Kelvin Sanctions – Should IU be Worried?

Posted by rtmsf on October 15th, 2007

Lost amidst all the Midnight Madness celebrations this weekend was news from Indiana that head coach Kelvin Sanctions Sampson was caught violating the terms of his agreement with the NCAA related to recruiting violations while he was at Oklahoma.  Citing “an environment of deliberate noncompliance” in May 2006, the NCAA Infractions Committee placed several restrictions on Sampson for making excessive phone calls to recruits.   One of the key added restrictions was that Sampson was not allowed to initiate phone calls to recruits or be present when a staff member made such calls for a year hence.  The meat:

Therefore, his current employing institution shall, pursuant to the provisions of NCAA Bylaw (l), show cause why it should not be penalized if it does not prohibit the former head coach, for a period of one year from the date of the release of this report (May 25, 2006 through May 24, 2007), from 1) making any phone calls that relate in any way to recruiting or being present when members of his staff make such calls; and 2) engaging in any off-campus recruiting activities.

So what does he do?  He makes phone calls to recruits, of course. 

Kelvin Sampson IU

IU athletic director Rick Greenspan said a two-month review determined that on approximately 10 occasions, an assistant coach initiated three-way calls that connected Sampson into an on-going recruiting conversation with prospective student-athletes, their parents or coaches.

Indiana, fearing that the NCAA would come down hard on the program for such an egregious violation of noncompliance by their coach, handed out its own punishment to Sampson this weekend.  As a result, Sampson will not receive his scheduled $500k raise this season and the team will lose a scholarship for the 2008-09 campaign (nevermind that IU recruit Bud Mackey effectively surrendered his scholarship back to IU a couple of weeks ago).  The assistant coach who initiated the calls will also give up his raise and not be allowed to recruit away from campus.  Here’s Sampson’s explanation:

All of the calls were kids that were calling me. Our coaches did a great job in telling kids that ‘Coach can’t you call you because of the sanctions so will you call him?’ And that’s what we did. I found out about the three-way calls after they looked at the records. They saw that there had been three-way calls made and found out that Rob (Senderoff) had, after the kid had called me and tried to reach me on my cell phone, they would call coach Senderoff back and say ‘Coach Sampson was unavailable. I tried him on his cellphone.’ So what Rob was doing was patching the calls into me, and I was getting them not knowing that Rob had made the connection. But when I answered the phone in these situations, the kid would start talking.

Will this be enough to satisfy the NCAA?  We’re not sure about that, but we are a little appalled that Kelvin & Co. had the cojones to run the same trick again.  This willful noncompliance on the part of his staff suggests that IU fans may have reason for concern.  One of the oft-repeated statements during the weekend by IU brass was that Indiana basketball has not had a major NCAA violation since 1960.  Sampson is clearly pushing the envelope with his bosses, and many fans remain skeptical of his legitimacy based upon issues he had at Oklahoma.  It’ll be interesting to see what, if any, opinion of Sampson changes with the likelihood of IU’s best team in years taking the court this season. 

Update:  Say what you want about Sampson’s wilfullness here, but nobody can accuse him of covering things up (yet).  Apparently an intern in the compliance department was the person who uncovered these phone calls.  He likely works for free school credit, and yet he’s costing Kelvin Sampson $500k/year.  Memo to intern – probably don’t want to hit up the IU head man for a rec anytime soon.  (h/t March to Madness)

rtmsf (3954 Posts)

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