Like a man on death row who has had his last meal, Kelvin Sampson waits for a repreve. Not from the governor, though. He waits for a phone call saying that his services will no longer be needed at Indiana University. It all comes down to a simple question, that being did Sampson break the rules with regard to phone calls to recruits. The powers that will make that decision met in Bloomington today and have set a Friday deadline to render their decision.
Sampson did go to work today, like most of America. After all, he has a right to make a living to support his family. At the same time, Indiana University deserves the right to find out if one of their employess is "coaching dirty." The team rallied around their leader even more today, refusing to speak to media after they met with athletic director Rick Greenspan Thursday.
Sampson signed with the Big 10 school in April 2006, that contract runs through the next five seasons with the annual base salary of $500,000. Sampson's deal includes termination clauses for violations of university or NCAA rules that eliminate the payments, but two Indianapolis attorneys have told The Associated Press that firing Sampson now may not be enough to prevent the school from paying out at least $2.5 million. I hope that if they do let him go that they show him the money.
Indiana and the NCAA disagree on what the severity of the violations are. The school says the actions alledged by Sampon are minor and at best deserve nothing more than a slap on the wrist. The NCAA, who acts in almost an adversarial manner, terms it major. To-may-to, to-mah-to. They both agree that there's something rotten in Denmark.
If the NCAA finds that there was a lack of institutional control, so to speak, Sampson could very well be given the pink slip. The school has until May 8th to answer the charges. A hearing in Seattle in June will take place with the final ruling coming down in July. Probation and exclusion from the Big Ten tournament and the Big Dance could follow if the NCAA wins.
Kelvin Sampson will not be traveling to Evanston, Illinois, just outside of Chicago, when the 15th ranked Hoosiers take on Northwestern. He will probably be at home watching the game, like anyone else. And wondering if he will have a job to go to Monday morning. The clock is ticking. The phone could ring at any time.