Wednesday, February 13, 2008

....And There Was Much Rejoicing....

Mr. Sampson, I believe your pants are on fire

According to a rather damning article today on ESPN by Andy Katz, Kelvin Sampson may be leaving his legacy seed at Indiana much as he did in Oklahoma; raped and pillaged by scandel. The NCAA has tapped Sampson, from here on out to be known as Dr. Cheats-A-Lot, and five of his current and former assistants as having violated terms of his probation by making and participating in phone calls to potential recruits. The probation stemmed from recruiting violations while the Sooners coach. Indiana, as a way of trying to make up for the fact that they had hired a known cheater (see his medical nom de cheat) imposed sanctions on his ability to recruit. There is a giant list of things he wasn't allowed to do, including but not limited to leaving campus, participating in three way calls (ooohh, sexy), and making calls to Indiana recruits while still at Oklahoma. Well, the good doctor didn't feel like following those rules, nor did he feel like telling the truth when being questioned about it.

However, the best part of these accusations is yet to come:

Senderoff and Meyer (two of the assistants) placed "at least 25 telephone calls" to nine potential recruits that exceeded NCAA limits even if no sanctions had been in place.

These guys are just plain breaking NCAA rules. Now I'm sure that most coaches break rules like this, which seem kind of inocuous. However when a coach already has the microscope on him for specific recruiting violations, he must be some kind of moron (or a cheating doctor) to allow his assistants to make calls like this.

I think it is more than reasonable to assume that many if not all of these violations were applied to Eric Gordon, who Sampson stole out from under Bruce Weber. I know, I know, equal blame must be placed on Weber for not sealing the deal, but it is clear now that Sampson doesn't really deserve the benefit of the doubt here. Gordon is clearly the type of player who can turn a season around, if not a program. Yes, he will most likely go on to obscurity in the NBA next year, but a player like that draws other players. Moreover whatever success he could have brought to the Illini this year was something that Weber could have theoretically built on in the future. Now it looks like his job is in jeopardy after 3 sub par seasons following a national championship game appearance.

Maybe after Weber is fired Illinois can fire Sampson. He obviously knows how to recruit...

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