The evolution of this Sampson story

We began hearing about Sampson’s newest recruiting violations on Thursday, the same day rumors of them were posted on the message boards at www.HoosierNation.com. A day earlier we had been guests at Kelvin Sampson’s home for an annual media luncheon, and had chatted with Rob Senderoff, a bright, eager young assistant coach.

On Thursday I was also working on figuring out which recruits were headed this way for Hoosier Hysteria, and it was an impressive list. Especially the New York contingent of Devin Ebanks, Kevin Jones, Lance Stephenson and Dexter Strickland. That’s Senderoff’s territory.

When I first started getting word of this story on Thursday, I thought it was strange timing with Hoosier Hysteria a day away. So my first instinct was that it was a hoax originating from the message boards. But then I started getting better sources telling me that there was a raging fire causing what I considered to be just light smoke.

So at 8:30 I called an IU source to ask if there was any truth to what we were hearing. He promised me that there was none. I felt slightly reassured, but went to meet with Doug for dinner anyway to talk about pursuing the story. We both agreed that the next two days, with Hoosier Hysteria and one of the biggest football games in a long time for the Hoosiers scheduled, would leave us little time to do the necessary investigative work.

Friday went off without the slightest bump. Sampson hosted a breakfast benefit that raised almost $50,000 for Coaches vs. Cancer and brought several former players back to express hope for the future of the program.

Hoosier Hysteria later that night was an almost flawless event, with thousands of fans packed into the gym to see Eric Gordon — who they knew all about but couldn’t wait to see anyway — and five other newcomers who they hadn’t gotten to know yet. And Sampson started the night out with two announcements that ignited the crowd: Eli Holman had finally received word that he was eligible this season and DeAndre Thomas had, for the first time since arriving in May, weighed in at under 300 pounds.

After writing late into Friday night we headed out to East Lansing Saturday morning. The calls about the violations started again. We just couldn’t figure out how to get the story.

Then, an e-mail confirming the news came from IU media relations at 11:01. Now, we’re awaiting a 1 p.m. teleconference and heading back to Bloomington.

19 comments

  1. It does show me that there is an ineffective tracking mechanism for phone calls… there should have been a red flag when the threshhold is nearing… that these calls can not be made… I want to hear what Sampson says about this…

  2. Hmm, so Kelvin is in fact allowed to talk with recruits. It’s just the way he got them on the phone wasn’t the correct way? I realize this is in violation of his sanctions (which is awful), but this has to be an incredibly minor issue for the NCAA. There was no money or gifts, no steriods, no off-campus visits. Just the wrong way to make a phone call. I’m fine with the salary/bonus restrictions and the loss of a scholarship. Let’s hope the NCAA is fine with it all as well.

  3. This is very disturbing. Why can’t KS leave the phone calls alone? Sanctions are sanctions. The eyes of IU nation are on him. As excited I am about the season, this is a step back.

  4. I mean is the guy braindead?…this is ridiculous..I don’t care how good of a coach he is…this is just blatant and uncalled for…what a mess for IU!

  5. Sounds like Senderoff needs some education in NCAA recruiting procedures–and Coach needs to do it as a reminder to himself. Everyone–EVERYONE– knows that all eyes will be on this program due simply to the fact that it’s Indiana, and we MUST keep our noses clean–even the “bright, young, eager ones.” Sampson will take responsibility for this, and Senderoff must be held accoun table as well.

  6. No matter how good’ve a coach sampson is this is inexcusable. I’ve heard rumors about how dirty this program has become for months now and my discontent continues to grow now that this breaks. While the story isnt about paying athletes or anything of that severity the point is Kelvin Sampson was already busted for not correctly calling recruits so its not like he isnt aware of the fact that what hes doing is illegal. i also wonder does the ncaa hear the same stuff i hear? likes like sampson and an assistant requested tickets to a red sox/yankees game so they could entertain a recruit? i dont think thats legal either.

  7. All the initial talk was Kelvin’s violations were when he was on Oklahoma’s clock.

    Now it’s on Indiana’s time and there is no one else to blame.

    This hurts.

  8. Enough with this “bad for the program” nonsense. Bad for the program? How?
    -Seats will sell out.
    -The team will win.
    -IU will make money.
    -Alumni (like myself) and students will be happy.
    What else do you want here?

    Michigan *paid* players and *that* was bad for thier program! So, stop overreacting to our staff making too many calls.

    What is good for the program is *winning* and that is what attracts guys to come to Indiana. Sampson will win and guys will come to play at Assembly Hall.

    Need a testament for Sampson’s character?
    90+% of teams in the NCAA who have a blue chip player like Bud Mackey would have kept him and stood by him while he waited to get over his crack-dealing charge. Sampson said “We’re not standing by this kid or waiting for him to even enter a plea…we don’t want guys who even hint at this kind of thing!”

  9. Andrew,

    Playing by the rules is non-negotiable in my book. This is a disappointing and embarrasing situation, and it is unsettling to me that you are content with these actions.

    Oh, and in case you aren’t aware, the Michigan basketball program was nuked by the sanctions brought down because they paid the Fab 5. Unless you considered their program to be successful over the past decade.

    If you consider an illegitmate Final Four season that will later be revoked anyway “good for the program”, than I am ashamed we root for the same school, because I frankly don’t want to be affiliated with you.

    By the way, I am a current student, and I am definitely not happy. I can’t imagine very many other students, alumni, or other fans are happy right now either.

  10. You guys at the big nationwide HT are just twisting the knife because Greenspan has come in and added some east coast business class to your small time program and he treats you with the contempt you deserve. Who cares about phone calls, just win baby.

  11. There has never been anything small time about Indiana Basketball Briscoe00. East Coast business class would mean smart assed self centered arrogance, and I haven’t seen that dragging down our programs. Someday when you grow up you’ll understand. Greenspan gave us Terry Hoeppner and I know he will continue to do good work here.

    I think time will tell with Sampson. IU WAS policing him which is how this was discovered. Good for IU. Lets make sure McRobbie stands by his statement. This is not how we do business at Indiana University.

  12. hey…let’s get Bobby back so we can be an average big ten team and lose in the first round of the tourney every year…or maybe Alford so they we won’t even make the tourney!!!

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