Former assistant Senderoff says he didn't lie to investigators

Updated: February 15, 2008, 7:26 PM ET
By Andy Katz | ESPN.com

Former Indiana assistant Rob Senderoff wanted to make one thing clear Friday: he did not lie to NCAA enforcement staff when he was forced out in October.

How that affects the charge that coach Kelvin Sampson lied to the same investigators is still uncertain. It won't be determined until the NCAA Committee of Infractions meets in June, when it will listen to Senderoff's accounts of a May 2006-May 2007 restriction placed on Sampson by the panel.

Schlabach: Sampson already done
There is nothing Kelvin Sampson can say or do to save his hide. He is a two-time loser when it comes to breaking NCAA rules, and his latest attempt at cutting corners has embarrassed Indiana, a school that prides itself on doing things the right way, writes Mark Schlabach. Story

Page 8 of the NCAA's Notice of Allegations, sent to Indiana on Feb. 8, contends that Senderoff had Sampson participate in a number of phone calls originating from Senderoff's phone through a speakerphone, by handing him the phone and patching in Sampson for three-way conversations.

Sampson said in a statement after Wednesday's game against Wisconsin: "The allegation that I knowingly acted contrary to the sanctions imposed on me for violations that occurred while I was at Oklahoma is not true. I have never intentionally provided false and misleading information to the NCAA. I intend to work within the NCAA process on this matter and I look forward to my opportunity to do so."

Senderoff said he didn't give false information to the NCAA. He said the only false statement he made was to Indiana when he incorrectly signed a home phone log sheet saying he didn't make any recruiting calls from his house. He now says he made 15. The Notice of Allegations does specify that Senderoff did submit the false recruiting call documentation to Indiana's compliance staff.

"I signed the call log that I didn't make recruiting calls from home when in fact I did," Senderoff said. "I was not untruthful to the NCAA nor will I be. I never lied to the NCAA. I want to make it clear I was not charged with lying to the NCAA enforcement staff."

Senderoff, who resigned in late October, said he can't comment on the specifics of the case but "I'll have my chance when I sit in front of the committee [of infractions] in June [in Seattle]."

Meanwhile, reaction to the notice of allegations from former Indiana personnel continues to be one of disappointment, at least when they are willing to comment on the subject.

The most famous former Indiana employee, now former Texas Tech coach Bob Knight, reached while on a hunting trip Friday, told ESPN.com: "I have no reaction publicly."

UAB head coach Mike Davis, who succeeded Knight at Indiana after serving as his assistant and who resigned two years ago this month, said simply, "it's unbelievable. It's unbelievable what Indiana is going through."

Davis said he feels most badly for D.J. White, the Indiana junior who has gone through the turmoil of Davis' situation and now the tempest with Sampson.

"I think he's used to it now," Davis said. "I like Kelvin. He's been good to me. But I just feel bad for the kids because it looks like they have a special team."

Dane Fife was a player on Davis' first two teams, including one that went to the national title game in 2002. He was there when Knight was fired in 2000. He's now the head coach at Indiana-Purdue University at Fort Wayne.

Fife said that Sampson has been very good to him and said he wants to see the process play out before rendering judgment. "We've seen plenty of times where the accuser is wrong," Fife said. "Let's let it play out."

But like Davis, Fife said he has more sympathy for the players, especially White.

"They shouldn't have lost the Wisconsin game," Fife said.

Fife said he remembers the Hoosiers' situation when Knight was going through his final year at Indiana. He said the situation then was a "pain" to deal with since it "was out of our hands." He said the following season, Davis' first, was dominated by being questioned about where the players' coaching loyalties lied -- with Knight or with Davis.

"It puts the kids in a tough situation, to be asked were we better with coach Knight or coach Davis," Fife said.

Fife said he expects the Hoosier fans to support the players. He said he could tell that was the case during the Wisconsin game. "I think they want to root for the team," Fife said. "They don't want them to limp to the finish. They want them to sprint to the finish. It's a tough situation. You never want to see your alma mater go through this."

Andy Katz is a senior writer at ESPN.com.

Andy Katz | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com