I’ve already had a few emails this morning expressing disbelief that I could call Kelvin Sampson “the real loser” in the Indiana University-NCAA mess, and most thought I was making Sampson out to be a sympathetic figure. So I’d better explain. In the need to be brief, perhaps I wasn’t clear — and that means I didn’t quite get the job done. Like all those coaches not going to bowl games this season, I’ll utter the words, “blame me.” And like all of them, I’ll go on to defend myself!
Here’s what I meant.
Kelvin Sampson is out of college basketball for good. No school can hire him for five years, and after he misled and brought down IU’s basketball program, it’s unlikely any college ever will. The NCAA hammer fell on him the hardest, and it should have.
The show-cause Sampson got is, essentially, the death penalty for college basketball coaching.
That makes you, as the show says, the biggest loser. At least in my thinking.
IU will be back. It’s paying a hefty price for Sampson’s transgressions, but it will pay for them and return to the upper reaches of the Big Ten in time under Tom Crean.
One writer wrote that “the fans are the biggest losers.” I can’t go along with it. IU fans already have a program they can be proud of again, even if it isn’t winning games. They have a university and an administration that, even facing major NCAA sanctions, was as tough internally as any school you’re going to see. They have a coach who has always done things the right way.
There are far worse penalties in life than losing a few basketball games. IU and its fans will be fine.
Sampson is the real loser. And should be.
That’s what I’m saying.
Keep checking the blog throughout the day and I’ll include some reader responses — pro and con, to this column.