NCAA to Former Head Men’s Basketball Coach at Indiana: Get Bent!

Posted by rtmsf on June 30th, 2009

Today the NCAA rejected former Indiana head coach Kelvin Sampson’s appeal for leniency with respect to his existing moratorium on coaching at a member institution (technically, Sampson can be hired somewhere, but the institution hiring him must show the NCAA that it understands the recruiting penalties he’ll be working under and outline how they will monitor him – a rather burdensome process).  In his appeal, Sampson argued that 1) the NCAA’s finding that he “knowingly violated [NCAA] penalties” from the Oklahoma probation while coaching at Indiana was meritless; and, 2) that the NCAA is biased against him for some reason.  The NCAA quickly brushed aside these points by merely stating that it finds “no basis” on which to conclude their findings were “contrary to the evidence.”  Well, now. 
What About This Former Head Men's Basketball Coach at IU?

What About This Former Head Men's Basketball Coach at IU?

What’s odd about this report is that nowhere in the entire ten-page document is Kelvin Sampson actually named.  For some reason, the NCAA repeatedly referred to Sampson as “Former Head Men’s Basketball Coach” at Indiana University.  The only other identifier is the infractions report number (287), so how can we be certain that they’re imposing these restrictions on Sampson?  What if Bob Knight tries to return next season?  Or Branch McCracken?  Everett Dean?  Will they too have to carry the weight of these penalties as a “Former Head Men’s Basketball Coach” as well?

All kidding aside, let’s all agree to not talk about the Current Assistant Basketball Coach for the Milwaukee Bucks ever again.  Or at least until some snivelling school desperate for Ws gets it in their heads that, “hey, we can hire a second-rate F4 coach for peanuts and all we have to do is track his phone calls!  We can do that!”  RTC sets the over/under on a collegiate job offer for the CABC of the Bucks at two years (2011). 

Share this story

IU Still Struggling With the Whole Illegal Phone Call Thing…

Posted by rtmsf on February 25th, 2009

Tom Crean should be proud of his Indiana team this year – despite basically playing with D2 talent, the Hoosiers have used grit and hustle to compete in nearly every Big Ten game, even winning one against Iowa a few weeks ago.  Furthermore, the stench of impropriety and illicit activity that enveloped Bloomington during the tenure of Kelvin Sanctions is finally, like a soupy fog lingering to mid-day, starting to lift.  As a result, the phone lines at the athletic department are free and clear; nobody is hiding under their desks trying to, um, get a signal (yeah, that’s you, Senderoff). 

What’s that? 

Please Pick Me Up and Call a Recruit

Please Pick Me Up and Call a Recruit

Oh, maybe the stink hasn’t quite dissipated after all.  Perhaps there’s something about the phones in that place that is so magnificent… so wonderful… so awe-inspiring, that coaches just can’t resist the siren-like urge to pick it up and call someone.  Someone like, oh we dunno, just thinking out loud here, maybe… a recruit!  From the Indy Star:

Indiana University reported a secondary NCAA violation involving what the school said was an inadvertent extra phone call by the men’s basketball staff to recruit Bawa Muniru in October.  IU punished itself by not making any recruiting phone calls for a week in December, according to the report, revealed through a public records request by The Indianapolis Star.

Rumors and Rants had an excellent set of suggestions for the Indiana coaching brass, seeing as how they have loads of trouble getting all these confounding phone rules right (i.e., two calls per week, fellas).  Here are their best two recommendations:

The smoke signal: This is one of the oldest forms of communication known to man, dating back to ancient China, and it’s particularly useful for long distances. The smoke signal will be most effective when courting in-state recruits in places like Indianapolis, Richmond and Terre Haute.

The heliograph: Here’s another one where knowing Morse Code will come in handy. A heliograph was standard issue in the British and Australian armies until the 1960s, and involves using a flashes of sunlight to convey Morse Code with, basically, a mirror. It works, according to Wikipedia, to 50 kilometers or more, which is perfect if you want to get in touch with a player while recruiting in Canada or Europe.

Agreed.  Nothing says Ironic Indiana U. basketball like using smoke signals to communicate with each other.  Right, Eric?

Share this story

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.”

Cartoon Stock

photo credit:

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.

data source:

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.

Share this story

ATB: Stephen Curry “Held” Scoreless

Posted by rtmsf on November 26th, 2008


Indiana & Kelvin Sanctions (cont.). The big news of the day was of course that Indiana managed to avoid postseason sanctions even though they’ll formally be on probation for the next three seasons.  Kelvin Sampson, to his credit, took responsibility for the complete lack of oversight at Indiana ‘while on his watch,’ but at least once Tom Crean gets this program moving in the right direction again, the Hoosiers won’t also be burdened by the crimson scarlet letter of postseason sanctions.  Recruits can still be sold on the basis of playing in the postseason at Indiana (although admittedly, that seems farfetched at this point, even within three years).  Sampson is now working for the Milwaukee Bucks as an assistant, but he’s now effectively barred from coaching in the NCAA for the next five years as part of a ‘show cause’ restriction (a school would have to show cause for the NCAA to allow it to hire him).  Frankly, this seems to us like a penalty that was ‘easy’ for the NCAA to prove, but one that doesn’t necessarily fit when we know of so many other obvious recruiting violations that are simply untidy for prosecution and therefore ignored.

Games of the Night. We had two great games today, for the first time all season.

  • Notre Dame 81, Texas 80. This game was nearly everything we expected, and a little more (featured by Justin Mason, below).  Notre Dame was led by Luke Harangody’s 29/13 and a 40-footer at the shot clock expiration to what seemed like a solid win with a minute to go, up 79-71.  Then the bricks started – Tory Jackson missed two from the line; Zach Hillesland missed two from the line; then Harongody missed both with five seconds left, leaving the door open for Texas to win the game with a two (ND was only up 81-80 at that time).  Luckily for Notre Dame, AJ Abrams’ 60-footer at the buzzer was just a bit short (but right online).  Good performances abound – ND’s Kyle McAlarney had 19/5 including five threes, and Texas’ was led by AJ Abrams’ 23/5 and Damion James 11/12.  Both of these teams are top ten worthy, in our opinion, and we expect Notre Dame to give Carolina all they want tomorrow evening.

  • Syracuse 89, Kansas 81 (OT). This was a phenomenal game with enough eye-popping plays to cause Beetlejuice to take notice.  Kansas appeared as if they were going to blow the game open in the mid-second half until Jim Boeheim changed his trapping defense up and seemingly stole the ball a dozen straight times for dunks and layups.  This 13-2 run led to a tight game down the stretch which was capped by Jonny Flynn’s (25/5 assts) dagger three with 6.4 seconds remaining (see below) to effectively send the game to overtime.  Cuse continued its hot shooting in the OT – Andy Rautins and Eric Devendorf combined for six threes in the game – and KU appeared to lose its confidence in the extra period.  KU’s Cole Aldrich (15/14) and SU’s Arinze Onuaku (19/12) both showed a strong skill set in the post as each tried to one-up the other during the game.  Both of these teams are going to be very good this season.

What’s Wrong with Steph Curry? Davidson 78, Loyola (MD) 48. Nothing, that’s what.  As in Steph Curry put up a donut tonight in the points column (get a good look below because we doubt you’ll ever see it again).  The word is that Loyola head man Jimmy Patsos strategized to take Curry completely out of the game by double-teaming him on every offensive possession, anywhere he went on the court.  Curry, happy to let his teammates play every possession 4-on-3, stood in the corner and watched as they got open look after open look (14 threes went down).  Remember, Jimmy Patsos is the coach who decided to leave the bench last week during a game to sit in the stands.  We’re starting to seriously worry that he could be losing his mind.  We’re not sure if a player averaging over 35ppg has ever had a scoreless game, but jeez, Steph, what happened on the three shots you missed?


Read the rest of this entry »

Share this story

10.29.08 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on October 28th, 2008

The news is coming fast and furious now…

  • More preseason conference predictions, this time from the Big 10 – Purdue, Michigan St., Wisconsin.  Purdue’s Robbie Hummel is POY.  A10 – Xavier, Temple, Dayton. 
  • Indiana continues to clean up things in the wake of the Kelvin Sanctions fiasco, hiring Fred Glass as the new AD.
  • Is Greg Paulus losing his starting PG slot at Duke to Nolan Smith?  Goodman thinks so.  He also thinks that UNC is more vulnerable than people think and Wake has pure talent that is second-to-none.
  • Seth Davis believes that Duke is going to be a lot better this year – we remain skeptical about their prospects in March.
  • Gary Parrish’s top 20 freshmen to watch in 2008-09, and 10 coaches who are on the hot seat.
  • This won’t help recruiting at Quinnapiac in the near future. 
Share this story

10.01.08 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on October 1st, 2008

It’s Wednesday afternoon, 72 degrees and sunny, and we’re heading outside…

  • Kelvin Sanctions fires back at Indiana – get this blasted bus off of me!
  • Good news – Bob Knight will be back on your television set in some capacity this winter.  Will Digger’s jealous rage get in the way?
  • We like this – which coaches got begotten, er, begatten? 
  • Let’s call it the “trickle-down effect” of college basketball.  Although unlike the economic version, this kind, you know, actually works?
  • Two weeks ago, we (and our bookies – seriously, the check is on the way) might have been worried about this…  luckily, the implosion of the Palin-drone appears nearly complete, and our worries have subsided.
  • The guy who allegedly killed Tubby Smith’s nephew pleaded not guilty in Worcester, Mass., yesterday.  There were numerous witnesses – good luck with that. 
  • For fear of karmic payback of mammoth proportions, we’ll abstain from captioning the below photo (h/t Hugging Harold Reynolds), but LORDY…  you’ve got Jim Boeheim, Gary Williams and Mark Gottfriend all in one place!  All you need to add is Steve Lavin and Dave Odom (6th man: John Brady) and you’d have a starting five of mediocrity unmatched in history.

Share this story

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?

Share this story

09.18.08 Fast Breaks

Posted by rtmsf on September 18th, 2008

Wouldn’t it be nice if this were Oct. 19 instead of Sept. 19?

  • Which Great White Hope is actually a better player? – maybe we’ll delve into that sometime soon.  Gary Parrish takes a look now.
  • The seemingly snakebitten AJ Price from UConn is supposedly all the way back from offseason ACL surgery.  In completely unrelated news, UConn has added Lojack to all of its campus laptops. 
  • In a somewhat odd twist, the NCAA directed Indiana to delay its response to the latest allegations from the Kelvin Sanctions scandal last spring.  The university now has until Sept. 26 to craft its response.  Someone go on vacation?
  • Seth Davis writes a pretty good recount of what five teams – Kansas, Missouri, Purdue, S. Illinois and Notre Dame – did on their Labor Day weekend trips.
  • Remember Illinois guard Jamar Smith? – he received 18 months probation for his alcohol violation stemming from his DUI arrest last spring.  He plans to play for S. Indiana next season (yeah, that’s what we said too).
Share this story

Nebraska the New Indiana?

Posted by rtmsf on September 10th, 2008

Patrick Marshall of Bluejay Basketball is the RTC Big 12 correspondent and an occasional contributor. 

In the storied not so storied history of Nebraska basketball established in 1897, the program has never won an NCAA Tournament game.  However, Nebraska coach Doc Sadler is doing almost anything he can to get players that might get them the opportunity, and it appears his tactics might be pushing closer and closer to a recruiting violation.


What’s Up, Doc?

The latest case is Jorge Diaz, a 7 foot prospect that played most recently on the Puerto Rico Junior National team.  Diaz is still an oral commitment to Nebraska, but he has not been enrolled in school and did not sign a letter of intent.  Apparently he has been cleared by the NCAA Clearinghouse, but has not been able to enroll at Nebraska because he hasn’t met their enrollment standards.  The thing holding things up is a checkmark in his application to Nebraska about English not being his first language and he didn’t take a required test to verify he was proficient in English.  But as this gets more and more involved and school officials have started commenting on things, it gets about as close as it can to a recruiting violation. Check this timeline: 

August 29 – the Omaha World Herald Newspaper has been aggressively printing stories on the recruitment of this player.  They start out by mentioning that Diaz’s enrollment was held up because of his English proficiency and point out that “Husker coaches can’t comment on Diaz until he is enrolled.”  He had until Tuesday, 9/2 to enroll at Nebraska

September 3 – The next day after the deadline, the Omaha World Herald published another article updating the Diaz situation, stating that he is still not enrolled at Nebraska yet but printed that AD Tom Osborne and Coach Doc Sadler said that they are “still actively recruiting Diaz.” 

September 4 – the paper published even another article on the Diaz situation saying that Nebraska is re-recruiting Diaz since he was not able to enroll for this semester and the earliest he could enroll now at Nebraska would be after the first semester.  However, the paper quotes Coach Sadler that he is “aggressively” trying to re-recruit the center and is also quoted, “Hopefully, Jorge will get what he has to get done to be admitted to school.”  Tom Shatel from the OWH also wrote an editorial published that day on the Diaz situation.   

The Lincoln Journal Star at the time had very few updates and articles on the Diaz situation, but it was mostly because they had their 360 degree football helmet on.  However the articles in the LJS didn’t have the same quotes that were published by the Omaha World Herald.  Couldn’t all of these public quotes about a recruit not yet enrolled in school potentially be a recruiting violation?

The status on Diaz—still an oral commit and might be able to enroll at Nebraska in December.  However, Kentucky, Arkansas and other schools are knocking on his door.  

This is the latest fiasco in Nebraska basketball recruiting, but let’s look at the rest of the situations that have occurred just in this year’s recruiting:

  • Roburt Sallie—Roburt was originally recruited in 2006, but could not academically qualify to play for Nebraska, so instead went to juco and this year was re-recruited and committed to Nebraska.  However, little did anyone know that in 2006, Roburt enrolled at Nebraska and was in class for a week.  Unfortunately, Big 12 rule 6.2, which says that any student-athlete who enrolls at a conference institution, part or full time, must meet initial NCAA eligibility requirements. Sallie had not met those requirements when he was enrolled as a part-time student in August 2006.  Whoops.  Looks like someone dropped the ball there and Roburt was deemed ineligible to play for the Huskers.  Roburt is now with Memphis.  What a reward for John Calipari.  He seems to get all the luck
  • Christopher Niemann–Niemann, a 6-11 center and the other original from the 2-man recruiting class with Roburt Sallie is scheduled to arrive from Germany. He has been declared ineligible by the NCAA for his freshman season but can participate in practices. He’ll have three years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2009-10.  Christopher participated on a German club team that had some professionals on its roster, even though he accepted no pay. The same thing happened last season to players from Iowa State and Washington State who were former teammates of Niemann.  Slingblade for some reason thought he was going to get to play right away this season, but the history of Niemann’s teammates from last year should have said something. 
  • Teeng Akol—Teeng was supposed to make a visit to Nebraska and said, “I think I can help them.  I’m not familiar with everything, but I know they’re in the Big 12.”  He originally signed with South Florida over West Virginia, Oklahoma, Xavier, Southern Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky.  Akol signed scholarship papers in June with South Florida. However, USF officials suddenly asked Akol to leave the school because of academic reasons, despite the fact he’d already been admitted and was taking summer classes.  So it sounded like the Huskers were going to get a steal.  However, Teeng visited Oklahoma State first and  never looked back.  He didn’t even make his visit to Nebraska.
  • Eshaunte Jones—Eshaunte actually did get signed and sealed by Doc Sadler for this season.  However he comes with baggage as well.  He originally committed to Indiana in the fall of 2006. He instead went to Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia, where he played last season. He then signed with Oregon State but was released from his letter of intent when the school changed coaches.  Boy the paperwork that must have been done on that one.
  • Brandon Ubel—Brandon, from Overland Park, KS seems like the only normal one in the bunch accepting a scholarship offer for 2009-10, but of course it is still an oral commitment until later this fall when early signing occurs.   

The loser in this whole situation—Paul Velander.  The walk-on that has played significant minutes for Nebraska the past two seasons was originally slated to get the scholarship vacated when Roburt Sallie found out he couldn’t come to Nebraska, but even as the Diaz fiasco continues, poor Paul still doesn’t get a scholarship. 

Share this story

What Will Give (i)U Peace of Mind?

Posted by rtmsf on August 19th, 2008

Ok, we’ll be the first to recognize that the administration at Indiana University has had an apocryphal six months with its basketball program.  There’s no need to rehash all that’s happened (see here, here and here for some of our previous posts), but much like a regular dude on the prowl after a particularly crazyeyed Stephanie Ragusa girlfriend experience, the administration may have gotten a little peepee in the pants over its next flavor of love – Tom Crean – he who represents a seemingly austere return to normalcy.


Harding’s Presidency Didn’t Go So Well Either

Hey, we like Coach Crean.  Seems like a nice fella who can coach a little basketball.  Had a superb March run at an urban Catholic school a few years ago with a wiry guard named Dwyane Wade, as we recall.  Of course that run in 2003 was followed by only one NCAA win in the next five years, which was subsequently followed by Crean taking the Indiana job and watching as pretty much everyone who could play basketball in Bloomington exited stage left (regards to Kyle Taber, we’re sure he’s quite talented – after all he does shoot 78% from the floor). 

In full panic mode, the IU brass today approved a 10-year, $24 million contract for Tom Crean to coach their beloved Hoosiers.  This comes on the heels of national championship coach Bill Self recently signing a 10-year, $30 million deal with Kansas.  Now we know that over ten years, a $6 million dollar difference is a lot of money, but we still have trouble seeing Tom Crean anywhere near the same coaching stratosphere as Bill Self (see comparison table below).  This appears to have every mark of an administration that is desperately seeking stability (which they’ll probably get) without any clue as to how good (and how fast) Crean can will make Indiana. 


But hey, they’ll have peace of mind about the recruiting violations, right? 

More:  Crean’s contract, for your reading pleasure. 

Share this story