Bloomington, Ind. – IU's next statement on its recent recruiting issues promises to do one thing - raise more questions.
According to sources close to the situation, IU is expected to issue a release early Tuesday morning announcing Assistant Coach Rob Senderoff is stepping down from Coach Kelvin Sampson's staff. The announcement will confirm rampant speculation that the 34-year-old second-year assistant is out in the wake of an IU investigation that uncovered a series of improper phone calls made by Sampson's staff from May 2006 thru May 2007.
While the announcement's desired effect is probably to extinguish the firestorm that's engulfed the program in recent weeks, it very well might have the opposite effect.
The biggest question that the latest news raises is what exactly has changed in the last 16 days?
On Oct. 14 IU Athletics Director Rick Greenspan and Sampson, among others, spoke on a teleconference addressing a series of improper phone calls made by Sampson's staff. They laid out the university's self-imposed punishment, which included freezing Senderoff's salary for a year as well as barring him from making recruiting phone calls or from recruiting off-campus.
For a coach who was instrumental in securing a commitment from Bronx, N.Y., standout Devin Ebanks, and in generally opening a recruiting pipeline to the New York City area, those were harsh penalties indeed.
But now, something has prompted Sampson, Greenspan, or someone in the IU chain of command to decide that Senderoff needs to pay with his job for what has unfolded. And that begs the question, why?
While it's clear that Senderoff did violate NCAA rules by both facilitating some three-way calls with Sampson as well as making excessive phone calls to recruits, both transgressions were deemed to be secondary violations (and were reported as such to the NCAA) by IU during its investigation. When such violations have unfolded at other programs, they've almost always resulted in a slap on the wrist, not a kick to the curb.
Some might argue that this was the right course to take for a program that has been in the news for the wrong reasons as of late. But what might be right for the program might not be right by the person involved, and in this case it appears Senderoff has been forced to fall on the sword in an effort to quiet the critics and put the matter to rest.
Maybe today's announcement will do just that. Maybe today's decision will produce an approving nod from the NCAA and IU won't be dealt any further penalties from the governing body when it delves into the matter in the coming weeks and/or months.
Heck, maybe IU's release on the matter will outline some additional missteps that Senderoff took, something that would make sense out of what's changed in the last two and a half weeks that has prompted IU to take a course of action that it didn't deem necessary on Oct. 14.
But that appears unlikely, after all, IU officials have had more than two months to dig into these issues after they were originally uncovered by an IU intern in July.
Unfortunately, today's announcement will probably only raise more questions.
COMMENTARY: Resignation Raises More Questions
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