NCAA Case Summary includes revealing interview transcripts

6 comments by   |   Thursday, June 5, 2008 - 3:56 pm EDT

If you were to stop by The Herald-Times office (you’re all invited; Sonic just opened two doors down and we can get a half-priced drink until 4) you’d find me surrounded by large stacks of paper and over-stuffed binders. It seems like reading through letters of allegation and responses and phone records has been more central to my work recently than that pesky little game called basketball.

Today, Indiana made public a document that is, by comparison, brief and fairly readable. The Case Summary is the final document put together by the NCAA Enforcement Staff before a school accused of wrong doing appears before the NCAA Committee on Infractions. Indiana has its date with the the COI a week from Friday in Seattle.

Perhaps the best way to describe the Case Summary is as a synthesis of the letter of allegations — which listed the charges levied by the enforcement staff — and the responses to those charges by the parties involved (in this case, that includes IU, Kelvin Sampson, Rob Senderoff and Jeff Meyer.) The Case Summary points out any remaining questions and highlights the discrepancies in the various written responses, phone records and interview transcripts.

It is the transcripts — previously unreleased — that are the most revealing part of this story.

As you probably remember, the NCAA based much of its case on interviews with players who had been recruited by Kelvin Sampson and his staff. In turn, Sampson questioned the validity of the testimony of those players and their ability to remember conversations that took place months earlier. Though assistant coach Rob Senderoff has not released his response to the NCAA publicly, it appears as though he, too, questions the testimony of some of the players who recalled being on phone calls in which both Sampson and Senderoff spoke, which violated the sanctions the staff was operating under.

Well, there’s a few pages of testimony from those athletes. They recall specific details of the conversation — Demetri McCamey remembers talking to Sampson about cooking greens — and say that they are sure that both coaches spoke on the line at the same time. Here’s a brief excerpt of what DeJuan Blair told the NCAA:

Q: So we wanna be really clear on this on the calls that you say all three of you were on the phone at the same time having an actual three-way conversation. Estimate again for me how many times you think that happened?
Blair: Five or six.
Q: And how certain are you that that actually happened, that all three of you were actually on the phone at the same time?
Blair: 100 percent.

Perhaps the most damning interview included in the report is the one between the NCAA and Jerry Green, the former Director of Basketball Operations:

Q: Now, it’s, uh, Indiana University has reported a, a number of phone calls, uh, that, uh, they believe have violated the Committee on Infractions’ sanctions that were in place. I guess the, the, the question I, I have to ask you, uh, as being sort of overseeing the compliance of that, in your mind, how, how could that have happened?

Green: In my opinion, I don’t, I don’t, I, I see absolutely, uh, no way, uh, that, that that could’ve been an accident, that they, it had to have been done purposefully because there was too much information that was given to the coaching staff, uh, in my opinion, to keep them from making a major mistake. That they were informed, maybe not the first day, maybe not the first month, but after it got going, everybody, in my opinion, knew the process, what we needed to do and I, I don’t see any way possible that it could have happened, uh, legally . . .

We’ll have more on this later, including interesting testimony from Sampson on his practice of checking or not checking his caller ID.

Read the entire Case Summary here.

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6 comments:
#1
Swampy
Thursday, June 5, 2008 - 4:42 PM EDT

I understand the desire to break the rules. I get cheating. It’s the easy way out, and it saves time and elbow grease.
What I don’t get is how this moron thought he wouldn’t get caught. Was the Oklahoma athletic department unscrupulous, and Sampson thought it would be the same here?
I’m glad to see he was wrong.

 
#2
Eric
Thursday, June 5, 2008 - 5:22 PM EDT

I can’t read this whole thing without suffering permanent brain damage, but from what I got out of skimming over it, it doesn’t appear that the NCAA is singling IU out as having done wrong. They really go after the former coaches, particularly Sampson and Senderoff. In the one part where Jennifer Brinegar is quoted about a meeting to clarify the permissibility of 3-way calls, she has detailed recollection and says the coaches were told not to make 3-way calls, and Sampson just says he doesn’t remember the meeting. That would seem to make IU look like it did what was appropriate, and the coaches look like they just ignored that. And the Jerry Green part definitely makes it look like IU tried to comply and the coaches disregarded those efforts.

If I’m right, which is questionable because I didn’t read the whole thing, it would seem to look reasonably good for IU. Anybody have any thoughts?

 
#3
BaltimoreHoosierFan
Thursday, June 5, 2008 - 6:05 PM EDT

Eric:

I would agree with you. IU appears to have taken the position that they had a group of rogue coaches. Jeey Green seems to be playing that part very well. While I am not sure that means IU “looks good” I would think that the NCAA would at least have to take that into account. The university comes off as more credible by admitting the screw-ups and not trying to come up with lame excuses like KS, Senderoff and Meyer.

I also agree with the NCAA that Sampson’s statement that his home phone would go to voicemail after one ring is a bunch of B.S. Why would a coach that had bad cell phone service at his home and admittely tried to answer every phone call that came in, set his voicemail to pick up after one ring. Either the guy is an idiot or lying. I vote for the later.

The sad thing is it appears that KS despite being a good basketball mind (maybe) is unethical and clearly did not see these kids as “student”-athletes. Crean’s comments about the academic advisor having support and the academic problems of the players is very telling.

 
#4
bhss73
Thursday, June 5, 2008 - 9:11 PM EDT

I cannot wait until Cellvin goes before the committee and explains to them this whole mess. Hopefully someone who knows how to question someone will be giving the questions… rather than the attempt by the NC2A investigator….

 
#5
Tom
Friday, June 6, 2008 - 12:28 AM EDT

bhss73

You are off base here. The NCAA investigators are on a fact finding mission. They are not TV reporters trying to make themselves look good. The transcripts read much the same as depositions, which are also about discovering facts.

“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.” Abraham Lincoln

 
#6
kurk81
Friday, June 6, 2008 - 10:22 AM EDT

Let’s look at this with a metaphor we all can appreciate. Think the Three Stooges. Moe (Sampson) slaps the NCAA (Larry) by totally ignoring their rules and disrespeting them. Larry (the NCAA) can’t touch Moe (he’s coaching in the NBA), so he slaps Curley(guess who…IU), who happens to be handy, and truth be told, probably should have kept Moe/Sampson out of trouble in the first place. Curley/IU turns to slap someone else, but realizes that he’s the last Stooge in line, so he just shrugs his shoulders and takes his beating. So, even though Curley didn’t start the fight, he takes the beating and hopefully finds the opportunity to stick a pair of scissors up Moe and Larry’s noses at some point in the future. Hope this clears up things for you knuckleheads.

 


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