At this point, it’s tough to separate fact from fiction after all the stuff that was being tossed around yesterday about the ongoing — but not for long! — saga that is Kelvin Sampson’s Farewell Tour. But Gary Parrish of CBS Sportsline had something that caught our collective eye today: Sampson would not bow out gracefully yesterday. And if and when Sampson gets removed as head coach today, a good lot of players are threatening not to finish out the season.
To wit (pardon the heavy blockquote):
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.”
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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. The sources said it now appears Sampson is daring the school to fire him and that such a move would almost certainly lead to a lawsuit …
A few things here: it’s nice to see the players sticking up for their coach; I can respect that. But in a season that I still very much think can have life post-Sampson, this would be dreadful for us fans if their threats ring true. And as far as Sampson is concerned? Of course he’s going to fight this to the bitter end. Why would he not? This is how the man rolls.
Lastly, from the typewriter of Andy Katz: IU did not make a decision on Sampson until this morning and Greenspan is talking it over with Michael McRobbie and crew presumably now. A statement — not a presser — is expected later today.