NCAA, Green Don't Buy Sampson's Story

Bloomington - Both Kelvin Sampson and Indiana University will have plenty of explaining to do next week when they appear before the NCAA Infractions Committee in Seattle. IU has released the NCAA's Case Summary in preparation for the meeting, and looks at some of the more interesting items from the 96-page report...

Bloomington – The NCAA backed off one of its five charges of major recruiting violations committed by the IU basketball program, but it's standing firm on the other four.

Indiana University released the NCAA's Case Summary involving the IU basketball program Thursday. The 96-page document outlines the allegations of recruiting violations committed by former Coach Kelvin Sampson and his staff, and includes responses to those charges from Sampson and his assistant coaches.

While the case summary says the violations uncovered involving Tipton, Ind., player Derek Elston should be considered secondary instead of major, the other four allegations are all still deemed to be major according to the NCAA.

Those major infraction charges - which range from excessive phone calls to impermissible phone calls to unethical conduct by Sampson and former IU assistant Rob Senderoff – will be focal point of IU's hearing with the NCAA Infractions Committee June 13-14 in Seattle, Wash.

Among the most damning parts of the Case Summary is former IU Director of Basketball Operations Jerry Green's opinion on what unfolded. Green, a former Division I head coach who was often the basketball staff's representative at compliance meeting, called into question many of Sampson's claims of being unaware of various infractions.

In an interview with NCAA assistant director of enforcement Mark Neyland, Green said, "In my opinion…I see absolutely no way that that could've been an accident…it had to be done purposely because there was too much information given to the coaching staff, in my opinion, to keep them from making a major mistake."

Among the other more noteworthy items in the NCAA's Case Summary:

- according to the NCAA, the impermissible phone calls started less than five weeks after Sampson was named IU's head coach on March 29, 2006. While much of the attention during the investigation has centered around Senderoff, the first alleged impermissible phone call was made by Sampson on May 2, 2006, to current Pitt Panther Dujuan Blair. That May 2nd phone call was placed from Sampson's cell phone and came just eight days after a 15-minute phone call had been placed from that same phone. At that point in Blair's recruitment, NCAA rules permitted schools to make only one recruiting phone call per month.

- Both Senderoff and former IU assistant Coach Jeff Meyer dispute the number of excessive phone calls that they've been accused of by both the NCAA and Indiana University officials. While both agree that some of their phone calls were excessive, both say some of the phone calls that were logged as "countable" shouldn't have been viewed that way. Both claim that a handful of calls that were anywhere from 3-9 minutes in length were actually phone messages and not calls that involved the prospective recruit. The NCAA's position is that phone calls longer than two minutes most likely involved more than a greeting and/or message. The longest calls that were logged as a "message" were both placed by Meyer – a nine minute call to Scott Martin and an eight minute call to Robbie Hummel.

Senderoff also disputes some of the claims of excessive phone calls made to Markieff and Marcus Morris. IU and NCAA officials counted a call to the Morris home as exhausting IU's allotted phone calls to both players, which Senderoff disagrees with in his response.

- while Sampson continues to claim that he never knowingly participated in a three-way phone call with a prospective recruit and Senderoff, six individuals say they participated in such calls with the two former IU coaches – Yvonne Jackson (mother of Devin Ebanks), William Buford, Dujuan Blair, Yancey Gates, Demetri McCamey and one redacted name. In addition, recruits Kenny Frease and Ayodele Coker along with Erica Mackey (mother of Bud Mackey) claimed they were involved in calls to Sampson that were facilitated by Senderoff.

- The NCAA's Case Summary also makes it clear that Sampson was well aware of the impermissibility of three-way phone calls. According to the report, on May 30, 2006, members of the IU basketball staff raised a variety of questions to the IU compliance department regarding the NCAA sanctions. Among those was a clarification on the permissibility of three-way phone calls involving Sampson. IU officials instructed the staff to not participate in such calls until it received a clarification from the NCAA. Those clarification came June 12, and it was made clear that no three-way calls were permitted.

- Sampson claims the reason his caller ID on his home phone wouldn't reveal whether a call was coming from a prospective recruit or Senderoff was because his home phone system was set up to go to the answering machine on the second ring, and the caller ID wouldn't show the source of the call until the second ring. The NCAA dismissed Sampson's claim, since setting up his phone that way would have reduced the chance he would have been able to field calls from prospective recruits when he was unable to place calls to them.

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