Kelvin Sampson: Loser

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.

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7 thoughts on “Kelvin Sampson: Loser

  1. I agree with most of this, but let’s not make IU all that high and mighty.They (fans and administration) stood by for years and let a bully dominate the program as he saw fit. Much like heads get turned the other way on cheaters if they are winning, IU turned its head b/c Knight was successful.There was never a justifiable excuse for his behavior on and off the court, especially the way he treated media.There are many kinds of wrongs. Just because IU didn’t cheat under Knight doesn’t mean there weren’t numerous wrongs committed and unpunished.I also find it interesting that UK’s late 80’s NCAA probation was brought up in the original story. Why no mention of the other local team that has had TWO Major Violations cases in basketball since then. And they got off EASY.

  2. They sure did, Anonymous. And once the University of Louisville got off on a technicality in a textbook case of the school being more interested in its competitive situation than in the transgressions than actually transpired.The University of Louisville, for those who don’t remember, got out of a penalty for major violations on the argument that they didn’t realize they were facing “major violations.” Flimsy, but it worked.And I considered going there for an example. But this column is only allowed to run 600 words, and for that you’d need several hundred more, just for explanation’s sake.In the end, I brought up UK-Orton because it’s an example of the kind of things going on within the rules that may actually be more harmful than what IU was found guilty of outside the rules. I did go out of my way to say UK had broken no rules.It wasn’t to impugn UK. In fact, at the end of this column, I held up UK, and particularly its fans, as an example for how to bounce back from this kind of things.

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