Sampson Faces Further Recruiting Restrictions

The NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions issued its final ruling on the Oklahoma basketball program and Coach Kelvin Sampson Thursday, handing down a series of penalties - some of which will follow Sampson to IU.

The NCAA Division I Committee on Infractions issued its final ruling on the Oklahoma basketball program and Coach Kelvin Sampson Thursday, handing down a series of penalties some of which will follow Sampson to IU.

Most notable is a one-year ban for Sampson on making any recruiting phone calls or taking part in any off-campus recruiting until May 24, 2007. If IU decided it didn't want to accept those limitations since they occurred at another institution, it would need to appear before the Infractions Committee to explain why it shouldn't be penalized.

Additional penalties for Sampson include a retroactive ban on receiving bonuses from his Oklahoma contract from March 2, 2005 – March 1, 2007 (a ban that was expected to cost Sampson $180,000); a public letter of reprimand; and limits on the bonuses he can receive at IU until March 1, 2007.

In a strongly-worded NCAA statement, the Infractions Committee said Sampson fostered an environment of "deliberate noncompliance," during the 2000-04 time period when Sampson and his coaching staff made 577 impermissible phone calls to recruits. The NCAA statement said 233 of those calls were placed by Sampson.

"This case is a result of the former head coach's complete disregard for NCAA guidelines for proper telephone contact with recruits," said Thomas Yeager, acting chair of the committee. "The former head coach created and encouraged an atmosphere among his staff of deliberate noncompliance, rationalizing the violations as being a result of ‘prioritizing' rules."

Yeager said Sampson acknowledged the improper phone calls, but didn't take them as seriously as "material inducements" for recruits. The committee also said Sampson and his staff attempted to avoid detection by Oklahoma officials for the improper phone calls by not recording all the calls on written logs, as required.

The committee also said it was troubled by the fact that Sampson and his staff were making the phone calls at the same time that Sampson was the president of the National Association of Basketball Coaches, a role that had him presiding over a "widely publicized" NABC Ethics Summit in October of 2003.

"At a time when the NABC identified impermissible phone contact as a serious issue and the organization was calling on its membership to be accountable, the former head coach and his staff were engaged in a pattern of willful and significant recruiting violations," the committee said.

In addition to Sampson's penalties, former OU assistant Ray Lopes was cited for making 165 impermissible phone calls to recruits as well. Lopes, who isn't currently coaching, landed himself in trouble after being named the head coach at Fresno State in 2002 for also making improper phone calls to recruits.

Among the penalties for the Oklahoma basketball program are a reduction in scholarships from 13 to 11 for the 2005-06 season and from 13 to 12 for the 2006-07 campaign; two years probation through May 24, 2008; and a series of limitations on the quantity of phone calls the basketball staff could make to recruits. All of those penalties were originally self-imposed by the university after its own internal investigation.

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