on July 1, 2009 by in Uncategorized, Comments (0)

NCAA denies Kelvin Sampson appeal

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The NCAA is finished with the latest Kelvin Sampson saga.

The NCAA on Tuesday rejected an appeal from the former Indiana basketball coach, who was slapped with five years of potential penalties for taking part in more than 100 impermissible calls to recruits while coaching the Hoosiers.

The NCAA said its infractions committee upheld the violations found in the case, which prompted an overhaul at the storied program and led to Sampson’s departure after just 1½ years. An NCAA spokeswoman said Sampson has used his only appeal, and the case is closed.

Sampson, now an assistant coach for the Milwaukee Bucks, is essentially barred from coaching in college until 2013.

The NCAA ruled that Sampson ignored signed compliance agreements with Indiana, ignored the recruiting restrictions he was already under from a similar case at Oklahoma and deliberately lied to infractions committee members.

In his appeal, Sampson claimed the penalty was too harsh, the NCAA misinterpreted evidence and that the infractions committee was biased against him.

The NCAA rejected each claim, saying “it found no basis on which to conclude that the findings of violations were contrary to the evidence.”

Sampson’s new publicist, Chris Capo, said Sampson “will not be making any comment on the recent NCAA ruling.” A Bucks spokesman said “Sampson declined comment on the report.”

Sampson defended himself last September in a statement made through his former publicist, Matt Kramer.

“In no way did I ever hide or withhold information from Indiana University’s compliance department,” the statement said. “I vehemently deny the inference that I made and concealed impermissible calls. The NCAA has never alleged that I initiated any illegal phone calls to recruits while serving as the head coach at Indiana. I always provided Indiana with everything they requested, including all documents and phone records.”

He later acknowledged that he and his staff had made mistakes, though not deliberately.

“I think they were wrong,” he said of the NCAA in January. “They were wrong in every way. If I didn’t think they were wrong, I wouldn’t have appealed.”

The fallout from the case created major changes at Indiana. Sampson’s assistants all left the school, the compliance department was restructured, athletic director Rick Greenspan resigned and new coach Tom Crean has had to rebuild while accepting the school’s self-imposed recruiting penalties.

Indiana hired Sampson away from Oklahoma in March 2006 and signed him to a seven-year contract worth an average of $1.5 million a year, despite knowing that he faced an NCAA investigation into 577 impermissible phone calls that he and his Oklahoma assistant coaches made to recruits.

Months before Sampson even coached his first game at Indiana, the NCAA banned him from calling recruits and visiting them off-campus for one year and determined he deliberately broke its phone call rules while coaching at Oklahoma.

Indiana found in a self review that the impermissable phone calls continued. The school revoked a $500,000 raise due Sampson and one team scholarship for the 2008-09 season, and reported the violations to the NCAA.

In February 2008, an NCAA report accused Sampson of major rules violations and says he and his assistants gave false information to university and NCAA officials. Later that month, Sampson accepted a $750,000 buyout from Indiana and waived his right to sue the university.

The NCAA added a charge of failure to monitor against Indiana last June, and the NCAA placed Indiana on three years of probation in November.

Sampson has said he likely wouldn’t pursue coaching in the NCAA again.

“You never say never,” Sampson told The Associated Press in April. “But I’m really excited about the NBA, and I’m excited about the possibility of becoming a head coach in the NBA one day, maybe. And if it works out, it works out. If it does, it does. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. But just being here with the Bucks, being part of this rebuilding, is exciting for me.”