How Harmful Are Sampson's Sanctions?

Bloomington, Ind. – Now that the shock waves have settled, exactly how big of a blow did the NCAA Infractions Committee deliver to Coach Kelvin Sampson and the IU basketball program? National Recruiting Director Dave Telep analyzes what their impact will be on the IU program.

Bloomington, Ind. – Now that the shock waves have settled, exactly how big of a blow did the NCAA Infractions Committee deliver to Coach Kelvin Sampson and the IU basketball program?

Last week, the NCAA issued its final ruling in the aftermath of 577 illegal phone calls made by Sampson and his staff from 2000-04 while at Oklahoma. While the committee accepted most of the Sooners' self-imposed sanctions, it also slapped Sampson with a one-year ban on off-campus recruiting visits and recruiting phone calls – restrictions that he'll have to deal with during his first season as IU's head coach.

Ask some, and they'll say it's little more than a slap on the wrist. After all, Sampson will still be able to text message and e-mail recruits without restrictions, and his assistant coaches face no such limitations on visits and phone calls. Sampson is also allowed to talk with recruits if they call him, and when recruits are on campus Sampson can spend time with them as well.

To others, though, the one-year ban is a crippling blow to a program that is trying to re-establish itself among the best in the Big Ten. With the likes of Ohio State, Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan State wrestling for league supremacy in recent years, the last thing Sampson and the Hoosiers needed was to get this sort of negative publicity before his first game on the IU sidelines.

The truth of the matter is the impact of the ruling will be somewhere in the middle of those two extremes, according to National Recruiting Director Dave Telep.

"The biggest obstacle Indiana will face is other programs using this against them," Telep said.

Indiana is no stranger to off-the-court issues hindering its coach's recruiting efforts. Uncertainty over Mike Davis' job security in each of the past two seasons made IU a difficult sell to top-flight recruits for Davis' staff. While Sampson doesn't face the possibility of being out as IU's coach anytime soon, his inability to be front-and-center at national AAU events, All-Star camps and on the phone will put a heavy burden on his assistant coaches to get their foot in the door with 2007 targets.

"His staff is extremely strong, loaded with excellent assistants that should be able to pick up the slack," Telep said. "They'll work hard at diffusing the situation and will have to be equally diligent in reminding kids where Coach Sampson is, how much he loves them and just stay focus on the task at hand."

Fortunately for Sampson and the Hoosiers, they've quickly made in-roads with a handful of elite prospects in the 2007 class. Top-flight Indiana prospects E'twaun Moore (33rd ranked player nationally according to, Scott Martin (No. 46), Robbie Hummel (No. 53), JaJuan Johnson (No. 74) and Matt Howard (Not Ranked) are all listing the Hoosiers among their frontrunners this spring.

On the national scene, DeAndre Jordan (No. 21), Corperryale Harris (No. 44), Evan Turner (No. 49), Marcus Morris (No. 55), Markieff Morris (No. 77), DeJuan Blair (No. 79) and Demetri McCamey (No. 81) are all speaking highly of Indiana at this point.

With Sampson now limited in what he can do on the recruiting front until May of 2007, the chore for the IU assistants becomes to get those elite recruits onto the Bloomington campus. While the Class of 2007 players will soon be lining up official visits for the late summer and fall, there's also another opportunity this summer that Telep suspects the IU staff will try to take advantage of as well.

"Getting kids to come to IU for camps is going to be the primary focus for this staff," Telep said. "Having the head coach off the road is a hit and creative recruiting solutions are going to be needed to compensate. Elite camps and unofficial visits have to be the order of the day."

Sampson will be conducting four different camps this summer in Bloomington, including an individual camp (June 11-15), an Elite Camp (June 21-22), a Team Camp (June 23-25) and a Day Camp (June 28-30). Those camps – particularly the Elite Camp – will give the IU staff an opportunity attract some of its top targets for the 2007 class, many of whom are either from Indiana or neighboring states.

Ultimately, Telep believes the NCAA penalties on Sampson are an obstacle for IU, but he doesn't expect them to be a roadblock.

"It's certainly not the ideal situation, but it's workable," Telep said. Top Stories