DECKER: One Bad Decision Does in Greenspan

Bloomington - Rick Greenspan did plenty of good things at Indiana University, but he made one super-sized mistake.

Bloomington - Rick Greenspan did plenty of good things at Indiana University, but he made one super-sized mistake.

He hired Kelvin Sampson.

Or, perhaps, he sat idly by while someone else hired Sampson.

Whether Sampson's arrival at Assembly Hall was by choice or by chance, making sure the former Oklahoma coach obeyed the NCAA by-laws had to be Priority #1 for Greenspan, and it wasn't.

Sampson made a mockery of the same rules that he ignored when he was at Oklahoma. Within two months of his arrival in Bloomington, he made his first call that was ruled to be illegal by the NCAA. In the ensuing days and months, he and his staff continued to either ignore or circumvent the restrictions inherited from his Oklahoma transgressions, and no one at IU uncovered those violations for nearly a year. When it did discover them, IU did plenty to downplay their significance.

In the eyes of the NCAA, that's a big deal. Indiana University knew the charges that had been levied against Sampson in his final years at Oklahoma and opted to hire him anyway. IU's eyes were wide open when it offered him a seven-year deal that paid him seven figures annually, but it apparently opted to close one of those eyes (if not both) when it came time to track Sampson's recruiting activities.

That's the NCAA's take on what's unfolded (thus the new "Failure to Monitor charge"), and their take matters.

In the eyes of IU's fans and alums, it's perhaps an even bigger deal. Before Sampson's arrival, the basketball program had two points of pride - its five national championships and its 46 years without a major recruiting violation. Now, the NCAA has charged the program with five major violations, and there aren't any new championship banners waving in Assembly Hall.

That's intolerable and inexcusable for the basketball coach at IU, and it's equally unacceptable for the man in charge of overseeing him.

Just because Greenspan might not have been entirely or even partially responsible for hiring Sampson, that doesn't relieve him of his duties to monitor his activities.

Greenspan will leave IU at the end of December with plenty of accomplishments to his credit during his short stay. Since his arrival in September of 2004, he's overseen a $55 million facility enhancement project that is critical to the long-term success of both the football and basketball programs. His hiring of Terry Hoeppner in 2004 laid the groundwork for IU's first bowl appearance in 14 years, and his hirings of Tracy Smith (baseball) and Felisha Legette-Jack (women's basketball) have both programs headed in the right direction.

But...IU athletics hired Kelvin Sampson. And that's too much to overcome.

Peegs.com Top Stories