NCAA nails Sampson for phone call scandal

By The Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS – Kelvin Sampson’s future at Indiana was in doubt Wednesday following the release of an NCAA report that says he committed five “major” violations.

According to the report released Wednesday, the basketball coach and his assistants provided false and misleading information to university and NCAA officials.

The allegations stem from a phone-call scandal that occurred while Sampson was still under recruiting restrictions following a similar episode at Oklahoma. The NCAA ruled in May 2006, less than two months after Sampson took the Indiana job, that the Sooners coaches made 577 illegal calls between 2000 and 2004.

The NCAA banned Sampson from calling recruits and making off-campus visits for a year.

In October, however, new allegations surfaced after an internal review.

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Just five months after coming off of probation, an Indiana investigation found Sampson’s staff made more than 100 impermissible calls, and that Sampson had participated in at least 10 three-way calls that were prohibited as part of the sanctions during his probationary period.

“It is regrettable, to say the least, that we are in this position, to respond to the allegations that have been made about several of our basketball coaches,” athletic director Rick Greenspan said at a hastily arranged news conference.

“I’m personally, professionally and profoundly disappointed with even the hint of inappropriate behavior.”

Sampson declined comment before the 13th-ranked Hoosiers hosted No. 15 Wisconsin on Wednesday night.

At the time of the Indiana investigation, Greenspan called the infractions secondary, although he said additional NCAA infractions could lead to Sampson’s firing.

On Wednesday, following the release of the NCAA report, Greenspan would not say whether the school planned to impose additional sanctions, but acknowledged Sampson’s contract contains a clause in which he could be fired for cause if the NCAA rules Sampson committed major violations.

Indiana has already forced Sampson to forfeit a $500,000 pay raise and one scholarship next season.

“I think the sanctions we established on Oct. 3, we felt were very significant and we felt very appropriate for the information at that point in time,” Greenspan said. “Any additional self-imposed sanctions would come out of a collective thought process and we have not made any decision on that.”

The NCAA saw the infractions as more serious than secondary violations.

The report said Sampson and his assistants failed to meet the “generally recognized high standard of honesty” expected in college sports and failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance within the program.

Greenspan promised Wednesday the university would cooperate with all NCAA requests.

Indiana has until May 8 to provide a written response.