Friday, February 15, 2008

Another tragedy

Another school shooting, this time at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Ill. -- my brother's and many friends' alma mater. It usually is a quiet campus and a quality institution of higher learning.

God bless you NIU.

The slain will not be forgotten.

Feb. 22 is the day of reckoning

IU President Michael McRobbie said today the athletic department has a week to investigate the allegations against men's basketball coach Kelvin Sampson.

I agree with what was said on ESPN this afternoon. This time probably is going to be spent figuring out not what to do, but how to do it. I think IU knows Sampson's future with the Hoosiers, but will spend most of the time figuring out how it will be done. It is only a matter of time now.

McRobbie said during a press conference he cannot pre-judge what will happen.

In the meantime, the team is facing its two biggest games of the season. After the home loss to Wisconsin Wednesday, IU needs a win Saturday at home against Michigan State. Next week's game against Purdue may be for first place in the Big Ten. Hopefully, D. J. White, Eric Gordon and Co. will fight through the huge distraction.

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.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Turfgate ends

Heinz Field will remain a natural grass surface, according to this report from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. It was the wrong decision. Enjoy your upcoming mud November and December mud bowls. Maybe they could paint the dirt or mud green just like at old Cleveland Municipal Stadium.