May 26, 2006
Now that the final statements are in from Kelvin Sampson and the Indiana administration over the NCAA's one-year sanction regarding Indiana's recruiting, I feel that this will send a clear message.
Something tells me Sampson will really learn a lesson from what transpired at Oklahoma. There is no doubt that there were major mistakes made. There was a repetition of illegal phone calls at Oklahoma, a violation of NCAA rules, which was uncalled for.
Let me tell you something about Sampson. In the long run, he will make sure that he takes a negative and turns it into a positive. I thoroughly believe he and his staff will adhere to every regulation. It is important because the Indiana administration stood behind him and supported his future.
Indiana was in a position where his contract had a termination clause if the NCAA ruled for stronger sanctions than Oklahoma's self-penalty. Indiana did not impose that punishment, keeping him as coach. Now that Sampson can't leave campus to recruit for a year or make phone calls to potential student-athletes, this is not an easy situation.
The Hoosier staff now in place will work hard to get players in place. They will get the recruiting in high gear and Indiana has tradition and the Big Ten in its favor. Sampson has embraced the Bobby Knight supporters, recognizing the importance of the school's great history.
Look for Indiana to move in a positive direction from this moment on. The staff will work diligently to succeed and Sampson will put this past him.
Dick Vitale coached the Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in 1979. Send a question for Vitale for possible use on ESPNEWS.