IU phone flap packs financial sting

February 13, 2008
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With the revelation that the NCAA discovered more possible wrongdoings by Indiana University basketball coach Kelvin Sampson than the school reported in October, the embattled coach and his boss, athletic director Rick Greenspan, could become marketing liabilities for the school at the worst possible time.

The NCAA sent a notice of allegations to IU on Feb. 8 detailing major violations in its men's basketball program. The school will make the NCAA’s allegations public later today. The NCAA will not rule on the matter until June, but the court of public opinion could hurt advertising sales and corporate relations much sooner.

“When a coach is allowed to continue under these circumstances, it sends the wrong message,” said David Morton, a local sports marketer who formerly worked in sales for IU Sports Properties, a division of Missouri-based Learfield Sports.

Sampson, who was busted at Oklahoma even before his phone transgressions in Bloomington, is quickly becoming a deterrent to sales and marketing efforts within IU’s athletic department, and may become the fall guy if it continues, sports marketers said. But increasingly, sources close to IU said, Greenspan is feeling the heat. He doesn’t seem to be helping himself. Greenspan is readily available when it's time to trumpet the school’s good news, but when there’s bad news or controversy, he’s nowhere to be found, sports marketers complained. Greenspan has been unavailable to multiple media outlets since word of the recent NCAA findings surfaced late last week.

IU’s situation could be exacerbated due to the rise of the basketball programs at Butler, Notre Dame and Purdue this year. “There’s a compounded effect, which [IU officials] need to take seriously,” Morton said.

Meanwhile a capital campaign--with about $85 million earmarked for the athletic department--is underway at IU.

How much do you think Sampson and Greenspan will hurt IU with advertisers and donors?
  • it's beginning to sound like the perfect environment for a seemless return of the recently retired General !
  • Who cares? Thanks to Comcast and the Big Ten Network we can't even see IU's games.
  • Well Joyce, I'd say given the aforementioned capital campaign, a lot of very wealthy alumni will care. Kelvin Sampson could poison the IU athletic department the way certain Pacers players have poisoned that franchise. No, Kelvin hasn't gone to any strip joints, but IU purists like their amatuer sports to stay pure and clean. And I am quite certain that rumblings from IU's biggest alums have the attention of IU higher ups, including Mr. McRobbie.
  • Greenspan took an ill advised risk on Sampson and it's come back to bite IU(not surprisingly, given the previous behavior pattern). Rick's
    calculated gamble on Sampson has resulted in another black eye for IU and will cost both their jobs. IU must employ an immediate and measured dismissal response to violations and subsequent conscious
    efforts to avoid related responsibility thru perjury. The only reaction
    IU and the Trustees can offer is to accept the actions for what they are,
    dismiss all w/ culpability and use the clean slate to set the stage for filling one of the best basketball jobs in the nation w/ someone worthy
    of the opportunity.
  • Kelvin Sampson: good coach, terrible practice
    Rick Greenspan: just terrible practice

    Greenspan cast the die when he and Herbert introduced Sampson--soft pedalled the violations and ignored the graduation rate at Oklahoma during the press conference at IU.
    Reflection on Greenspan. He hired Sampson knowing about the violations.Then for Sampson to continue to violate the telephone limitations is a direct reflection on Greenspan's leadership or influence.
    If he demanded Sampson have 100 percent compliance, when the new violations were revealed Sampson should have been gone immediately. And, if Greenspan didn't require 100 percent compliance, then Greenspan should be gone. Either way, Sampson should been fired. And, now, the guy that took the chance on Sampson, should be gone, too.
    Without positive steps, damn right it will hurt with donors. Advertisers are typically interested in the viewing audience...which frankly won't care. But, as for me, a donor, i do care. (This is from an IU alum.)
  • The last thing the program needs. SHoul dhave never been hired.
  • When Sampson was hired, I decided that the guy had made a mistake in Oklahoma, had paid his price and seen the light. I gave him the benefit of the doubt and supported his hiring wholeheartedly. In the wake of this report, I am extremely disappointed. And I think to myself, How stupid can he be? The guy should go. IU deserves better. I didn't even go to the school, and I'm embarassed by the whole thing. It's much more than a marketing nightmare.
  • Purdue fans say, Bring back The General He can raise fun and funds!
  • Sampson should never have been hired. Why would any university take such a chance! Sampson should be fired immediately along with Greenspan and anyone above Greenspan who signed off on Sampson’s hiring.
  • Both my kids went to IU and we have been supporters all along. But I felt when Sampson was hired that this would go bad. What must he think of Hoosiers if he went ahead and violated his word to us and then lied to us about it? That we're stupid or that we don't know better or care?

    Each year our family gives financial support to the IU Foundation. We will see how we feel about that come November '08. Maybe not if Sampson and Greenspan are still around.
  • I totally agree with what Chris K. says and I did go to the school. I had a bad feeling when IU hired Sampson but was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he had learned his lesson and would be very careful and play by the rules that had been carefully and fully laid out for him. If most of us in our professional lives did what he did we would lose our jobs and I think Sampson should as well (maybe Greenspan too). I feel bad for the players, some of them could potentially have a third coach in their IU tenure. For the University to move forward and raise funds they need to get rid of Sampson, clean up the tainted mark he will leave and hire someone clean (and by clean I do NOT mean Bob Knight, his son or anyone related to him).
  • So I read the various news accounts this morning, the most damning appearing on the Star and ESPN websites. The ESPN headline was something like 'Recruiting Scandal Rocks Indiana.' The articles talked about Major vioaltions and tournament eligibility. I was worried.

    Then I read the NCAA infractions report.

    My thought is 'Wow. People are over-reacting.' There is very little in the report that wasn't released back in October when the Ice Miller investigation was made public. There were 100 impermisible calls, most by Senderhoff (who was forced to resign over it). Meyer made a few calls outside of guidelines and gave a kid a T-shirt and a backpack at a Basketball camp. That's it.

    The only revelation is that Sampson apparently lied to Indiana's internal investigation. If this is true, I agree with what appears to be the majority; he should be shown the door and enjoy a successful but obscure end to his coaching career in the Mountain West.

    But firing Sampson for lying doesn't stain the program. IU did everything it should have. It performed an audit to determine if the rules were followed. It self-reported the violations once discovered. It imposed recruiting restrictions and forfeited a scholarship. The evidence against the university is very light. There's no car deal for an eastern european recruit. There's no Fed Ex package of cash, no allegation of grade tampering, no criminal cover-ups. And most importantly, there is no allegation of lack of institutional control, that damning phrase the NCAA throws at dirty programs.

    Sampson may survive this, and he may not. Frankly, I'm not sure I really care. (And this is coming from a die-hard fan and alumnus). But the program will be fine. Let's not over-react.
  • From an IU alum and casual fan, this has been like watching a shipwreck in slow motion. IU saw trouble coming even before Sampson's ship sailed into Bloomington. He had baggage and bad habits apparently were too hard to break. Not to be personal, but I thought/think he's sleazy; his hiring was idiotic and short-sighted. Who DIDN'T see, or at least fear this coming?

    Not to lose track of all this, and this goes for all rabid college sports fans: universities, are for learning, building minds, and molding the next generation. Sports is a fun part of the mix, an added benefit. But this mess just smears more egg on IU's athletic and academic face.

    Bottom line, Hep's hiring was Greenspan's golden moment, Bill Lynch's deal is a contract with mediocrity, at best, and Sampson? Time for both to go down with the ship.
  • Sampson and Greenspan should go at the end of the season. The May response date for IU will give us postseason play for at least this year. Greenspan has to take a hit for this. If you hire a guy that you already know doesn't play by the rules, it's your butt if you hire him expecting him to change and he doesn't.

    I don't think this will hurt with advertisers because IU fans will always watch the games and that's all they care about. It will hurt with donors because it will likely affect recruiting for next year and potentially the postseason for 2009. Sampson was a time bomb from the day he arrived. He's a good coach, but he does it his way. For a school that's still trying to bounceback from the good ole Knight days, you'd think they would have had enough of a guys who insist on doing it their way without regard for the conduct expected from them.
  • IU President Michael McRobbie announced today that the school will undertake a new investigation into allegations against the school's basketball coach Kelvin Sampson. Athletic director Rick Greenspan is to make a recommendation within seven days. So unless something drastic happens between now and then, Sampson will be on the sideline Saturday against Michigan State and Tuesday against Purdue.

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