Most of what happened inside a large conference room located just off the main lobby and above the kitchen — thus allowing Kelvin Sampson to try to enter and exit without being seen — at the Hotel Deca in Seattle will remain hidden to us.
But Indiana University’s final word in the 12-hour ordeal, its final and failed plea to place the blame on its former basketball coaches and avoid a “failure to monitor” charge, has become a public record because the man who delivered it, university President Michael McRobbie, wrote it down. (He wasn’t at the hearing due to a previous engagement but delivered the speech via video conference.)
We received a copy of his closing statement, and I’ll paste it below for you to read.
NCAA Hearing Closing Comments
Michael A. McRobbie
June 14, 2008
Madame Chair, Committee members, first of all, I want to once again thank the Committee for your courtesy in allowing me to participate in these proceedings by videoconference. I know that it required some special arrangements and I am grateful for that.
As I have listened to the testimonyâ€” the questions and the responses over the last 2 daysâ€” I felt very strongly that I should offer my concluding perspectives on the overarching issues that have been the focus of this hearing.
I want to make it clear that this has been a valuableâ€” if not always pleasantâ€” experience for me as the President of this institution.
It has been noted several times that Indiana University has one of the premier menâ€™s basketball programs in America. And, as you would expect, we take great pride in that.
But a record of athletic success is not a point of pride for a university if it is tainted by a failure to follow the rules set forth by the NCAA.
At Indiana University we have a long record of NCAA compliance, and it is a special point of pride for our students, our alumni, our staff and our fans that the success we have obtained in athletics has been achieved in a manner that has not called into question the integrity of our institution.
So it was especially painful for us to discover that certain coaches in our menâ€™s basketball program had engaged in what we believe the evidence clearly demonstrates was an attempt to circumvent the sanctions that came with Coach Sampson when he was hired.
And, I would add, these coaches circumvented the compliance measures that had worked well at Indiana University, as well as the enhanced measures put in place when Coach Sampson was hired. These coaches were entrusted not just with the success of our menâ€™s basketball program, but with the good name of Indiana University.
I am not just saddened, I am angry, that they betrayed that trust.
As president of this university I will say to you today that the NCAAâ€™s investigationâ€” indeed our own investigationâ€” has led me to conclude that our compliance program was comprehensive and it worked.
As I stated in my opening comments, we are here today because our compliance program uncovered these violations. We have never attempted to hide or to diminish their significance in any way. These compliance assurance measures were strong and effective â€¦ but they clearly were not perfect.
I am pleased that we uncovered these violations but I certainly wish we had done so earlier.
We have been hurt not only in terms of our competitive position on the basketball court, where what was once one of the nationâ€™s proudest programs is in tatters, but also in terms of the universityâ€™s reputation. No longer can we say that we have had no allegations of major NCAA violations in almost a half a century. And that hurts me and Indiana University even more than the damage that has been done to the program that Coach Crean has inherited and now has to rebuild.
Some have said that there is a lot of blame to be shared in all of this, suggestingâ€” and perhaps hopingâ€” that there can be a dilution of personal responsibility under some notion of collective guilt. I reject that notion completely and I hope this committee will, as well.
Although it is true that all parties before this committee made some mistakes, there clearly exists a higher level of blame in this matter that we believe should be assigned to Coaches Sampson and Senderhoff. And we believe the evidence in this case strongly supports that.
As others have stated, Indiana University took a risk in hiring Coach Sampson and giving him a second chance following his problems at Oklahoma. It is now clear that this was a risk that should not have been taken and the university regrets doing so.
Finally, on behalf of Indiana University, I want to express my deepest regret and apologies to the NCAA for the circumstances that led up to this hearing.
I ask you to consider our history and our culture of compliance; our transparency and full cooperation with these investigations; our current coaches and student-athletes who have no involvement in these violations; our significant self-imposed penalties; and our sincere contrition in this matter.
As President of an NCAA member institution, I appreciate the time and attention that you devote to matters such as this.
And as President of an institution under scrutiny, I am grateful for your attention to detail and your commitment to fairness.
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