SAMPSON: I think so. I think they were unfair. I think they were unfair to IU, too. I don’t think anybody got treated fairly in this. This thing got hit in the media, it got sensationalized. It just took on a life of its own. When they start using the word unethical, when they describe you as unethical –somebody that’s unethical, to me, knows right from wrong and then does it anyway. There’s intent behind it.
That’s pretty much the gist of the whole interview. Kelvin believes he was treated unfairly, that he really didn’t do anything wrong, and that the NCAA’s mind was made up about him before he had the chance to prove himself innocent of all those charges. Blah. If it wasn’t obvious Sampson wants to coach college hoops again, it should be by now. Otherwise, he would go away. He would spare us the nonsense. He would make me forget he ever existed.
Instead, expect the media tour to roll on. Gee. Can’t wait.
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In the latest issue of ESPN the Mag — on newsstands now! — there’s a small bit on page 71 about five players affected by Kelvin Sampson’s Indiana hiring and subsequent resignation: Devin Ebanks, Terrell Holloway, Scottie Reynolds, Damion James and Tyshawn Taylor.
Today online, a few companion pieces ran along with it. Including two from me. The first is a column about what it meant for me to be a fan during Sampson’s reign of calling, and what Tom Crean has taught me. A sample:
I’d always heard about the Indiana Tradition or doing things the Indiana Way, but I’d usually roll my eyes at such pronouncements, thinking of them as nothing more but tired, clichéd statements from Bob Knight disciples. I’m a bit of a cynical guy.
Times had changed, I thought. It’s OK to bend the rules in recruiting, as long as you win, as long as you don’t get caught. It’s OK you don’t fit the Indiana mold, doing things the right way with dignity and class, as long as you win. It’s OK to bring in players of questionable character, as long as you win.
This is what the Kelvin Sampson era was at Indiana: win at all costs. And I was hooked, cast under his spell, because that’s all I wanted for my team, too. I wanted to win.
Lastly, Scott Powers wrote a tremendous story about all the guys who left last year, catching us up with their situations. He got a lot of quotes from Brandon McGee. That guy is behind the Insider wall too.
The moral of this post is that ESPN is putting a lot more of their stuff behind Insider’s wall this year. You’ve been warned, sports consumer.
Oh, and if you want another take on the whole Deadspin topic, Midwest Sports Fan has an indepth look at it today.
I know you’re sick and tired of hearing about the lad pictured to the right, but the truth is, every time we think he’s out of our lives … BOOM … he reappears, much to our dismay.
If Eamonn’s post yesterday wasn’t enough to wet your Kelvin Sampson palate, I’ve got your fix. Speaking prior to tonight’s Bucks-Pacers game, where he likely heard obscenities thrown his way without discretion, Sampson tried to rationalize his appeal to the NCAA:
“I think they were wrong. They were wrong in every way. If I didn’t think they were wrong, I wouldn’t have appealed.”
Sampson acknowledged he and his staff had erred, though not deliberately.
“When someone makes a mistake, the first thing you have to ascertain is intent. There was no scheme or nobody sitting around trying to get away with something. A lot of people paid the price for those mistakes.”
This, my friends, is the same song and dance we’ve been hearing from day one. But apparently Sampson, who also said tonight that he’s enjoying the NBA and has no intent to come back to college, can’t just let it die and ride quietly into the night. He’s still fighting. He doesn’t really believe the NCAA is going to revisit this and determine they had it all wrong, does he?
Who remembers Kelvin Sampson? I don’t! I went through a very serious psychological process, like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, to have all memories of this “Sampson” guy erased from my brain. Actually, if that were true, I wouldn’t be writing this right now. I guess that construct works better for movies than for blog posts. Oh well.
A source close to Sampson said the appeal is based on two points: The first is that the infractions committee misinterpreted testimony by former IU assistant Rob Senderoff, which led to a conclusion that Sampson knowingly placed impermissible recruiting phone calls, and thus was guilty of unethical conduct.
The second is that the NCAA enforcement staff, essentially the prosecutor in the case, was biased and showed a prejudgment of guilt by requesting a hearing before all of the interviews were complete.
I’m no legal expert. Nor am I well-versed in the judiciary procedures of the NCAA. So I don’t really have much in the way of comment to offer, except this: Go away, Kelvin. Go away. You got caught, dude. Your own school caught you. Maybe the NCAA will admit they “misinterpreted” Rob Senderoff’s testimony — and as someone who used to tell his ex-girlfriend she was “misinterpreting” me, let me tell you that’s nothing but a rude backhanded insult — but I doubt it. Your best option? Coach in the NBA, and go … away.
Now, about that memory procedure. There’s got to be something on the Internet somewhere here …
I’m sitting on my couch now — I tend to do that a lot in the evening — and I’m watching Eric Gordon for the first time this season, as his Clippers are taking on my Bulls. I had almost forgotten how he played, but his first drive to the bucket snapped my memory back to its right place: he’s so strong, so smooth, he just looks like he belongs on a basketball court. This is what he was born to do. I love his game.
“It was the guys that were doing drugs that were separate,” Gordon told The Indianapolis Star in an exclusive phone interview this week, speaking publicly for the first time about the issues that played a part in a once top 10 team failing to win a single postseason game.
[ … ]
Gordon didn’t disclose which players used drugs, but he said D.J. White and two others still on the team were among those who did not. Attempts to reach White and several other former players were not successful.
Gordon said Sampson “tried to stop it,” but the coach “was just so focused on basketball and winning and everything.”
Gordon said he spent considerable time with a family friend in Bloomington because the atmosphere around some players was so bad he didn’t feel comfortable on campus.
“Sometimes it felt like it wasn’t even a real basketball team because of all the turmoil that went on,” said Gordon, now a starting guard for the Los Angeles Clippers. “I was just thinking about that the other day. It was so crazy that all that stuff threw off a good season and made it a waste, basically.
“It was really tough for us to be around each other all the time off the court because we were so separate.”
OK: So, Alex sent over this Dan Wetzel column this morning, and then we got it e-mailed in, and you’ve all been talking about it in the comments. This one needs its own post. When I finally got to reading it just a bit ago, I was expecting some over-the-top “IU needs to be punished way more” bit that had little –if any –sound reasoning. This is what I garnered from how it was being discussed.
But I don’t know. That’s not what I got out of it. Though Wetzel did sort of skip out on the fact that Kelvin Sampson and Rob Senderoff got completely served with the show cause, and thus some people involved got hit pretty hard — unlike IU, who at the end of the day just got self-imposed sanctions (part of his argument) — it seemed to be more of a rant against the NCAA practices in disciplining large vs. small schools than against IU for not getting harshly penalized enough. He’s just looking for equal treatment. Also: He argues the NCAA using the fact that our program is in disarray for the moment should have nothing to do with how the sanctions played out.
The NCAA just didn’t have to base its satisfaction with IU on an illogical (and inaccurate) standard.
[ … ]
The statement spoke to the NCAA’s history of going easy on powerhouse programs while burying small schools.
Few places have more power than Indiana. Its basketball program is one of the NCAA’s top television draws. Its former campus leader is current NCAA president Myles Brand.
Maybe that’s why the NCAA feels bad for Indiana’s current condition.
[ … ]
If the NCAA had limited its explanation to praising the school’s efforts and noting its 50-year record of compliance, that would’ve been fine. But it didn’t.
Take a deep breath. And then take a sigh of relief.
After a lengthy investigation, the NCAA Infractions Committee has decided that Indiana’s self-imposed sanctions are sufficient and that no further penalties to the men’s basketball program are warranted.
IU will have a probationary period of three years in which it will need to maintain a clean slate in order to avoid further sanctions.
A second year of restrictions on recruiting calls tighter than is permitted by the NCAA.
Reduced Kelvin Sampson’s off-campus recruiting opportunities and took away a basketball scholarship for 2008-09. The off-campus recruiting penalties were extended to Tom Crean after he took the job in April, but IU opted to allow Crean 10 days to recruit off-campus.
The basketball staff also had one less coach available for recruiting during the 2007-08 recruiting year.
Sampson also voluntarily agreed to forego a $500,000 compensation increase for the 2007-2008 season.
Sampson and former assistant coach Rob Senderoff were not as fortunate. Sampson received a five-year show cause order and Senderoff a three-year show cause order.
Under a show cause penalty, a school must show cause for hiring a coach to avoid being sanctioned. Since Senderoff is currently an assistant at Kent State, it’s unclear what his future will be as a member of their coaching staff after this ruling.