Friday, May 30, 2008
NCAA downgrades one of five major allegations in Sampson scandal
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University finally got some good news Friday when the NCAA downgraded one of the five major allegations to a secondary violation in the Kelvin Sampson phone-call scandal.
The acknowledgment came after school officials said they had received the NCAA's case summary in preparation for a June 13 hearing before the infractions committee in Seattle.
Indiana has not yet announced what else is contained in the report, saying it was in the process of being reviewed by the school's attorneys before being released publicly. Sampson, Hoosiers athletic director Rick Greenspan and new coach Tom Crean all have said they expect to attend the hearing.
School officials announced in October an internal investigation found Sampson and his staff made more than 100 impermissible phone calls to recruits while he was still under NCAA sanctions from another phone scandal at Oklahoma.
Greenspan then announced a series of self-imposed penalties the school would enforce including the forfeiture of Sampson's pay raise last season, a one-year extension of the NCAA's recruiting restrictions and the loss of a scholarship for next season.
In February, the NCAA responded by accusing Sampson of the major violations, something Sampson contends has been unfair. On May 12, Sampson's written response to the charges said he had been judged before having a chance to make his case.
Still, Sampson accepted a $750,000 buyout to leave the school Feb. 22 and was recently hired as an assistant coach for the Milwaukee Bucks.
However, the fallout from the scandal has continued at Indiana.
Interim coach Dan Dakich staved off a threatened player's boycott immediately after Sampson's departure, but never got them to play with the same passion for the final month of the season.
The Hoosiers eventually hired former Marquette coach Tom Crean, and he inherited a program that was struggling academically. Since his hiring, Indiana has been cleaning house.
None of the assistants who served under Sampson will return next season, and only three players from last year's roster will return.
Crean kicked two players off the team -- forwards DeAndre Thomas and Brandon McGee -- and decided not to reinstate two Dakich dismissed hours before Crean's hiring -- starting guards Armon Bassett and Jamarcus Ellis. Crean also gave forward Eli Holman his release after Holman threw a tantrum in Crean's office.
Crean has managed to put together a solid recruiting class, the latest addition being Jeremiah Rivers, a guard transferring from Georgetown. Rivers is also the son of Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers.