Kelvin Sampson tainted the Indiana program's clean-cut reputation. Now the Hoosiers are hoping the fallout doesn't do any further damage.
Sampson agreed to Indiana's offer of a $750,000 buyout Friday, waiving his right to sue the university for further damages, and turning the program over to interim coach Dan Dakich. An anonymous donor contributed $550,000 to the buyout.
The athletic department's response to an NCAA report charging Sampson with five major NCAA rules violations may create an even bigger mess for the 15th-ranked Hoosiers, starting with today's game at Northwestern.
Some players threatened to sit out the game as a protest. However, athletic director Rick Greenspan, who asked for Sampson's resignation, said he expected the players to participate at Northwestern and the program to move forward after one of the darkest chapters in program history.
"I feel a significant disappointment, first and foremost, for our players," Greenspan said. "I think this is a very difficult thing for them to go through. ... But sometimes out of these situations come some very good things, and I think that's the only way I can feel about it. We are going to move forward."
How quickly, or devotedly, the players follow is still a mystery.
Senior captain D.J. White, guards Armon Bassett, Jordan Crawford and Jamarcus Ellis, and forwards DeAndre Thomas and Brandon McGee skipped Dakich's first practice Friday afternoon. By Friday night's scheduled walkthrough, Greenspan said most if not all of the missing players were back and he expects them to leave for Chicago with the rest of the team this morning.
Sampson, 52, also offered players his support in a statement released by the university minutes before the official announcement was made.
"While I'm saddened that I will not have the opportunity to coach these student-athletes, I feel that this is in the best interest of the program for me to step away at this time," Sampson said. "I wish my players nothing but the best for the remainder of the season."
Sampson's two-year tenure at Indiana ended the way it began, with an NCAA hearing scheduled for alleged rules infractions.
He took the Indiana job in March 2006 and two months later was penalized by the NCAA for making 577 impermissible phone calls between 2000 and 2004 when he was coaching Oklahoma.
The second wave of charges emerged in October when a university investigation found Sampson and his staff made more than 100 impermissible calls while still under recruiting restrictions.
Greenspan called the violations secondary, imposing a one-year extension of the NCAA's recruiting restrictions and pulling a $500,000 raise. The Hoosiers also took away one scholarship for the 2008-09 season.
What the NCAA found, however, was far more serious. The report, released last week, claimed Sampson provided false and misleading information to investigators from both the university and the NCAA, and failed to meet the "generally recognized high standard of honesty" expected in college sports.
Game rescheduled: Georgia Tech and Virginia will face each other March 3, making up a game postponed Thursday night because of a leaky roof at Alexander Memorial Coliseum in Atlanta.
No. 12 Duke 72, Va. Tech 60: Chan Black scored 20 and the visiting Blue Devils used an impressive defensive showing early to hand the Hokies their sixth loss in seven games.
No. 19 UTEP 73, So. Miss 72, OT: Kasia Krezel scored 21 and the visiting Miners held the Golden Eagles scoreless for the final 3:36 of regulation.
No. 13 W.Va.: Guard LaQuita Owens has been suspended indefinitely for an unspecified violation of team rules. Owens is second in team scoring at 13.7 points.
Obituary: Debbie Paladino, who played on the Rutgers team that won the last AIAW national championship in 1982, has died. She was 44. She died of pancreatic cancer Sunday at a hospital in West Palm Beach, the school said.