IU players threaten boycott

February 22, 2008
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CBS Sports this morning is reporting that Indiana University men’s basketball players are threatening to boycott the remainder of the season if coach Kelvin Sampson is forced out. Quoting unidentified sources, CBS Sports reported that players and IU Athletic Director Rick Greenspan had a heated exchange during a meeting last night.

According to the sources, after Greenspan informed players D.J. White, Eric Gordon, Kyle Taber, Lance Stemler and Adam Ahlfeld of his decision to fire or suspend Sampson, he called a meeting with the entire team in an attempt to prepare them for today’s official announcement that Sampson would not be on the sideline for the Hoosiers’ weekend game at Northwestern. Before Greenspan finished his statements, the sources told CBS that one of the IU players stood and insisted “if Sampson ain't coaching, we ain't playing” and that Greenspan responded with what he thought was a rhetorical question.

“Greenspan asked if he should just cancel the whole season,” one source told CBS Sports. “And the player told him, ‘We don’t care what you do. But if Sampson ain’t coaching, we ain’t playing.’ And then they just walked out.”

Several Indianapolis TV stations aired footage of disgruntled players leaving the meeting. Those players refused to talk, several of them-including D.J. White and Lance Stemler-pulling hoods over their heads and faces.

It is not clear what IU would do if the players boycotted, but with three road and two home games remaining-not to mention tournament games-it would be a financial and marketing nightmare. A player boycott would also be bad for Indianapolis, which is hosting this year’s Big Ten tournament and is counting on the red hot Hoosiers to drive ticket sales.

For more coverage on the fallout, read the upcoming print edition of IBJ.
  • Players are being babies. It is unfortunate their coach is getting fired, but he lied. It is a lesson they should understand now.

    This is the same thing that happened with Mike Davis and Greenspan shouldn't back down. Yank their scholarships quickly and see how they feel.
  • Rules are rules. If you want to see a clean program that plays fair, then take a look at the Purdue team and coach. I suggest IU fans take a lesson from this. That win the other night will likely be taken away by the NCAA after May.
  • WTHR is reporting that D.J. White is the IU player that angrily told athletic director Rick Greenspan last night that if Coach Kelvin Sampson is dismissed the players will boycott. A press conference has been called for 2 p.m. today when the fate of Sampson will be announced.
  • Players quitting on their team? Not a smart move for either White or Gordon considering the upcoming draft. If they think that wouldn't hurt their draft positions they're nuts.
  • It is Coach Sampson's responsibility to tell his players that a boycott is not in their best interests. The best interests of the players would be for them to play out the season and rise above the distractions that were caused by their coach.
  • Seniors that have received a college education in trade for their basketball playing should not be able to dictate what IU will do with the coach. That same bs was pulled when Knight was fired and we got saddled with Davis.
    Is there a person with the intestinal fortitude to tell these fine 22 year old men if they don't want to play, hit the road and by the way....drop a check for the total cost of your education in the box at the exit!
    IU needs to bring the prestige back into our basketball program. Enough is enough!
  • Let them walk! Idiots-walk and keep walking...
  • Seems like the tail trying to wag the dog. With their arrogant, selfish attitudes, these players will make great Pacers.
  • You said it all...it would be a financial and marketing nightmare. Let's be honest... The NCAA is about as deserving of not-for-profit status as Exxon-Mobil, at least in its current configuration. Does anyone have any doubt why Sampson was hired? To enhance the academic prowess of the university? Bob Knight's antics were tolerated for 30 years because he won. How long would he have lasted if he had 2 losing seasons in a row? Look what happened when he went 13 years without winning a NCAA championship! Mike Davis was a great guy, didn't cheat, but didn't win enough. Sampson's mandate was clear... WIN! This is exactly why the revenue sports need to be shifted from the current NCAA to a for-profit organization, so that this multi-billion dollar industry can be scrutinized as what it really is... a business.
  • IU has tabled the 2 p.m. press conference. Sources have told IBJ there is some serious negotiating going on right now on two fronts. First, between IU and Sampson. On the second, between IU and the players, who have threatened a boycott. Sampson, sources said, was still holding out slim hope that he could salvage his job. IU has good reason to keep talking to Sampson, because he will be instrumental in keeping the team together even if he is dismissed. An IU official said the school is still hoping to have a press conference later today.
  • Enough already. What a bloody mess!!!

    Haven't we learned our lesson about basketball inmates running the IU asylum? It happened with Knight; then the post-Knight players who insisted on a hire that gave us the short Mike David era, which begat the even shorter, and short-sighted Kelvin Sampson era, which...well there you have it.

    Players, take a hike, return the scholarships, then sell insurance or shoot for mediocre NBA careers. Who cares about that product any more, anyway? While you're leaving, keep the door open for Sampson, Greenspan, the bumpkin trustees who signed off on the Sampson hire, and finally, Adam Herbert and his ridiculous red jumpsuit. He can't dress, couldn't run a major university, couldn't hire an honest coach, and can't and won't man up to the mess he made.

    When this smoke clears, I hope my alma mater can refocus on its mission of education, restore its lost academic luster, and restore a winning basketball program that's fun, out of the news-news, is the talk of the sporting-news, and graduates its players.

  • Indiana University basketball players D.J. White, Armon Bassett, Jordan Crawford, Jamarcus Ellis, DeAndre Thomas and Brandon McGee were not at practice this afternoon. While assitant coach Ray McCallum was meeting with AD Rick Greenspan and other IU higher-ups, assistant coaches Dan Dakich and Jeff Meyer were conducting the practice. IU players earlier in the day, sources said, demanded that if Kelvin Sampson is dismissed that McCallum, not Dakich take over the team.
  • I do not condone the coach's actions, but I find it troubling that the NCAA took so long to investigate and respond - this should have been dealt with as soon as it came up!
  • I do not condone Sampson's actions, but I find it troubling that the NCAA took so long to investigate and respond - this should have been dealt with as soon as it came up!

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