Bloomington, Ind. – The location of IU President Michael McRobbie's Friday afternoon press conference revealed as much as his words did.
In announcing a follow-up seven-day investigation into Kelvin Sampson's recruiting practices, the IU president selected the IU School of Law as the venue to deliver his prepared statement. While the Law School is adjacent to McRobbie's offices in Bryan Hall, it likely wasn't happenstance that he chose this legal backdrop to reveal IU is taking the next step in what could eventually result in Sampson's dismissal as IU's basketball coach.
With pressure mounting from all angles to sever ties with Sampson in the wake of an NCAA report outlining five potential major recruiting violations, McRobbie is clearly trying to move expeditiously. He admitted to being "deeply disappointed" by the allegations, and he promised to move swiftly in resolving the matter.
But he's also avoiding the urge to come to the same sort of hasty decision that landed Ohio State in legal trouble a couple of years back when it dismissed Coach Jim O'Brien after it uncovered alleged violations. Ohio State dismissed O'Brien before an NCAA ruling or a follow-up internal investigation, and eventually lost a $3.5 million lawsuit in 2006.
Instead, McRobbie has announced an accelerated investigation into the additional claims of wrongdoing revealed in the NCAA's Notice of Infractions. IU Athletics Director Rick Greenspan will be aided in the investigation by IU Vice President and General Counsel Dorothy Frapwell, IU business professor/faculty representative Bruce Jaffee, and Indianapolis law firm Ice Miller.
McRobbie said Greenspan has until next Friday to conduct the investigation and provide a recommendation on Sampson's future. From there, McRobbie wouldn't speculate what the next step would be.
"I can't pre-judge what will happen because I don't know what the recommendation is," McRobbie said.
"If it's a recommendation for dismissal, that process is described in Coach Sampson's contract."
If that is in fact the avenue IU pursues, Sampson's contract calls for a 10-day window where he would be allowed to appeal the decision. He would be suspended as IU's basketball coach during those 10 days without pay.
While some have called for Sampson's immediate suspension, McRobbie said Sampson's contract doesn't allow for that to happen.
"Coach Sampson's contract makes no provision for suspensions with pay," McRobbie said.
While Sampson's status gets more precarious by the day, Greenspan appeared to get a vote of confidence from McRobbie. The IU president commended the work the athletic department did in uncovering the alleged violations.
"We have arrived at this painful situation because the athletics director and his compliance staff did their jobs," McRobbie said. "They diligently monitored recruiting operations within the men's basketball program and quickly and fully reported the irregularities they found. The system Indiana University has established for enforcing compliance worked, and I take confidence in that."
IU INVESTIGATION: Venue Says A Lot
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