If you were to stop by The Herald-Times office (you’re all invited; Sonic just opened two doors down and we can get a half-priced drink until 4) you’d find me surrounded by large stacks of paper and over-stuffed binders. It seems like reading through letters of allegation and responses and phone records has been more central to my work recently than that pesky little game called basketball.
Today, Indiana made public a document that is, by comparison, brief and fairly readable. The Case Summary is the final document put together by the NCAA Enforcement Staff before a school accused of wrong doing appears before the NCAA Committee on Infractions. Indiana has its date with the the COI a week from Friday in Seattle.
Perhaps the best way to describe the Case Summary is as a synthesis of the letter of allegations â€” which listed the charges levied by the enforcement staff — and the responses to those charges by the parties involved (in this case, that includes IU, Kelvin Sampson, Rob Senderoff and Jeff Meyer.) The Case Summary points out any remaining questions and highlights the discrepancies in the various written responses, phone records and interview transcripts.
It is the transcripts — previously unreleased — that are the most revealing part of this story.
As you probably remember, the NCAA based much of its case on interviews with players who had been recruited by Kelvin Sampson and his staff. In turn, Sampson questioned the validity of the testimony of those players and their ability to remember conversations that took place months earlier. Though assistant coach Rob Senderoff has not released his response to the NCAA publicly, it appears as though he, too, questions the testimony of some of the players who recalled being on phone calls in which both Sampson and Senderoff spoke, which violated the sanctions the staff was operating under.
Well, there’s a few pages of testimony from those athletes. They recall specific details of the conversation — Demetri McCamey remembers talking to Sampson about cooking greens — and say that they are sure that both coaches spoke on the line at the same time. Here’s a brief excerpt of what DeJuan Blair told the NCAA:
Q: So we wanna be really clear on this on the calls that you say all three of you were on the phone at the same time having an actual three-way conversation. Estimate again for me how many times you think that happened?
Blair: Five or six.
Q: And how certain are you that that actually happened, that all three of you were actually on the phone at the same time?
Blair: 100 percent.
Perhaps the most damning interview included in the report is the one between the NCAA and Jerry Green, the former Director of Basketball Operations:
Q: Now, it’s, uh, Indiana University has reported a, a number of phone calls, uh, that, uh, they believe have violated the Committee on Infractions’ sanctions that were in place. I guess the, the, the question I, I have to ask you, uh, as being sort of overseeing the compliance of that, in your mind, how, how could that have happened?
Green: In my opinion, I don’t, I don’t, I, I see absolutely, uh, no way, uh, that, that that could’ve been an accident, that they, it had to have been done purposefully because there was too much information that was given to the coaching staff, uh, in my opinion, to keep them from making a major mistake. That they were informed, maybe not the first day, maybe not the first month, but after it got going, everybody, in my opinion, knew the process, what we needed to do and I, I don’t see any way possible that it could have happened, uh, legally . . .
We’ll have more on this later, including interesting testimony from Sampson on his practice of checking or not checking his caller ID.