Friday, February 15, 2008

On IU, coaches and phone calls

I expect a little more from Indiana University.

As an alumni, it is one of my duties to uphold the good name of the school that educated me. And the school has a responsibility to me to maintain its good name. That includes the athletic department, probably its most visible and recognized program.

As most of you know, IU men's basketball coach Kelvin Sampson is facing big trouble after the NCAA alleged major violations involving the phone call scandal. They involve serious acts, making improper phone calls to recruits, and also deceiving the administration about it.

These aren't minor issues. These are major violations. Things that are not tolerated by the rest of the world. Indiana University should not tolerate it either. There are a litany of reports now calling for Sampson's dismissal.

Us IU fans and alums are trying not to long for the "good ole' days" when Bob Knight was the head coach, the team had a spot reserved for it in the NCAA tournament every year, and we expected to win Big Ten and national championships. But I suspect one other characteristic of the program we took for granted was no NCAA investigations. Not violations. Investigations. That means there was never any evidence to SUGGEST the NCAA should look into problems.

Knight taught us that we could demand academic, front office, and athletic excellence and get all three. It is alleged lack of integrity that most concerns me in this case. We're all innocent until proven otherwise, but if Sampson did lie about making improper phone calls, that cannot be tolerated in any way. Indiana University is not the type of school that will take its sanctions and just move on. We expect and demand better.

I want a respectable basketball team playing in Assembly Hall. But ultimately, I want a respectable coach and athletes in the community. I want someone running the team that I can be proud of.

In spite of his personality, I was proud of Bob Knight and the program he built. I'm proud of Kelvin Sampson's team, but I'm not sure I'm proud of Sampson.

I expect a little more from Indiana University.

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