According to a report on WTHR.com, Indiana University has scheduled a press conference for 2 p.m. to discuss the findings of their one-week investigation into the allegations made by the NCAA against IU head coach Kelvin Sampson.
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.”
[ … ]
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.
According to an Associated Press report, Indiana Athletic Director Rick Greenspan met with the men’s basketball team on Thursday evening, presumably to discuss the future of head coach Kelvin Sampson:
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.
Indiana University spokesman Larry 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.
So there will be some type of announcement, most likely a press conference, sometime on Friday as we expected. What the announcement is, however, does not seem to be clear cut at this point as conflicting reports have surfaced throughout the day from various media outlets.
We’ve been following the Kelvin Sampson story closely all day and the latest development is via our friends at The Hoosier Scoop. In reaction to Jeff Goodman of Fox Sports and other reports released today, IU spokesman Larry MacIntyre offered the following comments to the Scoop:
Larry MacIntyre said at 3:30 that the reports that Sampson has been fired or has resigned are incorrect. He said both of those are possible scenarios for what could happen, but neither has happened at this point. MacIntyre also said that IU has not scheduled a press conference for Friday afternoon at this point. He said that staff is making preparations in case a press conference is held because it is a possibility, but no decision to have a press conference has been made.
Okay, a couple of quick observations:
— This is a typical IU spokesperson response. Nothing against MacIntyre, I’m sure he’s a fine lad, but we all know that Sampson is gone, one way or another, tomorrow.
— There will undoubtedly be some type of press conference tomorrow. Can you imagine the media circus at the game on Saturday if there was no press conference and Dakich just showed up to coach the team at Northwestern? Won’t happen.
At this point, I’m not really sure what to believe. We’ve had three different reports today on Kelvin Sampson’s future as the head basketball coach at Indiana. The latest is from Jeff Goodman of Foxsports.com:
Sampson was informed early Thursday that he will no longer be the coach at Indiana, numerous sources told FOXSports.com. 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 FOXSports.com, “I don’t know that to be true.” Campbell also said no official announcement was currently scheduled for Friday.
This is precisely what happens when different media entities try to get the scoop on a major story: we get varying reports. We’ll keep a close eye on developments of this story as the day continues and keep you posted with the latest.
For those of you clamoring for up to the second updates, our friends from The Hoosier Scoop are on the scene…
WISH TV 8 out of Indianapolis is reporting that IU is in negotiations to buy out head coach Kelvin Sampson and a team meeting has been called for later this afternoon:
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – 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.
As this continues to develop the rest of the day into tomorrow, I have a feeling we could see various reports of how this might all go down. It seems a buyout would be the best case scenario for both parties as it would give Sampson some compensation and would also allow Indiana to move on for the rest of the season and ultimately hire a new coach after the season.
Also, the Hoosier Scoop is reporting the Indiana players D.J. White, Eric Gordon and Lance Stemler may have met with Indiana President Michael McRobbie and Athletic Director Rick Greenspan this morning with the hopes of saving Sampson.
No surprise here, but Rich Nye from WTHR-13 in Indianapolis is reporting that Dan Dakich will take over the head coaching duties for the Hoosiers starting Saturday at Northwestern. This confirms what E reported on ITH about a week ago. Here is an excerpt from the report:
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, Kelvin 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.
Not a huge surprise as Dakich is the logical choice to finish the season at the helm. Indiana is expected to make a public announcement tomorrow regarding the findings of their one week investigation.
The Hoosier Scoop also acknowledged the report, but reporter Doug Wilson says another source close to the athletic department claims that Nye’s report is not entirely accurate.
This video (via EC) is amusing for a number of reasons. Let us ordered list the ways:
Jenn Sterger is no longer a cowgirl. She is now “the Sports Babe.” I am not sure if she has taken a step forward or backward on the evolutionary chain with this name change. One can never tell.
Whoa! How did she change clothes like that!
Sterger asks Sampson what the Sampsonites are all about. He wishes he was still getting these softballs.
Eric Gordon. Silent. So silent.
This was filmed during and around the Iowa game at home Jan. 23. It was put onto YouTube Feb. 14, two days after ESPN announced the NCAA’s major violation charges against Sampson. Timing: it is everything.
This is weird. Isn’t it? Isn’t it strange to be in this position right now? To gather, as I did last night, with friends at a bar, to celebrate another game with a Fat Tire and a sandwich, and to know all along that no matter what happens, your team’s coach is going down? He can beat your most hated rival (who just so happens to be the Big Ten’s top team) and still, against his will, it will be the last win of his tenure.
That’s two such wins now. The first was Saturday against Michigan State, a dominating performance that showed a resilient team rallying around their coach. The second was last night. Was it me, or did the focus seem to shift? Maybe it was because I was in a bar and couldn’t make out the commentary very well, but did last night’s audience — swept up in an important rivalry atmosphere — seem to forget about the sanctions for 40 minutes? I know I did.
It will be jarring to lose Sampson on Friday, but at this point, I’m not sure his presence is needed on the sidelines anymore. Stay with me here. It’s hard to complain about distractions after two very solid wins, but Sampson’s saga is a distraction. His assistants have been coaching this team all year; no doubt IU’s players feel just as comfortable with each of them as they do with Sampson. (Perhaps moreso, given the player-assistant-as-friends dynamic a lot of teams have.) It will be a difficult adjustment, seeing Dan Dakich running up and down the sidelines, but if the Hoosiers showed anything last night, it was a level of maturity and self-definition that gives me confidence in the coming games.
But that confidence doesn’t mean part of me won’t miss Sampson. He’s only been here for two years, yes, and even if this eulogy is premature (we still think Sampson’s going to be suspended Friday rather than fired), it will be a different place without him. He’s a frustrating coach, but if the past two years have taught us anything about his style it’s that his teams improve. They get better. They can make you miserable in November and December and even January, but come February and March they coalesce. They play hard together. They defend. And they’re fun to watch.
It’s a shame we can’t have a third year, but it’s a self-inflicted shame. And we know what we have to do. The dog might be cute. You might love the dog. But if the dog can’t control his bite, you put him down. It sucks, and it’s sad, but it’s best for everybody.
Eric Gordon scored 22 points, D.J. White added 19 points and 15 rebounds and Armon Bassett chipped in 16 as Indiana moved into a three-way tie in the loss column for first place in the Big Ten with a 77-68 win over Purdue.
The Hoosiers (22-4, 11-2 Big Ten) committed 23 turnovers, but hit 30 of 34 free throws and won the rebounding battle 46-30.
“We wanted E.J. and Armon to really drive it ,” Indiana coach Kelvin Sampson said. “Play through D.J. as much as we could knowing that they would post double him, but just try to get to that free throw line. The turnover thing, like I said after the Minnesota game, sometimes you have to bring them in the huddle and remind them what color jersey you’re wearing.”
Much like the Michigan State game, the Hoosiers got off to a slow start. Purdue led 16-10 with 10:19 remaining in the first half before a 7-0 run gave Indiana its first lead.
The Boilermakers (21-6, 12-2) led 25-23 late in the first half, but Lance Stemler hit a three-pointer and the Hoosiers never relinquished the lead the rest of the way.
White, who was questionable due to a knee injury suffered on Saturday night against Michigan State, looked to be close to 100 percent and dominated the interior before fouling out with 10 seconds remaining.