Kelvin Sampson in Hot Water

By: AP
By: AP

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) -- Kelvin Sampson's future at Indiana was in doubt Wednesday following the release of an NCAA report that says he committed five "major" violations.
According to the report released Wednesday, the basketball coach and his assistants provided false and misleading information to university and NCAA officials.
The allegations, stem from a phone-call scandal that occurred while Sampson was still under recruiting restrictions following a similar episode at Oklahoma. The NCAA ruled in May 2006, less than two months after Sampson took the Indiana job, that the Sooners coaches made 577 illegal calls between 2000 and 2004.
The NCAA banned Sampson from calling recruits and making off-campus visits for a year.
In October, however, new allegations surfaced after an internal review.
Just five months after coming off of probation, an Indiana investigation found Sampson's staff made more than 100 impermissible calls, and that Sampson had participated in at least 10 three-way calls that were prohibited as part of the sanctions during his probationary period.
"It is regrettable, to say the least, that we are in this position, to respond to the allegations that have been made about several of our basketball coaches," athletic director Rick Greenspan said at a hastily arranged news conference.
"I'm personally, professionally and profoundly disappointed with even the hint of inappropriate behavior."
Sampson declined comment before the 13th-ranked Hoosiers hosted No. 15 Wisconsin on Wednesday night.
At the time of the Indiana investigation, Greenspan called the infractions secondary, although he said additional NCAA infractions could lead to Sampson's firing.
On Wednesday, following the release of the NCAA report, Greenspan would not say whether the school planned to impose additional sanctions, but acknowledged Sampson's contract contains a clause in which he could be fired for cause if the NCAA rules Sampson committed major violations.
Indiana has already forced Sampson to forfeit a $500,000 pay raise and one scholarship next season.
"I think the sanctions we established on Oct. 3, we felt were very significant and we felt very appropriate for the information at that point in time," Greenspan said. "Any additional self-imposed sanctions would come out of a collective thought process and we have not made any decision on that."
The NCAA saw the infractions as more serious than secondary violations.
The report said Sampson and his assistants failed to meet the "generally recognized high standard of honesty" expected in college sports and failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance within the program.
Greenspan promised Wednesday the university would cooperate with all NCAA requests.
Indiana has until May 8 to provide a written response. The report says Indiana officials will appear June 14 in Seattle at a hearing before the Division I infractions committee.
Major violations of NCAA rules can carry significant punishments, including postseason bans. Sampson could also be subjected to more recruiting restrictions and the imposition of a show-cause report, which would require any school that hires him to explain to the NCAA why he should be hired.
The NCAA reaffirmed some of Indiana's findings, that Sampson had engaged in a series of three-way calls that are permissible under NCAA rules but prohibited as part of the coach's previous NCAA punishment.
It also says Sampson was present when his staff called recruits, had assistant coach Rob Senderoff call a prospect and hand him the phone and knowingly participated in three-way calls with at least three recruits. Sampson contended he was aware of only one three-way call last fall. The report said Senderoff, who has since resigned from the staff, initiated those calls.
The NCAA also said Sampson failed to monitor his staff's phone call documentation, and Senderoff was accused of committing two of the most egregious infractions -- lying to the university's enforcement staff and NCAA investigators and failing to abide by the NCAA's expected ethical standards.
He is accused of enabling the three-way calls, allowing Sampson to speak with recruits on a speaker phone and lying when he signed monthly statements denying use of his home phone for recruiting purposes. The NCAA found Senderoff made at least one recruiting call from his home phone during three months in 2006 and from February through July 2007.
"The institution reported that Senderoff placed at least 30 calls from his home phone that were violations of the restrictions imposed on the men's basketball staff by the committee on infractions," the report said.
Assistant coach Jeff Meyer was accused of having illegal contact with recruit Derek Elston during Indiana's basketball camp last summer and giving Elston a backpack and T-shirt, considered improper benefits under NCAA rules.
Meyer issued an apology through a lawyer, but that might not be enough to satisfy Greenspan and the Indiana administration.
"There have been discussions from me to the people I report to about what the next step is and that is to digest the implications of this," Greenspan said. "On the issue of personnel, my position has almost always been to make a recommendation to the president and ultimately the decision rests with the president. None of those decisions have been made."


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