Friday, February 15, 2008

Our Indiana Insider Speaks Out

Our boy Mark P loves his Hoosiers and he cannot believe what is going on in Bloomington these days with coach Kelvin Sampson. In this piece, he weighs in on how he feels about Sampson, the program, and the talk of Bob Knight's possible return.

I’ll be the first person to admit it: I was completely blinded by the prospects of winning.

I remember the moment I found out that Kelvin Sampson would be coaching the Hoosiers. I was told that I’d love how hard players played for him and how he preached defense and hard work. I was told that I’d love hearing him talk about the program and his honesty with reporters in regards to what’s working well and what needed work. After enduring what is now known as the Mike Davis era, this was all music to my ears.

Never mind the fact that Kelvin Sampson brought to IU some baggage from his days at Oklahoma. Surely a coach under the microscope, taking on a premiere job, would learn from past mistakes and walk down the straight and narrow path from now on.

Well it’s a funny thing to see what arrogance can do to a guy.

Kelvin Sampson was apparently so sure of himself, that not only did he disregard the sanctions placed on him by the NCAA and proceed to make more illegal phone calls to recruits, but he then had the audacity to lie about it to both the NCAA and his new employer, Indiana University.

Welcome to the era of lying in sports. No longer do players or coaches get in trouble for actually cheating, but for not telling the truth. You’d think Sampson would have learned something from Barry Bonds or Marion Jones. And if Kelvin hadn’t turned on Sportscenter this year, maybe he would have learned from previous coaching frauds like Dave Bliss, Jim Harrick or Clem Haskins.

You arrogant prick.

This is so much bigger than a coach getting fired over some phone calls or lying. This surely sets IU’s basketball program back to where we were during the Mike Davis era, if not worse.

From a national powerhouse with five championship banners hanging from the rafters to a non-desirable location to play college sports. From an institution that had gone nearly 50 years without a major NCAA violation to a school mentioned in the same breath as the UNLV’s of the world.

And the worst part about it is that I fell for it all, hook, line and sinker. It’s funny to see how a few choice recruits and twenty or more wins will make you look the other.

There are Hoosiers across the country surely calling for the return of Bobby Knight. I for one am not. Yes, he runs a clean program, but need we all be reminded of the other issues you have to deal with when he’s running the show? Are recruits all of the sudden going to jump at the chance to play for a military style coach that hasn’t regularly competed on the national stage in more than 15 years?

If we must start over again, and it’s looking like that’s the direction we’re heading, then let’s truly start over. This is not the time to try and relive the glory days from two and three decades ago, nor is it the time to take another chance on a proven coach with any sort of questionable methods.

I for one have learned my lesson and won’t look away in the name of a few more wins. I only hope IU can say the same.

No comments: