McRobbie: Sampson hiring 'a risk that should not have been taken'
INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana University's president told the NCAA infractions committee that the hiring of ousted basketball coach Kelvin Sampson was "a risk that should not have been taken."
President Michael McRobbie told the committee during a private session on June 14 that Sampson had betrayed the school's trust in violating NCAA regulations on telephone calls to recruits. The text of McRobbie's statement was released Monday by the university under a public records request and was first reported by The Herald-Times of Bloomington on its Web site.
Indiana University took a risk in hiring Coach Sampson and giving him a second chance following his problems at Oklahoma. It is now clear that this was a risk that should not have been taken and the university regrets doing so.
-- University president Michael McRobbie
The NCAA has accused Sampson of providing false and misleading information to investigators about more than 100 impermissible phone calls to recruits.
Indiana announced Thursday -- the same day that athletic director Rick Greenspan said he would resign at the end of the year -- that the university faced a new NCAA allegation of failing to adequately monitor the basketball staff.
Sampson, who left Indiana in February after accepting a $750,000 buyout, was under NCAA recruiting restrictions when IU hired him in 2006 because of a previous phone-call scandal at Oklahoma.
McRobbie, who took over as Indiana president after Sampson was hired, told the infractions committee that Sampson's actions left the basketball program "in tatters" and that new coach Tom Crean faced rebuilding the team.
"Indiana University took a risk in hiring Coach Sampson and giving him a second chance following his problems at Oklahoma," McRobbie said. "It is now clear that this was a risk that should not have been taken and the university regrets doing so."
A message seeking comment from Sampson was left Monday with the sports agency that represents him.
One of Sampson's assistant coaches is accused of making recruiting calls in the presence of Sampson and handing the phone to recruits and recruits' parents and coaches on recruiting trips, so they could speak to Sampson.
The NCAA banned such practices when it handed down the punishment against Sampson at Oklahoma in May 2006.
Sampson, now an assistant with the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks, has repeatedly denied he was knowingly involved in three-way calls at Indiana and disputed the NCAA's contention that he did not tell investigators the whole truth.
McRobbie said in his statement by videoconference to the infractions committee meeting in Seattle that Indiana officials believed "the evidence clearly demonstrates" that Sampson and an assistant coach tried to circumvent the sanctions against Sampson.
"These coaches were entrusted not just with the success of our men's basketball program, but with the good name of Indiana University," McRobbie said. "I am not just saddened, I am angry, that they betrayed that trust."
McRobbie asked the infractions committee to consider that Indiana had faced no allegations of major NCAA violations in nearly 50 years as it decided what punishment to impose.
In October, Indiana officials stripped the basketball team of one scholarship for next season, extended Sampson's recruiting restrictions for another year and took away a $500,000 raise that was due Sampson. But Sampson's February resignation came just days after the NCAA accused him of committing major rules infractions, rather than the secondary violations reported by the school.
Indiana on Monday also released the resignation agreement signed Thursday by Greenspan, the athletic director who hired Sampson.
The agreement calls for a lump-sum payment of $369,600 to Greenspan in January, followed by $4,600 payments each month next year along with $1,400 a month next year for health insurance and benefits if he does not have equivalent employment.
Greenspan agreed in the deal to not sue the university, which allowed Greenspan to retain the rights "to any book he may wish to write or publish."
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press