DECKER: Same Old Story From Sampson

For those still waiting for some concession of guilt from former IU coach Kelvin Sampson, don't expect to hear him say "I'm sorry" any time soon. In fact, after everything that's unfolded in the last 18 months, it seems Sampson thinks IU might actually owe him a "thank you."

For those still waiting for some concession of guilt from former IU coach Kelvin Sampson, don't expect to hear him say "I'm sorry" any time soon.

In fact, after everything that's unfolded in the last 18 months, it seems Sampson thinks IU might actually owe him a "thank you."

After all, according to a one-on-one interview Sampson recently did with the Sporting News' Mike DeCourcy, it was Sampson who convinced Hoosiers D.J. White, Eric Gordon, Lance Stemler and Adam Ahlfeld to call off a boycott of IU's remaining games following Sampson's ouster last February.

"I don't think Rick (Greenspan) and his staff realized how serious those guys were about not playing," Sampson told DeCourcy. "That wasn't a casual thing. D.J. White, Lance Stemler, Adam Ahlfeld and Eric Gordon — those guys came to our house on Thursday, and those guys said, ‘Coach if you're not going to coach this team, we're not going to play.'"

Well, thank goodness Sampson was able to talk them into returning to the court in body, while at the same time completely exhausting their spirit. "Going through the motions" would be a kind way to label the Hoosiers' effort following Sampson's departure, as they lost four of their last five including a 29-point beat down at Michigan State and a 14-point drubbing at the hands of Arkansas in the NCAA first round.

Thanks for the memories, Kelvin.

Of course, none of that is Sampson's fault. The responsibility for that – in Sampson's mind – undoubtedly falls on the shoulders of interim coach Dan Dakich and then-Athletic Director Rick Greenspan. They're the ones, after all, that dared to have a degree of concern for NCAA rules, going to class, passing drug tests, and in general representing the university away from the court in something other than an embarrassing manner.

How dare they?!

This shouldn't come as a shock. If there's one thing that the 12 months of the post-Sampson era have revealed, it's that he accepts absolutely no responsibility for what happened to his basketball program while he was the head coach.

So long as there's someone else standing in the room, they're the guilty party, your honor. Failed drug tests? It happens everywhere is his retort. Players grades plunging faster than the stock market? They were straight A students before his exit is his suggestion.

Sampson may have convinced himself of his innocence in the matter, but there doesn't appear to be many outside his immediate family that he's swayed with his logic. Just about everyone else believes the following:

When the NCAA punished Sampson for his transgressions at Oklahoma, he didn't necessarily view the NCAA phone call limitations as "restrictions" as much as he viewed them as "obstacles." In his mind, his task was to figure out a way to circumvent those sanctions in a manner that couldn't or wouldn't be detected by IU's compliance department. In doing so he surely knew he wasn't abiding by the spirit of the punishment, but that wasn't his problem.

But it's his problem now. Slapped with a five-year "show cause" penalty that all but prevents any school from hiring him, Sampson has little chance of returning to the college game as a head coach. Even after his show cause penalty runs out, it's unlikely that any major Division I school would be willing to risk hiring a coach who put two different institutions on NCAA probation in a matter of three years.

Sampson's only chance at a third shot would have been to stop blaming everyone else for what happened to his basketball programs while he was the head coach and accept responsibility.

But if there's one thing IU fans have learned, it's that the phrase "I'm sorry" isn't anything that he's going to offer up anytime soon.


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