Indiana AD prepares to attend Sampson NCAA hearing
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana athletic director Rick Greenspan plans to attend Oklahoma's NCAA hearing in Park City, Utah, and could testify before the committee on infractions Friday.
The NCAA is investigating allegations that Indiana coach Kelvin Sampson made improper phone calls to recruits while he was with the Sooners. Sampson took over as Indiana's new coach March 29.
"To be honest with you, and I think Kelvin would tell you this, too, we'd rather not be there," Greenspan said Wednesday after naming his second new women's basketball coach in two years. "But that's what I signed up for, so I'll do it."
Since accepting the Indiana job, Sampson has admitted making a "mistake" while at Oklahoma, but the Sooners must still present their case to the committee.
At issue are more than 550 impermissible calls between 2000 and 2004 made by Sampson and his assistant coaches. Rulings do not typically come until four to six weeks after the hearing, and if Sampson is sanctioned with recruiting restrictions, those penalties could follow him to Indiana.
There is precedent for such a ruling. Former Ohio State assistant Paul Biancardi was prohibited from recruiting until October 2007 after he became head coach at Wright State in Dayton because of recruiting violations under former Buckeyes head coach Jim O'Brien. The sanctions prompted Biancardi's resignation from Wright State last month.
Greenspan remains hopeful Sampson can avoid any sanctions that would follow him to Bloomington. Still, committee members may want Greenspan to explain why he hired a coach under NCAA investigation.
"If asked to speak, I will," he said. "I've never gone through one of these before, so I'm just going to try and be professional about it."
In a 194-page response to the NCAA, Oklahoma officials acknowledged the violations but also requested that it not receive a severe penalty.
Among the self-imposed penalties was a two-year reduction in scholarships, implementing limits to eliminate more than 1,000 recruiting calls and reducing off-campus recruiting trips for Sampson and paid on-campus visits by recruits. The university also froze Sampson's salary and will issue a reprimand against him after the investigation is resolved.
Similar recruiting restrictions and salary freezes could also be imposed by Indiana if Sampson is sanctioned.
Earlier this month, NCAA president Myles Brand said the governing body could only ask schools to do their homework and consider the implications of hiring a coach who might have broken NCAA rules.
Some Hoosiers fans have already criticized Sampson because of the alleged violations and poor graduation rates during his 12 years at Oklahoma.
During his introductory news conference, Sampson promised not to make similar mistakes at Indiana.
"It is a little bit embarrassing to stand up here and be asked about NCAA violations, but you also have to realize we're human and we make mistakes," he said then. "I made a mistake but we've corrected it and moved forward."
Greenspan and university president Adam Herbert also addressed the issues then, and Stephen Ferguson, president of the board of trustees, said it was his No. 1 concern. But Ferguson said he was satisfied with the answers he received from Sampson and others.
Now the Hoosiers must wait to see if the NCAA agrees.
A message was left at the office of committee chairman Gene Marsh, a law professor at the University of Alabama, but NCAA officials are prohibited from commenting on specific cases until the ruling.
Witnesses who appear in front of the committee can choose to discuss their testimony publicly.
At Indiana, Sampson is replacing Mike Davis, who announced Feb. 16 that he would resign after his sixth season in charge of the Hoosiers. Davis has since been hired at Alabama-Birmingham.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press