Been through the document a couple of times now. Here are a few notes of interest, and I’ll have much more extensive follow-up early Tuesday.
- IU does express surprise that the failure to monitor charge was even made– which AD Rick Greenspan did when it was made in June — and implies that it was basically ambushed in Seattle at its original hearing before the committee on infractions. IU was faced with extensive questioning about its monitoring and essentially had to respond to a charge that hadn’t even been made yet, the response says.
- IU’s explanation for why it missed several of the impermissible calls that occurred in the months directly following Sampson’s hiring is interesting. The university claims it put in heightened measures of monitoring, but that it took time for them to work. Specifically, the compliance staff couldn’t get the phone companies to give them electronic records that were easy to search. That’s why, for example, the three-way calls made between Sampson and Senderoff in June of 2006 weren’t detected; the review of phone records that month consisted of looking through dozens upon dozens of pages of calls, and the 3W denoting a three-way call didn’t stand out.
- IU defends its decision to hire Kelvin Sampson despite his previous rules violations. “Sampson appeared to be contrite, repeatedly stating in an apparently earnest and heartfelt manner that he had learned his lesson, and he had no record of other infractions during a long tenure as a Division I head men’s basketball coach. The University decided to give him a second chance.”
- Jeff Meyer, a former assistant under Kelvin Sampson, wroteÂ a letter to the committee on infractions and it is included in the response. Meyer relates his experience dealing with IU administrators and compliance staffers, albeit generically (saying, for instance, that he would pass them in the hall and discuss things with them). He does say that based on his years of coaching he thought “Indiana worked diligently to monitor our compliance efforts.”
- Finally, the report includes this sentence: “The University recognizes that a probationary period will likely be imposed and suggests that it begin on the date of the hearing, rather than on the date the infractions report is released, to account for the delay in the release of the infractions report as a result of this new allegation.” In this case, “probationary period” probably refers to a span of time during which the school will be under extra scrutiny, meaning it will be asked to submit frequent documentation of how it is ensuring compliance. Probation, in this case, doesn’t mean a TV or post-season ban.
More to come as I continue reading though this and talking to sources.
This is not, as they say, my first rodeo with this NCAA stuff.
But despite an alarming level of excitement at the prospect of wading through the lawyerly muck that pervades documents such as this one, I’ve been unable to find anything even mildly surprising in IU’s response to the failure to monitor charge.
Which is to say: this is basically IU saying again that it did monitor and then providing, in only slightly more detail that it has previously, evidence to support that claim.
Most of what the university’s lawyers state is this letter is reiteration, often with more evidence or a different emphasis. There’s not a lot of new news.
The executive summary of primary arguments, found on page four (or below, where I’ve embedded it), 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! Or else.
It’s clear from the tone of the writing that IU is trying to be respectful of the NCAA but will not simply bow down to it.
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.Â As it has been for some time.
Let me give this a further read and get back to you. In the meanwhile, share your thoughts.