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Opening Arguments

A basketball tail

Kelvin Sampson is in big trouble and, if there's any justice, so is Indiana University:

Indiana coach Kelvin Sampson and his staff violated telephone recruiting restrictions imposed because of his previous violations at Oklahoma, then lied about it to the school and NCAA investigators, according to an NCAA report released Wednesday.

The report sent to the university Friday accuses Sampson of five major violations, including the allegation of providing "false or misleading information" to university officials and NCAA enforcement staff. The school contended in its initial report that all violations were secondary infractions.

But the NCAA accused Sampson of failing "to deport himself ... with the generally recognized high standard of honesty" and failing to promote an atmosphere of compliance within the men's basketball program, categorized as major infractions.

Nothing's going to happen until summer, so this season is safe, but who knows about next year? Penalties could even include a ban on post-season tournament play. Does IU deserve anything that harsh, since (the allegation goes), its officials were lied to? Yes. The school hired a coach everybody knew was a risk, just because everybody wanted a return to the old winning ways. And, as the NCAA report shows, those who conducted IU's own investigation did not exactly go out of their way to find all the dirt. The school permitted this for the same reason it permitted Bob Knight to stay on long after he had become a state embarrassment. College sports have become the tail wagging the education dog.

Posted in: Hoosier lore, Sports


A J Bogle
Thu, 02/14/2008 - 10:41am

Foir all of Knights personal flaws, he was not a rule breaker - he always had a clean program that graduated players and kept out of trouble.

In fact in many ways kinght drawing the attention to himslef rather than the palyers helped keep them out of trouble.

For all the critics of Knight out there there is no denying his record and accomplishement. And he produced stronger young men who became leaders and team players.

My friends in Oklahoma gave me the old "what are you thinking" on Sampson - he was not liked there at all.

Knight is back on the market - wouldn't that be great!

Larry Morris
Thu, 02/14/2008 - 10:56am

Like I said before - you're welcome to him back and we'll even pay his plane fair, ...

Thu, 02/14/2008 - 11:17am

There's plenty of denial with regard to the Knight years at I.U.

The hard-core believers are in complete denial that Knight became a national embarrassment to the state, the school and himself. Did he win? Yes, and that covers a multitude of sins, of course. Did he cheat? No, but most programs haven't, over the years, although the trend nationwide is not good. Did he bully and rant and rave and demand behavior from his players that he himself would not live up to? You bet. Did he produce strong players? Yes, as if that were unique to him.

Having said that, if all these allegations against Sampson are even partially true, his sins are certainly more grevious than those of RMK.

Yet, we see all this hand-wringing from the I.U. faithful about what a clean athetic program they have always had. Two words: Phil Dickens!

A J Bogle
Thu, 02/14/2008 - 11:51am

I'm a Purdue grad and Boiler fan myself, but still have the utmost repect for Knight and his programs. The denial is in his detractors who fail to take his accomplishments into accoutn and look at the big picture making far too much of his personal indescretions.

Thu, 02/14/2008 - 5:24pm

Well A.J., that's very disappointing to hear. Do you think that Red Mackey, George King, Morgan Burke, or for that matter, Fred Hovde, Art Hansen, Steve Beering or Martin Jiscke would have put up with Knight's behavior for three nanoseconds at Purdue, despite all his "accomplishments"? If so, turn in your diploma.

tim zank
Thu, 02/14/2008 - 8:28pm

Call me old-fashioned, but I preferred the days when, if a player spouted off the coach went upside his head. That was a hell of a lot faster and more effective than having a cup of cocoa and a confab with a spoiled brat.

For lack of a better term, we've become a nation of real pussies.

Thu, 02/14/2008 - 8:48pm

Old-fashioned isn't the word for you.

tim zank
Thu, 02/14/2008 - 9:06pm

But I nailed the last term for you, didn't I?

Thu, 02/14/2008 - 9:51pm

If by not being nostalgic for for the kind of things that weren't even allowed in my school 50 years ago fits your definition, then, by God, you're right. It might be that you took one too many of those "upside the head" shots back in the day.