and left as a group without saying a word about 7:45 p.m. Greenspan remained holed up in his office late into the night, and his family brought him a pillow.
The question was whether Sampson will still be coaching No. 15 Indiana when the team faces Northwestern on Saturday night, and even the university's board of trustees was unaware of a decision.
``I don't believe the athletic director has even given the recommendation to the president yet,'' trustee Patrick Shoulders said.
Sampson is accused of making improper phone calls, then providing false and misleading information to investigators from both the university and the NCAA.
University spokesman Larry MacIntyre and trustees denied reports all day that Indiana had already decided Sampson's fate and would make assistant coach Dan Dakich the interim head coach.
Another trustee, Philip Eskew Jr., told The Associated Press he had been notified by e-mail Indiana would have an announcement on Sampson's status Friday but did not have details. MacIntyre said late Thursday afternoon nothing had yet been scheduled but called an announcement likely.
``We have some plans, but we don't have a definite time and we don't have the OK to go ahead yet,'' MacIntyre said.
Meanwhile, university officials spent the day deliberating.
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.
At Assembly Hall, Sampson spent the morning in his office, presumably looking at tape of Northwestern before leaving the building at about 2:15 p.m. About 45 minutes later, players, who had no practice scheduled, arrived for the compliance meeting that had already been rescheduled.
Last week the school released the NCAA's report alleging Sampson also failed to promote a high standard of honesty and an atmosphere of rules compliance in the program.
Sampson has said he never intentionally provided false or misleading information to NCAA investigators.
With rumors and speculation floating around campus throughout the day, the images rekindled scenes eerily reminiscent to the prelude and aftermath of Bob Knight's firing in September 2000.
Reporters spent hours staking out the hallway of the university administration building and the lobby of Assembly Hall, waiting for confirmation of whether Sampson would still have his job this weekend.
``People are saying all kinds of things, maybe suspend him, maybe do this or that, but it's a big issue to the university,'' Eskew said during an interview Wednesday night. ``At the same time, it's about due process and you've got to make a decision that's in the best interests of the university.''
According to the contract signed in April 2006, Indiana pays Sampson an annual base salary of $500,000. The contract runs through the next five seasons.
Sampson's deal includes termination clauses for violations of university or NCAA rules that eliminate the payments, but two Indianapolis attorneys have told The Associated Press that firing Sampson now could still force the school to pay out at least $2.5 million or face a potential lawsuit.
The second-year coach came under scrutiny for his newest round of alleged NCAA infractions in October when an internal investigation found Sampson made more than 100 impermissible recruiting calls, most of them by assistant coach Rob Senderoff, who has since resigned. At least 10 of them were allegedly three-way calls that Sampson had been patched into, a violation of NCAA restrictions imposed on Sampson for previous telephone improprieties while he was coach at Oklahoma.
The university called those secondary violations. The NCAA, however, used the term major when it accused Sampson of lying.
If Sampson isn't coaching Saturday, the likely successor for the rest of this season is Dakich, 45, a former Indiana player and assistant coach and former head coach at Bowling Green who was once considered a possible successor to Knight. Dakich took Senderoff's spot on the coaching staff in early November, prior to any of the alleged rules infractions.
Dakich, who was hired as Indiana's director of basketball operations in June, is subject to the same restrictions the university imposed on Senderoff, who was banned from calling recruits and making off-campus recruiting visits for one year.
The university has until May 8 to respond to the NCAA, and a hearing has been set for June 14 in Seattle. A decision is expected sometime in July. Proven major violations come with penalties that can include teams being excluded from postseason tournaments.
``I fully understand the desire for us, by many people, to move quickly in bringing this situation to resolution,'' McRobbie said. ``We intend to do just that.''