Now We Know Why IU Was Recruiting Bud Mackey: His Stash

Posted by rtmsf on December 18th, 2008

(* for those of you unfamiliar with Mr. Mackey, click here for his personal saga….)

The Indianapolis Star reported tonight that former Hoosier standout Eric Gordon spent time living off-campus during last year’s tumultuous season  in large part because of the drug use that was occurring among members of his team.  He declined to name names of the users, but he did say the following:

Gordon didn’t say 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.”

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If true, this confirms one of the oft-repeated rumors in Bloomington as to the seedy underbelly that led to the demise of Kelvin Sampson possibly even moreso than his ridiculous phone call scandal.  Certainly if Sampson had knowledge of certain players using drugs and he “tried to stop it” but ultimately turned a blind eye to the matter, then Indiana administrators – no dummies, them – would have caught wind of this problem and looked for any way possible to get rid of him.  This also explains the mass exodus that took place both prior to and upon Tom Crean’s arrival in Bloomington.

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We do have one question for Eric Gordon, though, and this in no way should be taken to suggest that we think HE was involved in any illegal activities.  But, it’s a little hypocritical to throw a bunch of your teammates under the bus for a failed season when your own numbers dropped significantly in the last two months of the season, isn’t it (see above fg%)?  Perhaps he’d argue that his mind wasn’t into it anymore because his teammates were more concerned with snorting blow than beating Izzo, but we think, as the best player on the team, he should have taken some responsibility and looked into the mirror with the rest of the clowns to explain IU’s miserable finish in 2007-08 (8-6 after beginning 17-1) .

Update:  We wanted to address a post by the Indiana blog Cannot Falter, which accuses us of shooting ourselves Plaxico Burress-style by failing to mention that Gordon was suffering through an injury to his non-shooting wrist through the second half of the 2007-08 season.  They’re right in that we should have mentioned it as a contributing factor, and for that omission, we apologize.  They’re wrong in that we still don’t believe that was the sole reason for his precipitous decline in play, ESPECIALLY after Kelvin Sampson was fired (the wrist injury was on Jan. 29; IU’s first game w/o Sampson was on Feb. 23).  Not only did Gordon’s FG% drop to a disastrous 32 percent over his last seven games post-Sampson, but he also committed 4.2 turnovers per game in that span (from 46.6% and 3.4 tos).  Was that all due to his wrist injury?  Or did he quit playing and lose focus along with the rest of his drug-addled teammates in those games after his coach was let go?  You tell us.

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IU Responds to NCAA: That Kelvin Sampson is a Baaaaad Man!

Posted by rtmsf on September 29th, 2008

You really gotta love FOIA.  It allows regular folks access to primary and secondary sources that we otherwise would only hear about through reporters, and who knows if those bozos can be trusted to get it right.  (ed. note: we realize of course that the AP in this case submitted the FOIA request; the point here is meant to be that we don’t have to trust what the AP reporters said about the docs, we can look at them ourselves and draw our own conclusions)


Using FOIA, today the AP released Indiana’s response to the NCAA on the allegation that the school failed to monitor Kelvin Sampson and his staff given his ample history of playing a little loosey-goosey with phone calls to recruits.  From the Hoosier Scoop:

Most of what the university’s lawyers state is this letter is reiteration, often with greater evidence or a different emphasis. There’s not a lot of new news.  The executive summary of primary arguments, found on page four, does its job nicely. Both because it outlines IU’s argument and captures the general tenor of the response: just because we didn’t find the calls right away doesn’t mean we weren’t monitoring and . . . Please believe us!  IU states that it’s compliance measures far exceeded those of similar institutions, and that only four of the impermissible calls could have been caught by those measures (even though they eventually were caught by an intern, a fact IU puffs its chest about repeatedly.) The rest of the calls, it claims, were purposefully hidden by the coaches, and would have evaded even the most stringent monitoring efforts.  That’s really the crux of the argument.  As it has been for some time.

Classic CYA here.  It wasn’t our fault, it was all the guy’s fault who we threw under the bus and who is no longer accountable to us!  We did our best but he and his minions were simply too nefarious in their evil dealings! 

The docs:

Quickly looking through some of the exhibits, two things came to mind.  First, when ripping someone at another school by using quotes to discredit their statements, you might want to remember that all emails at a public university are subject to public disclosure.  Hello, Jennifer Hooker Brinegar!  We’re assuming that Oklahoma’s Melanie Roberts is off this year’s Xmas card list.  (see exh. 2, #33)  Secondly, look at the names (see exh. 1, #29)  of the recruits who Sampson and his staff used up all their phone violations on – Bud Mackey (prison), DeJuan Blair (PIttsburgh), Robbie Hummell (Purdue), Demetri McCarney (Illinois) – not a one ended up at Indiana.  Talk about zero return on your investment!

If nothing else, this long Hoosier nightmare appears to be finally reaching an end.  Whether IU gets additionally screwed or not is up to the NCAA brass, but really, how much worse could they be in 2008-09?  Isn’t Kyle Taber and crew punishment enough?

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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)

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Maybe Leave the Crack at Home Next Time?

Posted by rtmsf on October 1st, 2007

We wouldn’t be doing our job if we let this one pass us by. 

Bud Mackey

See Ya in 2015 Bud

Over the weekend various outlets reported that the appropriately-named Bud Mackey, a top 50 player from Georgetown, Ky. (Scott County HS) who committed to Kelvin Sampson’s Indiana Hoosiers, was charged with two felonies related to drug trafficking

Scott County Coach Billy Hicks last night said he plans to visit Mackey at the jail.  “I’m just hoping and praying … you hope it’s not true,” Hicks said. “You hope when it all shakes out there’s a logical explanation.  Hicks said school officials told him that they went to look for Mackey when he didn’t show up for a fifth-period English class and found him, smelling of marijuana, near the building.  Police found [crack] cocaine in his possession.

They must have found more than just a little blow in his possession to make it through those interminable sixth period filmstrips.  In Kentucky, possession of a controlled substance is a class D felony with a penalty of only 1-5 years in prison, while trafficking is a class C felony with a penalty of 5-10 years.  Big difference.  This suggests to us that Bud was carrying around considerably more crack in his pockets than one man could possibly smoke in a lazy afternoon.   


One of Mackey’s Customers

Some blogs are speculating that Kelvin Sampson, known for giving wayward kids second chances, might be inclined to give Mackey another chance at some point in the future.  This assumes that Mackey will be out of prison within the next few years, and that’s highly debatable.  Construda thinks that anything less than a complete separation between IU and Mackey is a no-win situation, and we agree.  This is distinguishable from the JamesOn Curry or Michael Southall situations because they were both convicted for trafficking marijuana.  However, the trafficking of crack cocaine, as a general rule, tends to be dealt with quite a bit more harshly.   Good luck in the criminal court system, Bud, we hardly knew ye. 

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