IU football field may have to be replaced

By   |   Friday, Jun. 6, 2008 - 4:54 PM   |   33 comments

We’ve received an update on IU’s damaged football field from the Associated Press, which spoke with athletic director Rick Greenspan about it this afternoon. Here is that story:

By Michael Marot

Indiana University’s Memorial Stadium football field turf was severely damaged by heavy rain and strong winds this week and has been ruled unplayable.

Now it’s a mad dash to get it fixed before Indiana’s season-opener Aug. 30 against Western Kentucky.

“We’re bringing in some turf specialists to see if it can be salvaged or whether it’s totaled,” Indiana athletic director Greenspan told The Associated Press on Friday. “We have to do this in about six or seven weeks, and it very well might be totaled. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

The problems began Wednesday when the Bloomington area was hit with flash flooding, turning the football field, which rests beneath the parking lot level, into what some eyewitnesses described as a floating island of green turf.

When the water finally drained, a hole about 10 inches deep ran from the middle of the field, just inside the end line to the fence separating the field from fans.

That was only part of the problem.

Greenspan said the south end of the field, from the end zone to about the 30- or 40-yard line, was lumpy and he’s still uncertain how much it will cost to fix. The estimate, Greenspan believes, could be $750,000 to $1 million.

“It needs considerable work, and we’ve got to get this done,” he said.

Finding a quick-fix for the field won’t be easy, either.

Greenspan said it normally takes three to four weeks to install new turf, but the school must first determine whether it can be repaired or will need to be replaced. Then they must find a company available to do the job, and it could require additional work to smooth out the lumps — all before Aug. 30.

“From start to finish, in my experience, it’s usually been about four weeks,” Greenspan said.

The damage is already causing scheduling conflicts.

Football players have been instructed not to practice on the field and this weekend’s football camps are being moved to another venue. In August, before the Hoosiers’ opener, Memorial Stadium is also scheduled to host the national drum and bugle corps competition.

Still, Greenspan believes it can be repaired before the Western Kentucky game.

“At worst, I think we have to do extensive repair or replace it,” he said. “I don’t know what it (the water damage) means to the resiliency of the field, the subsurface, how much has broken down underneath there, that sort of thing.

We’ve got a guy coming in early next week and he’ll give us his educated opinion.”

For Greenspan, fixing the field has become priority No. 1.

“The closest thing I’ve seen to this was when I was out at Cal in ’89 and they had the earthquake,” he said. “The turf just kind of rode along like a wave. I’ve never seen water or the volume of water get underneath carpet like that and destroy the turf like that.”



Crawford received impermissible calls

By   |   Friday, Jun. 6, 2008 - 3:19 PM   |   15 comments

[5:10 UPDATE] I’ve just added a few paragraphs with Meyer’s response to the calls he made to Crawford. His response to the NCAA discusses them.

——

Jordan Crawford is the only player left on the Indiana basketball roster who was recruited by Kelvin Sampson and his staff.

It appears as though Crawford, who will be a sophomore next season, was also one of the recruits involved in impermissible calls made by former assistant Jeff Meyer.

According to the NCAA enforcement staff’s case summary, released to the media by IU on Thursday, Meyer made two calls to Jordan Crawford’s mother in the fall of 2006 that violated terms of the sanctions that the staff was operating under at that time.

As punishment for impermissible calls made by Sampson and his staff at Oklahoma, the Hoosiers staff was limited to one call per week to prospects after August 1st of their senior year (instead of the usual two.)

Meyer made a call from his home — even though he regularly signed a sheet that said he did not use his home phone for recruiting — on Sept. 30 to Sylvia Crawford, Jordan’s mother. That call, which lasted 14 minutes, was impermissible because Meyer had already spoken to Sylvia Crawford on Sept. 26 for 15 minutes.

Meyer also made two calls the Crawford family the next week. He spoke with Jordan Crawford for nine minutes on Oct. 1, then to Sylvia Crawford the next day for four minutes.

The Herald-Times was able to identify Crawford and his mother as the recipients of the calls because the words “Crawford’s mother” and “Crawford” were mistakenly not redacted in part of the document. However, five other instances where the word “Crawford” or “Crawford’s” presumably appeared were redacted in the same chart. IU’s lawyers are only required to redact the names of current students.

In Meyer’s response to the NCAA’s letter of allegations, he admits to making the calls to Crawford and his mother. He said he was trying to bring Crawford to campus for a visit and find out information about his academic standing.

“All that to be said, obviously made a call — I’m looking at this — that violated the sanctions,” his response quotes him as saying. “I can assure there was no intentional trying to violate an NCAA rule to get an advantage there.”

Meyer also said he did not remember the specifics of the calls, only that he placed them with the mistaken assumption that he still had a call to use on Crawford that week. The response, prepared by Atlanta-based lawyer Stuart Brown, argues that Meyer’s impermissible calls are “mitigated” by the fact that they did not violate NCAA bylaws and came late in the recruitment of Crawford, who would sign with Indiana in November.

Indiana officials declined comment Friday. It is extremely unlikely that Crawford’s eligibility will be endangered, but the NCAA could use the fact that he received impermissible calls and then signed with IU to show that the Hoosiers gained a significant recruiting advantage through the calls, which is one of the reasons that the NCAA has decided to classify the violations as major instead of secondary.



Means says he’ll be back for football

By   |   Friday, Jun. 6, 2008 - 2:19 PM   |   6 comments

4:45 p.m. UPDATE: Andrew Means just said in a telephone interview that he plans to play summer baseball for a Reds’ affiliate, but be back with the Hoosier football team this fall.

Means said that this morning, before he was drafted, he had a deal worked out with the Reds that would allow him to sign with the MLB team, yet also play another season of football for IU. He said that doing it that way may have caused him to have been picked lower and cost him some bonus money, but it was worth it to get to play another season of football.

He said there’s still a possibility of the Reds’ offering him more money not to play football, and him accepting that offer, but he’s expecting to be back on the field at Memorial Stadium this fall.

He did not disclose how much bonus money he will receive from the Reds as it stands now.

In football, Means is the top returning Hoosier in receiving yards with 559 last season.

Besides Means, IU baseball recruit Blake Monar was also picked today, by the Yankees in the 26th round. That will leave the Hoosiers waiting to see if Monar, a lefty pitcher from Rockport, Ind., decides to play college baseball next season or turn pro right away.

In addition, Indiana junior pitcher Tyler Tufts was taken by the Rangers in the 32nd round.

————-

The Cincinnati Reds have picked Indiana’s Andrew Means in the 11th round with the 329th pick of the 2008 MLB draft.

Means, a centerfielder, has said that he expects to be back to play football for IU next fall, but was also keeping his mind open to the possibility of signing with a pro baseball team.

“I’m so happy for Andrew,” IU baseball coach Tracy Smith said in a news release. “It’s a great day for him and his family – every kid dreams of playing professional sports and he’s in a wonderful position to decide whether he wants to return to IU or further his career at the professional level.”

There was no information immediately available about Means’ thoughts on whether he’ll sign with the Reds and whether he expects to return to IU next season. If he signs with the Reds, he could still choose to play football next season, but his Hoosier baseball career would be over.

Means led the Big Ten with 72 runs and eight triples scored and finished third in the conference with 33 stolen bases. He also hit .357 with two home runs, 11 doubles and 32 RBIs. He was the only Big Ten player to be named Player of the Week twice in 2008.



Sampson explains phone usage

By   |   Thursday, Jun. 5, 2008 - 6:29 PM   |   8 comments

Kelvin Sampson’s explanation for why he believes he never knowingly broke recruiting rules by taking part in a three-way calls has remained fairly consistent. He only ever allowed the media about 10 questions on the subject — and that is probably a high estimate — but each time anyone asked, he repeatedly maintained that he was in the habit of not looking at his cell phone’s caller ID function because he was so excited to be receiving a cell phone call — remember he was not allowed to be making recruiting calls — that he answered as quickly as possible. Therefore, he never saw that the calls were coming from Rob Senderoff and not the recruit (or parent or coach) whose voice was on the other end.

Judging from my conversations with you, our dear readers, this explanation never quite made even the tiniest iota of sense to you. It apparently doesn’t to the NCAA, either.

In the Case Summary released today, the NCAA lays out the reasons it does not believe Sampson’s contention that he never knew he was on three-way calls. First and foremost, it dismisses that possibility with the testimony of 10 people who remember taking part in a call during which Sampson and Senderoff were talking simultaneously.

But the NCAA also shreds Sampson’s contention that he never thought he was on a three-way call because he never looked at his caller ID by using testimony from none other than Sampson himself. They had the benefit of forcing him to talk.

Sampson admits that the numbers popped up on his cell phone screen. He also explains that he often had a sheet of numbers, apparently given to him by his staff, that corresponded to the players who might call him that night. Here’s a bit of his interview:
Read the rest of this post »



NCAA Case Summary includes revealing interview transcripts

By   |   Thursday, Jun. 5, 2008 - 3:56 PM   |   6 comments

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.
Read the rest of this post »



Jeffries visits Bloomington

By   |   Thursday, Jun. 5, 2008 - 2:12 PM   |   7 comments

Jared Jeffries watches basketball campers on Thursday at Bloomington North.

Jared Jeffries is in town for his annual basketball camp, his attempt at giving 50 or so area youths the kind of specialized (and free) instruction that he did not receive before he became older, taller and highly-recruited.

But while the former North and IU star was in Bloomington, he did sit down for a chat with new Hoosiers coach Tom Crean.

“I saw some of the younger kids plays,” Jeffries said. “I talked to him, talked to the assistants. They couldn’t have hired a better person for this job. He understands what Indiana is about, he understands what Indiana basketball is about.

“You couldn’t have hired a better person.”

When Kelvin Sampson was hired, Jeffries was quoted as being in favor of the move. It’d be easy to back away from Sampson now, considering all that has happened, but Jeffries did not.
Read the rest of this post »



Negedu update

By   |   Wednesday, Jun. 4, 2008 - 10:47 PM   |   48 comments

You’ve clamored for it. And I suppose that, as Indiana fans, you’ve become accustomed to new news coming daily — nay, hourly — after the past couple of bizarrely eventful years. So, let me feed your need (here’s looking at you, Boombaby.)

Emmanuel Negedu, he of the soaring dunks and limitless hustle, apparently got into town a little bit late on Tuesday. Though I haven’t reached Negedu or any of his closest confidants, I have spoken to a few people who are aware of how things have progressed. Due to the late start, Negedu extended the visit in his attempt to get to know Tom Crean and the rest of the coaching staff.

The situation at Indiana is markedly different from the ones at Memphis, Tennessee or even Georgia Tech. First off, Negedu knows those coaching staffs and can look at their recent histories for an indication of what types of teams they will have. Also, you can tell a lot about those programs simply by looking at the rosters they’ll have next season; Tennessee and Georgia Tech return the heart of their respective teams while Memphis loses its stars but has new ones lined up in a top recruiting class. At Indiana, of course, the situation is much less stable with just three returning players and a hodge-podge recruiting class that must fit into a system that worked in the Big East but will probably need to be tweaked to fit the personnel available and the grinding Big Ten style.

So the Indiana visit, I’ve been told, is much more of a fact-finding visit for Negedu. You’ve heard kids talk about the “feeling” they get about a school, and that’s what so many of them are hoping to find when they step on campus. So coaches do whatever they can to create the feeling: they show off the banners, they drive through the campus on golf carts, they hang a jersey with the prospect’s number in the middle stall of the locker room.

That approach doesn’t seem to be the one that will win convince this recruit. Negedu has spent plenty of time in Bloomington but has too many questions that need to be answered about the IU program now that it is in the care of Tom Crean before he can allow himself to have the “feeling” that would lead to his commitment.

Negedu has visits planned to the three other schools he is considering and will make a decision sometime after June 12. A 6-7 forward and product of the Bloomington-based Indiana Elite AAU program, he is the best unsigned high school player in the class of 2008. He requested and received his release from Arizona last month because he was upset by the staff changes there and what he perceived to be a lack of honesty by the school.





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