Posted on: October 31, 2008 3:48 pm

A diehard IU fan's response on Mike Davis

Hi Kevin,
This is quite a column you have here:


I think what I enjoy most, is that your motives are very transparent:
"That means one thing.
More than a few Indiana basketball fans are going to read it and see red."
That means one thing, Hoosier Nation is huge, and we're going to generate more clicks than UAB fans who are probably off thinking about football, or something.
To entertain your question, Indiana fans have every right to be upset with Bobby Knight, Mike Davis and Kelvin Sampson, for different reasons, but they all left the program in under dubious circumstances. Sampson being the worst but Mike Davis not getting a free pass, either.
To be honest, I was always a Mike Davis apologist until he made one fatal mistake, which you didn't mention in your column. Mike Davis' story at IU was mostly one of luck, some of it was good luck, some of it was very bad. He was in the right place at the right time, inherited a team that could shoot the lights out and lucked his way all the way to the National Championship game, in 2002. I give Mike Davis quite a bit of credit for that, IU's victory over Duke (a 13-point spread underdog) and the incredible comeback IU made (the most incredible basketball game I have ever watched) had a lot to do with Mike Davis' coaching. Anyone who doesn't recognize that is foolish.
Mike Davis also had some stretches of horrific luck. DJ White going down for a year, Bracey Wright constantly being injured, Kirk Haston leaving early at the advice of a bitter Bob Knight.
But Mike Davis had to go. He was in way over his head, this not a good rookie job. Indiana has 5 National Championships, 3rd most in College Basketball (more than UNC, more than Duke, etc...), we want more, and we have one of the biggest followings on the planet. Note how the Indiana game was the first sellout Minnesota has had in years:


"Playing in front of their first sellout crowd in nearly three years, the Gophers just couldn't take it away."
And keep in mind that Minnesota's campus is in the biggest metropolitan area in the entire Big Ten. Yeah, Indiana Basketball really is that big. I was there, it was electric!
Simply put, Mike Davis was in way over his head. I could stand him missing out on Indiana talents (Josh McRoberts, Sean May, Dominic James, etc...), I could stand the odd marginal performance team. And I could even stand his emotional blowout at Kentucky, although this was a sign he was in over his head, that kind of decorum, on National Television, is not recommended.
So what was that fatal mistake I mentioned? Simple, he missed on Greg Oden. I'll never forgive him for that, Oden wanted to attend IU as a high school junior, even said it on ESPN, and Davis botched it! Not sure how he botched it, but he did. That single mistake, which is an unforgivable sin, compounded every single mistake he ever made.
Okay, so the past is the past, I'll forgive. In fact, I think you have it all wrong, you don't want me to let Mike Davis go. Not only do I not wish Mike Davis any illwill, I actually hope he does well with UAB, I just wanted him out of the Indiana University coaching job, couldn't handle it. However, I think UAB's the perfect job for him, a mid-major type programme, not the pressure cooker IU is. He'll do better out of the limelight, and he recruits well in his home state of Alabama. Davis is my only connection to Conference USA, so sure, go UAB. Best of luck this year.
Nathan Oliver
B.Sc. Finance & Economics - Indiana University
Microsoft Excel MVP
Posted on: February 10, 2008 8:26 pm
Edited on: February 10, 2008 9:15 pm

Kelvin Sampson & NCAA Violations

You want to rip Kelvin Sampson a new one for his repeated transgressions with the telephone? Fine, it's the chic thing to do, everybody who's anybody is doing it, so jump on the bandwagon. But, here's two suggestions, for your sake, before you do so:

  1. Know what you're talking about
  2. Take a good, hard look at your own program, first

First, it's important to note that the first round of phone calls made at Oklahoma were ruled by the NCAA as a Secondary Violation. There's more information that can be found, here:


While 577 phone calls certainly seem excessive, 233 by Sampson himself, keep in mind that this was over a 4-year period (2000-2004). So we're really talking about ~58 extra calls per annum over the period in question. Now, I don't mean to totally diminish this, but I've had girlfriend's who make 58 extra calls in a 4-day span.

Now, with the most recent issue, Sampson was involved in 13 prohibited 3-way calls last year:


A second document is the self-report to the NCAA enforcement staff regarding the phone calls that violated NCAA rules. That report concluded that out of these 32 phone calls it is likely only 13 actual conversations occurred. Also among the documents are two other reports detailing the circumstances of impermissible personal contacts with recruits or their families not related to telephone calls.

Now, keep in mind that these calls are not actual NCAA rules violations, but a violation of Sampson's probation, as noted:

Although permissible under NCAA rules, three-way recruiting calls involving Sampson were in violation of the stricter, NCAA-imposed sanctions which were in effect on the IU staff last year from May, 2006 to May, 2007.

And it's also important to note that Indiana has imposed serious penalities, which Sampson has fully agreed to:

As penalties, Greenspan has imposed a second year of restrictions on recruiting calls tighter than is permitted by the NCAA, reduced Sampson's off-campus recruiting opportunities and taken away a basketball scholarship for 2008-09. The basketball staff will also have one less coach available for recruiting during the 2007-08 recruiting year. Sampson also voluntarily agreed to forego a $500,000 compensation increase this year.

That's fairly significant versus being a slap on the wrist, when's the last time you've kissed off $500 Grand? And note, the University has also submitted these violations as Secondary Violations, in good faith:

"Through extensive and lengthy discussions with our legal counsel, it was concluded that these violations are of a secondary nature because they represented isolated instances. They provided little, if any, recruiting advantage and did not involve any extra benefits," Greenspan said.

Okay, so now we all know what has reportedly happened. Keep in mind these are Secondary Violations and no one at Indiana or within their fanbase thinks this is okay. Sampson's been punished and we need 100% compliance out of him and our Program as a whole.

But let's also look at this for what it is, Secondary Violations. Has a coach ever been so lambasted by the media for Secondary Violations? Has a Coach ever been deposed for Secondary Violations? Not to my knowledge.

Secondary Violations run rampant in College Basketball, almost as common as missed Shaun Pruitt free throws, which is incredibly common. Before you throw Sampson under the bus, I recommend you look at your own program, in order to avoid playing the role of hypocrite, because no one likes a hypocrite.

Let's look at a few different cases. We'll start with Illinois. I've noticed a lot of Illinois fans referring to Sampson as Sampscum and Sanctions over this, but is your Program and Coach any cleaner? Have a look at Self's history at Illinois:


Now, in the same spirit I'm taking about with Sampson, I'm not sure how big of a deal these 20 Secondary Violations really are but the point is that they exist, and as in Sampson's case, a Secondary Violation is a Secondary Violation.

And speaking of Bill Self, what's he up to these days at Kansas? Well, a little more of the same:


The basketball violations occurred from 2002 through 2005, spanning from Williams to current coach Bill Self, who will be starting his fourth season with Kansas next month.

I don't mean to pick on Bill Self alone, but I find it curious as to how the media and fans are giving all of these coaches free passes while they're burning Sampson's name in effigy.

Perhaps the most humerous conversation I've recently had on the subject was when an Oklahoma State fan referred to Sampson as a cheater and claimed Eddie Sutton has never been a cheater. Eddie Sutton is one of the most infamous rules violators in the history of NCAA Basketball, he was involved in a scenario where his players at Kentucky (late 80s) were being paid to play!

You can read about it here, if you like:


In the end, none of this is a-okay, but before you trash the bejesus out of Kelvin Sampson, come to terms that these are Secondary Violations and have an understanding that your Coach and Program probably has recently committed Secondary Violations as well.

After that, fine, throw Sampson under the bus. Just make sure you leave room for your Coach and Program, because I'll be placing them there shortly.

Can you hear me now?!

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com