For years, IU fans put up with Bob Knight's crazy act, and justified it with no small modicum of pride saying, "At least he runs a clean program". And for all his faults, Bobby is no cheat. Now as the NCAA informs Indiana of potentially major violations by coach Kelvin Sampson, the bloom is off the rose. Listen, I know the NCAA is nuts, and their rules are nuts. Sampson's initial violation was sort of a stupid petty thing, but he he violated it so egregiously, that there can't be any equivocation as to his guilt.
The fan base wasn't real thrilled with hire to start with; honestly, I'm not sure there weren't a lot of people disappointed to see the school hire 'another black man' (yes, I know he's not really black, but I'm not sure everyone in southern Indiana does). Some of us didn't like his tournament record, and all of us were troubled by the baggage he brought with him. When Indiana hired Kelvin Sampson, they KNEW they were hiring a man who was in serious hot water with the NCAA. Integrity matters in life, and Kelvin Sampson has put his into question. He's no victim here. Indiana University is no victim either. Everyone knew about his trouble with the NCAA when he got hired. Where's the zero tolerance now? I guess it died with Miles Brand (what? Miles Brand isn't dead? He's head of the NCAA? Oh, I guess I figured not having a soul was the same thing as dying...my bad).
We in Indiana like to rail about the cheating by Bill Belichick. We delighted when Purdue got drilled with sanctions. We know Ohio State has long been one of the dirtiest programs around. We snickered when the axe fell on the formerly fabulous Michigan squad. The Indianapolis Star, which to my knowledge didn't put out a story on this new report (though to be fair, Kravitz was calling for Sampson's head weeks ago), called Illinois fans classless as recently as last week. So this is it folks. We lived in a glass house and delicately tossed around our stones. It's time to break some windows.
Our team is 20-3 and has a chance to play deep into March. It doesn't matter to me nearly as much as maintaining a clean reputation. I think the school has a pretty good idea if these allegations are true. I'm fairly certain they are. If those two assumptions are accurate...
Kelvin Sampson must go.
Demond Sanders: This is unfortunate. I really like Sampson. He can recruit and his teams win. I am tired of all the transition at IU. I wish, as Bobby always brings up, that Knight had retired from Indiana on his own terms in the late nineties. It would have allowed for a proper hiring process to take place when the school still had its pride and tradition intact. I'm satisfied with Sampson for some random program, but this is Indiana. You can't hire a guy under that kind of cloud of doubt. I think if Sampson is fired then the AD needs to resign as well.
I hate the fact that this gives the crazy Knight fans more ammunition. They call themselves Hoosier fans, but they aren't. They're Bob Knight fans. But that's a separate issue for another time.