Why the extra nine days?

There’s still some questions out there about why the NCAA could have asked — no, demanded — Indiana to not send its response until Sept. 26.

I tried to explain it in my story that ran in today’s paper. But I realize that many of you don’t get the paper.

So here’s what ran, with some sections highlighted because I think they attempt to answer questions you still have:

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Indiana’s response to the NCAA’s charge that it failed to monitor its men’s basketball team was supposed to be due today.

But in a surprising move, the Committee on Infractions issued what appears to be a hastily written letter Tuesday demanding IU delay its response until Sept. 26.

According to the letter, dated Sept. 16, addressed to university president Michael McRobbie and written by committee chair Josephine R. Potuto, the committee changed the due date because it “is in the process of finalizing those portions of its report specific to allegations made against” former assistant basketball coaches Kelvin Sampson and Rob Senderoff.

Both NCAA and Indiana officials are prevented by NCAA rules from commenting on the specifics of the case, so they did not.

IU athletic director Rick Greenspan did issue a statement: “The university was fully prepared to meet its deadline established by the NCAA in its response to the failure to monitor allegation. However, based upon the September 16 letter from the NCAA Committee on Infractions, we will work on final edits and submit on the new date required.”

As vague as Potuto’s letter was in explaining the reason for the delay, it included strong wording about IU’s responsibilities.

“Finally, and as you are aware,” she wrote, “the university has a continuing responsibility of NCAA membership to cooperate with the enforcement and infractions process.”

Potuto also wrote that “the committee directs the university not to finalize its response earlier than September 26, and neither to submit it to the committee or otherwise release it until Sept. 26.”

As per its own rules, the committee on infractions will issue only one public report on Indiana’s case, and only when it has considered all facets of the case. It will not, in other words, make a decision (or issue a punishment, if warranted) on the four major violations involving Sampson and Senderoff’s alleged impermissible contact with recruits prior to evaluating and making a decision on IU’s response to the failure to monitor charge.

There is only one case — dubbed the Indiana University Infractions case — even if it involves allegations against multiple parties.

Even veteran athletics department officials were unsure of what to make of Tuesday’s letter, sources said.

NCAA spokesperson Stacey Osburn said she could not speak specifically about Indiana’s case. She did say, though, that one of the committee’s priorities was to treat all involved institutions and individuals in a case as fairly as possible.

One source close to the case said Tuesday that the NCAA may have pushed IU’s response off so that it would not have to consider additional information about Sampson and Senderoff’s role in the violations that will inevitably be brought up in the university’s defense of its compliance measures.

By even considering that information, the committee would be required by its own bylaws to allow the former coaches to respond to that information; instead, it will finish its ruling on them based only on information previously gathered.

Then, it will evaluate IU’s response only on the basis of whether it disproves the failure to monitor charge, which the committee added to the list of allegations after a hearing in Seattle in June.

Sampson has gone public with his belief that IU did not adequately monitor his staff’s phone usage and that any violation of NCAA rules was accidental.

Senderoff did not make his response to the NCAA’s charges public, but sources with intimate knowledge of the Seattle hearing said that Senderoff argued he never willingly broke rules and believed IU’s compliance staff would warn him if he did.

The university and its lawyers have repeatedly said that the former coaches purposefully sought ways around rules and the terms of sanctions then in place.

9 comments

  1. Chris, I certainly appreciate your article today and the efforts to provide some clarity to the issue. While acknowledging the parties are bound not to comment on the pending case, it seems their limited explanations only raise more questions than they answer. Have new facts surfaced that IU would raise in its response? Is there a precedent for an unrequested, mandatory extension? I understand bifurcating the issue between the coaches’ actions and IU’s failure to monitor, but if the facts pertinent to both issues are inexorably intertwined, why is it that 2 law professors cannot separate them for purposes of ruling on the charges; competent legal professionals do exactly this sort of thing a hundred times a week.
    This seems too strange not to believe we’re in for a less than favorable outcome from this committee.

  2. It would seem that the committee believed KS’s crap before and didn’t want to look silly when the facts were given again to prove KS was wrong not IU. If they were doing this correctly the NCAA comm. would have delayed KS’s punishment, received IU’s response, and then said “oh ya know we were wrong on that whole 5th charge thing, sorry. The NCAA seems to want to stay away from law suits so bad they fall over themselves over and over again and never quite getting it right on any level.

  3. I have absolutely no faith in the NCAA or any committee/group that is formed from it. It’s archaic and no longer meets the challenges that colleges and universities face today with athletics.

    I say dump the whole group and start over. Get some real leaders involved that includes those with experience in athletics and come up with legit rules and enforcement.

    In summary, the NCAA sucks! They have no clue and the players, coaches, programs and fans deserve better than what they have been getting.

  4. Sam and others…do you suppose the NCAA has much reason to have faith in Indiana University? Doubtful.

    This is the second time that Indiana University thumbed its nose at the NCAA. In 1959, the football program was placed on probation. The then coach all but challenged it to sanction IU because “everyone in the Big Ten’ ignored the recruiting rules. Institutions like the NCAA don’t forget.

    It is the University that is a member of the NCAA and therefore accountable to it for Greenspan, Sampson and his assistants.

    Within that paradigm, the letter recently received suggests that the NCAA will rule on the entire matter as one institutional set. Sampson and Senderoff have ‘resigned’–as has the individual (Greenspan) responsible for the absence of oversight. So there is no way to ‘penalize them. Any sanction directed at them would be meaningless since the NCAA no longer has jurisdiction over any of them.

    Soooooo….that only leaves us. Time for the colonoscopy….ouch!

  5. TTG – Are you serious??!! How can you honestly think the the NCAA is going to take in consideration something that happened 49 years ago and use it against Indiana. That case has no relevance to this case. There is no one that was involved in that case connected to this case.

  6. Well, if they’re going to take into consideration what happened 50 years ago on that case, we should catch a break. The NCAA handed the IU basketball team a three year postseason ban, and they had committed no violations. In fact the basketball team was not even charged with any violations. IU and the B10 protested but to no avail.

  7. I’m not sure about stuff that happened in 1959, but how about some stuff that happened more recently? Miles Brand has had it in for Indiana since before he left.

    In fact, it is fair to say that ever since Miles Brand touched IU athletics, it has been a downhill slog.

    First, he damaged the program internally.

    Then, he got kicked upstairs and, operating externally as President of the NCAA, he is, in some ways, in an even better spot to make life miserable for IU athletics.

    What’s the evidence?

    The timing is the big tip-off.

    Everyone seems to agree that the last decade or two have been disasters for IU sports.

    The Sporting News’ Mike DeCourcy called it “Indiana’s decade of disaster,” in his column of March 21, 2008. (http://www.sportingnews.com/yourturn/viewtopic.php?t=389897).

    Mike Hutton of the Post-Tribune got it closer time-wise when he said in his column of March 20, 2008, “IU has been on a downslide for 15 years” (http://www.post-trib.com/sports/hutton/852376,hutt.article).

    But then, nobody puts two and two together.

    Is it just a coincidence that Brand took over as President of IU in 1994, 14 years ago? He is right on Mike Hutton’s timeline for IU’s decline, but even Hutton can’t put the pieces together and draw the appropriate conclusions!

    And look at Brand’s impact! On his watch, everything went downhill. Everyone agrees that the basketball team has been in a hole and the blame is put at various doorsteps, including that of Bob Knight, Mike Davis, Kelvin Sampson and Rick Greenspan. But what about all the other athletic teams, including football?

    For all you Greenspan haters, remember that Greenspan wasn’t around for much of the time. He was hired on September 2 of 2004! (http://newsinfo.iu.edu/news/page/normal/1627.html)

    As to the three basketball coaches, the proof that it is not them is simple. What did any of them have to do with the football program’s problems?

    As I recall, football went through a period where they operated for several years without using all of their scholarships. They also saw the firings of various coaches, etc.

    Another angle on this. Just look at the payouts made by the Athletic Department to people who have been fired since 1994, It is an amazing total:

    Former Athletic Director Michael McNeely $839,000.
    Former men’s basketball coach Mike Davis $800,000.
    Former football coach Gerry DiNardo $616,000.
    Former football coach Cam Cameron $489,000.
    Former men’s basketball coach Bob Knight $283,000.
    Former men’s basketball coach Kelvin Sampson $750,0000.
    Former executive associate athletic director Jason Lewis, $86,000.
    Former assistant football coach Brian McNeely $47,000.
    former assistant athletic director Lauren Rochet $36,000.
    former director of executive services Deanne Droegemueller $34,000.
    Former strength coach Stephane Rochet $23,000.

    That is more than $4 Million, and much of that either comes from the period of Brand’s Presidency or the aftermath!!! The athletic department has been hemorrhaging money for years!

    I say “aftermath” because I see the ongoing problems at IU as similar to the aftershocks from the earthquakes that we have out here on the West Coast.

    And for his failures as the steward of Indiana University and its storied athletics program, Brand was kicked upstairs to the Presidency of the NCAA!! Wouldn’t you think that the NCAA would want someone who had been successful in boosting athletics at his university?

    One other thing that I find to be a pet peeve. Brand, in his current position, has continued his “stellar record” with, among other things, his politically correct attack on team mascots that wiped out, among others, Chief Illiniwek for our friends, the University of Illinois.

    In fact, maybe therein lies the answer!!

    Perhaps the very name “Indiana” incurs Brand’s wrath! It is, after all, resonant with the history of the state as a location occupied by Native Americans.

    Maybe Mr. Brand will only be happy if the University and state are renamed “Lower Ohio-area State Educational Reserve University. That would remove the Native American implications of our state name and make IU into “LOSER U” for short.

    Remember, this is Brand’s big chance to screw IU and its franchise sport, basketball, once again and tarnish it for a good long time. I won’t be in the least surprised if he finds a way to make good on his big chance.

    West Coast Hoosier

  8. West Coast, that may be the greatest post of all time. If IU is renamed ‘Loser U,’ Brand should certainly return as president, as he’s one of the bigger losers I can bring to mind at the present moment.

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