Efforts at Normalcy All But Futile

Bloomington, Ind. – As rumors swirl about Kelvin Sampson's future in Bloomington, IU is making its best efforts to go about business as usual.

Bloomington, Ind. – As rumors swirl about Kelvin Sampson's future in Bloomington, IU is making its best efforts to go about business as usual.

IU Coach Kelvin Sampson is scheduled to conduct his regular weekly press conference Friday afternoon at Assembly Hall to discuss the Hoosiers' Saturday night match-up with No. 10 Michigan State. In announcing the press conference, IU officials have put attendees on notice that Sampson can't answer questions about the recent letter of NCAA allegations.

Sampson addressed those allegations in a prepared statement after Wednesday night's loss to Wisconsin, denying that he intentionally lied or misled university and NCAA investigators during their inquiries in recent months. He closed his remarks on the subject by saying he didn't anticipate having any further comment on the matter until it was resolved.

While he might not want to or be able to answer those questions, they still figure to come in bunches Friday afternoon. While Indiana (20-4/9-2) welcomes both Michigan State (20-4/8-3) and ESPN's College Gameday for a contest with Big Ten Championship implications, the game itself is of little significance compared to the situation Sampson and the IU program currently find themselves in.

Both are very much in the crosshairs of the NCAA, which has cited five potential major violations made by Sampson and his staff from March 2006 thru May 2007. Indiana has 90 days to respond to the NCAA's report and is then scheduled to appear in front of the Infractions Committee in Seattle in June. A final ruling on any further penalties might not come until late summer, shortly before the start of the 2008-09 basketball campaign.

Considering this will be the second such trip in two years for Sampson and Greenspan to discuss virtually identical transgressions, it's easy to understand why there's so much unease in Bloomington these days.

While that unease is likely shared by IU fans, administrators and players, it's Sampson who is in the most precarious position. ESPN.com's Andy Katz reported earlier today that a source close to the situation told him Sampson's coaching status is "game-by-game", but it has a feel of a situation that could change minute-by-minute.

By the time Friday afternoon's press conference rolls around the circumstances could be drastically different from what it is at 10 p.m. Thursday evening, but if not, Sampson figures to get plenty of unwanted questions about the letter of NCAA allegations. His responses figure to be very much like the ones he provided Wednesday night when pressed on the subject.

"I'm only going to talk about the game," Sampson said. "That's the only thing I'm going to talk about."

Unfortunately, he'll likely be the only one interested in talking about that.

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