Source: Sampson's status as coach appears to be game-to-game

Updated: February 15, 2008, 2:58 PM ET
By Andy Katz | ESPN.com

Kelvin Sampson's status as coach of Indiana's basketball team apparently will be decided on a game-by-game basis.

IU Faces Decisions
As Kelvin Sampson received a chilly reception from the home crowd on Wednesday, IU has to mull some hard decisions about its future. The best course of action might be to suspend Sampson immediately, writes Pat Forde. Story

Discussions about whether Sampson would coach Wednesday night's game against Wisconsin went on as late as the afternoon preceding the game, according to a source close to the situation.

A source told ESPN.com that there is an air of uncertainty on the staff regarding Sampson's status and whether he'll finish out the season. Sampson met with his coaches Tuesday into the night and again on Wednesday.

Indiana (No. 12 ESPN/USA Today, No. 13 AP) could choose to suspend Sampson from coaching games while it figures out its options without having to fire him. The Hoosiers have home games Saturday against Michigan State and Tuesday against Purdue.

Another source said Thursday that a buyout of Sampsons contract could be considered, as well. Sampson doesn't plan on resigning because it could be too much of a financial loss, and he would prefer to coach the Hoosiers this season, a source said.

Larry MacIntyre, the assistant vice president for university communications, said IU president Michael McRobbie has met with the school's legal counsel, the board of trustees and athletic director Rick Greenspan.

The Indianapolis Star reported Thursday night that McRobbie was to announce Friday that Greenspan would review an internal investigation and provide a recommendation within days, according to a source close to the situation.

McRobbie has been on the job since July 1. Adam Herbert was the president who hired Sampson in March 2006.

MacIntyre said there are no plans for a news conference Thursday or Friday, but he said he's "not going on vacation" and is prepared to quickly organize one if needed.

Indiana is reviewing all of its legal options to avoid a lawsuit similar to what Ohio State went through with former men's basketball coach Jim O'Brien, ESPN.com has learned. O'Brien sued the school when he was fired before the NCAA had ruled on his case. O'Brien eventually won the lawsuit against Ohio State.

Sampson could have a similar situation if he is terminated for cause prior to the NCAA officially ruling on a violation. Indiana has 90 days to respond to the enforcement staff's notice of allegations. A hearing in front of the committee on infractions won't occur until June, and a decision usually takes anywhere from a few weeks to a few months before it's rendered.

Indiana is unlikely to wait that long to resolve Sampson's status.

After the two home games, the Hoosiers face Northwestern Feb. 23 in Evanston, Ill., and host Ohio State on Feb. 26.

Andy Katz is a senior writer for ESPN.com.

Andy Katz | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com

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