Not that you don’t already despise Kelvin Sampson enough (at this point, what IU fan doesn’t?), but the legal bills are starting to roll in from Ice Miller and a tuition hike is on the horizon if things keep up at this pace.
Indiana has been charged $249,806.39 by the Indianapolis law firm Ice Miller for its work on investigating violations committed by the men’s basketball program and assisting the university in its dealings with the NCAA regarding the matter.
But that tab — calculated using billing records obtained Thursday by The Herald-Times through a public records request — covers only charges accumulated between the months of July 2007, when the investigation started, and March 2008.
It’s anyone’s guess where this tab will end up when it’s all said and done, but IU is already well over a million if you include Sampson’s buyout. Anyone got a guess on a final number that this fiasco will end up costing the school we love? If the over/under is $2 million, I’m taking the over.
The NCAA finally let IU respond back to its allegations. And well, the university didn’t agree with that whole “failure to monitor” bit. IU says Kelvin Sampson held back on just when, where and how he was going about his phone calls.
“In no way did I ever hide or withhold information from Indiana University’s compliance department,” Sampson, now an assistant coach with the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks, said in a statement released by his agent.
“I vehemently deny the inference that I made and concealed impermissible calls. The NCAA has never alleged that I initiated any illegal phone calls to recruits while serving as the head coach at Indiana. I always provided Indiana with everything they requested, including all documents and phone records.”
Oh, what a nice little game of he said, she said we have going on here, huh? Ugh. Alex has already said this, but can we get this nice sordid mess behind us already? At this point, I really don’t care who is right and who is wrong. I just want it done and over and whatever penalties are laid upon us to be laid upon us. Let’s move onwards and upwards.
After all, we have the 2009 class to look foward to.
So, doing my offseason Dagger due diligence, I tried to summarize today the logical arguments at the core of Indiana’s response to the NCAA about the Kelvin Sampson allegations. I wrote:
Indiana’s main arguments are, simply, that the “failure to monitor” charge brought against it by the NCAA can’t be true. Why? because former coach Kelvin Sampson and his staff intentionally misled the school about their use of cellphones, particularly in the case of Sampson’s infamous party-line maneuver. (If you’ll remember, he would have assistant Rob Senderoff three-way call from a recruit into Sampson’s cell phone; this was very much against the rules.)Also, according to the school, the “failure to monitor” can’t be true because the University reported all of these violations itself. And lastly, Indiana is making a similar argument to Mad Men’s Freddy Rumsen Sunday night — isn’t the embarrassment punishment enough?
I think I’ve got most of it there, and if those are indeed the main arguments at hand, I’ve gotta say: I am pretty impressed by them. They at least make sense, right? Do I think the NCAA will immediately raise its hands in defeat, admitting IU’s rhetorical genius and ceding the case, Perry Mason-style, in one fell swoop? No. But at the very least, IU’s administration didn’t turn in a gomer of a report. They made it clear why this was Sampson’s fault. Because it was.
The Hoosier Scoop has the, ahem, scoop: The NCAA faxed a letter to IU today telling the school it was being granted an extra nine days to send its response to the NCAA’s allegations that Kelvin Sampson did some very naughty things. What’s more, the letter from the NCAA specifically tells IU not to file its response ahead of the new deadline.
This is where I drop any pretense of having any clue what’s going on here and just ask: What’s going on here? Why would the NCAA push back its self-imposed deadline, and then force IU not to respond before a new deadline? Are they really just not finished with their work? Did someone take an untimely vacation? Is the office printer low on toner?
The Indianapolis Business Journalhas an excellent piece this morning on the search for a new athletic director and it includes a list of candidates that could potentially fill the opening:
Former IU basketball player and current Senior Associate Athletic Director Chris Reynolds, IU Varsity Club Director Scott Dolson, former IU football star Harry Gonso, former IU basketball player and TV commentator John Laskowski and well-known Indianapolis sports attorney Jack Swarbrick are the names with the strongest local ties that have surfaced. Tom Jurich, the highly regarded University of Louisville athletic director, is the first and most prominent within the AD fraternity to surface. He certainly won’t be the last.
Not a bad list to kick off the search with, but the chances of Jurich leaving Louisville for Indiana are zero unless IU is willing to pay upwards of $750,000 (or more) annually. And given the financial packages that are currently on the books, it would be hard to justify that kind of cash for a guy who would likely want to come in and get his own guy to head the football program.
McRobbie, who departed the country for a planned trip shortly after Greenspan’s resignation was announced, is expected to make the final decision himself. He hasn’t said how the candidates will be identified, but sources within the university’s athletic department expect him to take one of three routes.
The most likely process would mirror the one McRobbie used to hire Crean. He formed a search committee to identify two or three finalists and made the hire after conferring with IU’s nine-member board.
Hopefully this will be the route used in the hiring as it would put McRobbie’s accountability front and center and give him a chance to put his stamp on the athletic department going forward. If he makes the right call, he solidifies himself as an important figure in the rebuilding process following the Kelvin Sampson fiasco. If not, well, you know the story.
The final point of interest from the piece is the debate on whether IU needs to hire an AD with “Indiana ties.” Mike Pegram, who runs Peegs.com, feels it’s a necessity while former IU cross-country and track runner Bob Kennedy isn’t so sure:
“I didn’t formerly subscribe to hiring an IU guy,” said Pegram. “But now I do. I just think now it’s so important to nurture the Indiana culture—emphasizing playing by the rules, graduation, doing things the right way. I think having the kind of sensibility that will come from someone with Indiana ties is now more important than ever.”
“We have to keep our horizons broad and get the best possible person,” said Kennedy, who was recently elected to the IU Varsity Club board of directors. “It’s up to the president and trustees to define a culture and hire people best able to nurture the culture you want.”
I’m going with Kennedy on this. If we subscribe to the “we need an IU guy” theory, Tom Crean is still in Marquette and we’re left with Steve Alford or Dan Dakich. The necessity is to hire best candidate out there, regardless of previous affiliations.
So, ITH’ers: A couple of questions for you to ponder and then discuss. What do you think of the early list of candidates? Any names that intrigue you? Do you want McRobbie making the final call on Greenspan’s replacement? And finally, do we need an “IU guy” in the role of athletic director?
Indiana University President Michael McRobbie, who might be finally starting to figure out the importance of the basketball program in Bloomington, told the NCAA infractions committee in a hearing last month that hiring Kelvin Sampson was a mistake. Who knew?
“Indiana University took a risk in hiring Coach Sampson and giving him a second chance following his problems at Oklahoma. It is now clear that this was a risk that should not have been taken and the university regrets doing so. These coaches were entrusted not just with the success of our men’s basketball program, but with the good name of Indiana University. I am not just saddened, I am angry, that they betrayed that trust.”
As more and more information from the hearing starts to become public, you’re going to see a trend. IU stance: We should have never hired Sampson. Please don’t hurt us, NCAA overlords. We’ll never misbehave again! Sampson and the coaching staff were rogue actors who we could not control (despite the fact that we had their phone records; hence the failure to monitor charge).
You know, I could almost get on board with the rogue actors theory, but the fact that IU wasn’t on top of this whole fiasco from the beginning leaves me with little sympathy for any carnage that might ensue. Luckily for all of Hoosier Nation, IU has the right man in Tom Crean to rebuild the program. Unfortunately, it’s going to be a rough couple of years.
Just as I breathlessly thanked everyone for our first year and alluded to all the drama of the past year that has seemingly passed us by, something else creeps up. Rick Greenspan has resigned as athletic director at IU, effective at the end of this calendar year. The Infractions Committee has also charged IU with “failure to monitor” which seems to coincide with what castaway Kelvin Sampson was trying to use as his defense.
From IU Media Relations:
Indiana University today (June 26) released the text of a further allegation that has been made against it by the NCAA Committee on Infractions. This allegation, called Allegation 6, is titled “failure to monitor,” and follows five other allegations made against the university earlier this year by the NCAA. A hearing concerning these first five allegations was held on 14 and 15 June. The text of the letter citing this new allegation can be viewed at http://www.indiana.edu/~iunews/letter.pdf. Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie said the University intends to defend itself vigorously against this additional allegation.
According to the Hoosier Scoop, a 4:30 press conference has been scheduled at Assembly Hall. More information is sure to trickle out from it and in the coming days. But wow: a preliminary glance at this puts IU at just as much fault as Sampson. Who would have thought that. (Certainly not me. This post might look a bit foolish now.) We’ll have more as this develops.
A year ago today, Big A tossed down the very first post on this here blog. (About Bud freakin’ Mackey of all people.) Since then, it’s been about the most gosh darn eventful time in IU’s recent — or perhaps entire — history. To wit: we had Mackey and crack, Sampson phone problems, Senderoff’s resignation, players getting suspended, and suspended, and suspended, Sampson phone troubles again, his dismissal, the Dakich take over, the team collapsing under the weight of it all, Dakich booting Bassett and Ellis, Tom Crean taking over, the whole damn team leaving and Crean recruiting everyone you haven’t heard of under the sun. (We can all breath now. Phew.)
If you were to say we expected even a tenth of this stuff to go down, we would not have believed you. (This is how these things always go, it seems.) But hey, it was fun to cover and blog about. Sure: we would have loved for IU to storm their way to the Final Four, for Eric Gordon, D.J. White and Kelvin Sampson to cut down the nets in San Antonio, but things do not always go as we would have hoped.
Without confirming with E — though I know I don’t need to — the reason this site has garnered any amount of success is because of Big A. The guy lives and breathes this blog and he churns out the posts day in and day out. Myself and E are tied up with other writing endeavors outside of the real jobs (I’m also incredibly lazy); without Big A this site ceases to exist.
Lastly, we want to thank each and everyone of you. Without the comments, the visits, the feedback and the tips, we wouldn’t be nearly as enthused about the site, and what the future holds for it. To the commenters who have been here since the start, (hi Kelin and Jamie!) we thank you. To those that joined along the way and have made a community out of this place, we thank you. We hope we’ve done a good job with year one; we look forward to year two.
Kelvin Sampson, who recently went out the back door of Hotel Deca between two dumpsters to avoid the media at the NCAA hearings, has apparently taken on the role of public relations manager for Eric Gordon. Rather than giving us the explanation we all deserve about his repeated acts of stupidity while in Bloomington, out the back door Kelvin talked to Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman about EJ and his future in the league.
The willingness of Sampson to speak to Mayberry was likely contingent on an agreement that the NCAA mess would not be discussed. (He might not ever talk, but please, pester him until he finally caves.) Anyway, here is Kelvin pronouncing his man love for Gordon:
“I don’t see how this kid could miss. He’s good. He’s really, really, really good, and he has a chance to be great.”
“The thing he can do is score, and his size is not going to be a factor (in the NBA). He is a shade under 6-foot-4, but he weighs right at 215 pounds, maybe a little more. He’s a great athlete. He has great explosion off the dribble and has great range.”
“If you saw him in college this year, he got double-teamed and he was the focus of everybody’s scouting report but still succeeded. He’s the real deal. There’s not any question in my mind about this kid.”
“Eric is going to be a prolific scorer at some point. I think the maturation process for him has a lot to do with how good the team is that drafts him. If he goes to a team that’s building and is probably a couple years away from making the playoffs, that probably can speed his maturation up some, kind of like Kevin Durant.”
“You have to understand that Eric turned 19 last year. So he’s still a kid that’s a freshman in college. He’ll have some growing pains. But the thing he has is unbelievable ability. He’s one of those kids that are going to get better every year, too.”
Update #2: The hearings concluded late on Saturday and The Hoosier Scoop has comments from Rick Greenspan, Jerry Meyer and Rob Senderoff’s attorney. The case is now in the hands of the infractions committee and it could be as long as six weeks before the results are made public.
Update: The hearings will continue into Saturday. No big news from Friday, but reporters from the AP caught up with Sampson and here’s what he had to say about the hearings: “It went well. It’s a process. We’ll be back tomorrow.” That’s some groundbreaking stuff, Kelvin. IU officials had no comment.
Today, Kelvin Sampson has his date in court with the NCAA — the day he’s supposedly been looking forward to in order to set the record straight. So what happens on this Friday the 13th? Does Sampson win the court over and pull out an O.J. Simpson-esque victory? Does the courtroom turn into a scene from A Few Good Men … YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!
And most importantly, how worried are we the NCAA is going to drop the hammer and further sanction the men’s basketball program when a decision is announced a month or so from now? A little worried? Sort of worried? Not really worried because the penalty will be light if there’s any penalty at all?
(Those of you looking for specifics of how everything will go down, Mark Alesia of The Indianapolis Starhas you covered.)
Holler at us in the comments with thoughts and we’ll do our best to get some coverage up as the day unfolds.
Also, for some background on how it’s all come to this, check out our time line with links to coverage after the jump…