NCAA to IU: Can you hear me now?

March 17, 2008
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DakichdanThe NCAA warned Indiana University in 2006 about hiring coach Kelvin Sampson. And IU didn’t listen. When IU was implicated in five major NCAA rules violations earlier this year, some NCAA officials, sources close to IU said, counseled the university to cut ties with Sampson immediately and consider a self-imposed post-season ban. IU went half way, negotiating a $750,000 buyout of Sampson’s contract.

College hoops insiders said the school’s decisions regarding its basketball program haven’t sat well with the NCAA, and the selection committee’s seeding demonstrated that. Those same sources think the seeding might be a sign of things to come--namely, a 2009 postseason ban. This summer, the NCAA will determine what punishment will be handed to IU for alleged impermissible phone calls to recruits made by Sampson and his staff.

Despite the Hoosiers’ top 20 ranking most of this year, the NCAA gave IU the tournament’s lowest No. 8 seed, effectively giving the team the tournament’s No. 32 seed. Today’s ESPN/USA Today poll has IU ranked No. 24. If IU beats Arkansas in the first round, the Hoosiers will likely play the tournament’s overall No. 1 seed, North Carolina.

“I think there is probably a lot more involved in it than just winning and losing,” IU interim head coach Dan Dakich told reporters Sunday night regarding the seeding. “It doesn’t matter what anyone feels, it’s just a matter of what we have to do.”

Of course, there are those who would say Butler, which is ranked No. 10 in today’s ESPN/USA Today poll, was the victim of an even greater injustice with a No. 7 seed in this year’s NCAA tournament. And they are not the focus of any NCAA infractions.

Is IU’s seeding punishment for its association with Sampson, or is it merely a sign that the team is wobbling down the stretch?
  • As an IU student I acknowledge that I contain a certain level of bias in favor of my Hoosiers. However, I think that any fan must admit that the Kelvin Sampson debacle had to play a role in the seeding process. Hopefully, the NCAA committee will see that the firing of Kelvin Sampson midseason truly ruined what seemed to be a promising season and will hand down a less harsh punishment. As sad as it is to say I see the Hoosiers having a hard time beating Arkansas, and if they can pull that off it will be impossible for them to beat North Carolina. This scenario should almost be considered a ban in itself. This situation has the student body wondering why Dakich over Ray McCallum (whom the players wanted)? I guess it is ironic that we may end up playing NC, the team that Dakich made his name against, but it is apparent that McCallum is better suited for these players and has more experience in tournament runs. Realizing that hindsight is generally 20/20 what do people think about the midseason firing of Sampson and the placement of Dakich in his position no that we are at this point in the season?
  • i hope that the ncaa does ban iu for the 2009 season.

    the hoosiers are the laughing stalk of this state. lol
  • Dan,

    It's stock...laughing stock. You must have gone to Purdue!
  • That the NCAA Tourney Selection committee would have anything to do with sending a message to Indiana with their #8 seed is laughable. I cannot believe there would be any pre-judgement by a committee made up of college ADs. Now, if Myles Brand was picking the seeds, I'd believe IU was purposely being punished.

    Even if it was suggested to IU by NCAA insiders to ban itself from the 08 Tournament, there's still a fair hearing trial coming in May to decide IU's future fate. Considering that DJ White will be gone, Gordon probably off to the NBA and a couple other players transferring, IU probably won't make the 09 NCAA Tournament anyway. IU earned the #8 seed this year with its poor play the past few games. That they've chosen to mail in the rest of the season has been noticed. Sure hope they enjoy their brief trip to Raleigh.

    My heart goes out to DJ White for having to put up with all the off court BS that's occurred throughout his IU career. He's a true Hoosier player whose performance and dedication will always be remembered.
  • A post-season ban will hurt IU far beyond 2009. It will kill recruiting for 2009 and 2010, and that will make it a whole lot more difficult to get a top-shelf coach to Bloomington. Don't underestimate the far-reaching impact that even a single-year post season ban would have. And trust me, NCAA brass is plenty tied in to the selection committee, so I wouldn't underestimate their influence in this. Oh, and for those folks who were so eager for a new coach two years ago, let's not forget, DJ White is a Mike Davis guy.
  • Steve are you implying that college AD's are infallible humans who make their decisions without any bias? Maybe they are rewarding the AD's that they saw as doing a good job with their program, and punishing the one who obviously made a mistake in hiring a known cheater...
  • I have to agree with Slevin, Steve are you that naive?

    Look at Baylor - there is a program that is being rewarded for cleaning up a program. Baylor was obliterated by penalties in 2005. Watching ESPN last week and over the weekend the Baylor team was on the bubble yet when the teams were announced they were literally the last team revealed Sunday evening. Steve has much more faith in the system and human nature than I.

    I do not disagree that IU has been pathetic as of late but this is a team that has been consistently in the top 20 most of the season and now with an eight seed there is something fishy going on. They are not just an eight seed but the lowest eight seed as they get NC who is the highest number one seed (the first team revealed on selection Sunday).
  • IU is screwed for the next few years. They should of kept Sampson on the rest of
    the year and let him make IU's last realistic run at a final four four for at least a few years. They are falling apart in no small part due to not having THEIR coach. Everyone knows that they will get punished pretty harshly for their actions, especially w/ miles running the NCAA. Notice how they made the change before they went and played the worst team in the big ten and not before they played then big ten leaders Purdue. They clearly do not want to foresake their whole season but in their half hearted attempt to mitigate the damage the are left watching as the wheels fall off.
  • Perhaps you are right cityside. I kind of thougth IU bowed to the pressure of the masses without giving the ouster the proper consideration. But then again, it does give the matter some closure, so hopefully they can get on with their national coaching search. But really, how many people does it take to find a top-shelf hoops college hoops coach? If you are at IU, apprently it takes 10! Remember what Greenspan said two years ago: I am the search committee. Well Rick, looks like you got a demotion.
  • Slevin, et al,

    I'm not naive and certainly didn't mean to imply that any of the selection committee members are infallible. I just don't buy into a conspiracy theory where the NCAA was out to teach IU a lesson with their #8 seeding. Did IU get shafted? Sure did. Was it due to collective malice and forethought by the committee? I still doubt it.

    Where's the conspiracy link to Butler being seeded so low? Now they really got shafted and I cannot imagine a reason the NCAA would want to teach them a lesson.

    As for firing/resigning Sampson at the end of the season, IU appears to have compounded a previously bad decision (not firing Sampson before the season began) with another bad decision (not keeping him on until the end of season). However, once the media blew up the NCAA infractions story so big on every network, IU really had no option but to bow to the pressure and cut Sampson loose.

    If we're to believe the $550k donor buy out included a Make Dakich the Coach stipulation, then that would make 3 really bad decisions by the IU AD as many feel the team would have played better for McCallum. In most every book, 3 strikes and you're OUT! Which should be Greenspan's fate if the smoke ever clears in Bloomington.
  • I think one thing that most sensible people can agree on is that Greenspan ought to go. But now that he is on the 10-person blue ribbon selection committee, I doubt seriously he is going anywhere. That makes strike 4 by my count.

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