Buford got a call from IU's Sampson

2/14/2008
BY STEVE JUNGA
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Buford-got-a-call-from-IU-s-Sampson


Kelvin Sampson's future at Indiana was in doubt yesterday following the release of an NCAA report that says he committed five "major" violations, one of which is linked to a recruiting call made to Libbey High School basketball standout William Buford, a 6-foot-5 guard who has signed a letter of intent to play at Ohio State University.

According to the report released yesterday, the IU basketball coach and his assistants provided false and misleading information to university and NCAA officials.

The allegations stem from a phone-call scandal that occurred while Sampson was still under recruiting restrictions following a similar episode at Oklahoma. The NCAA ruled in May of 2006, less than two months after Sampson took the Indiana job, that the Sooners coaches made 577 illegal calls between 2000 and 2004.

The NCAA banned Sampson from calling recruits and making off-campus visits for a year.

In October, however, new

allegations surfaced after an

internal review.

Just five months after coming off of probation, an Indiana investigation found Sampson's staff made more than 100 impermissible calls, and that Sampson had participated in at least 10 three-way calls that were prohibited as part of the sanctions during his probationary period.

One of those calls was made to Buford, something the Libbey star confirmed to The Blade last night. Buford and Libbey coach Leroy Bates also acknowledged that the player received a phone call from an NCAA official within the last two weeks as part of an investigation.

Buford told The Blade last night that he was asked by the NCAA not to comment on the nature of its inquiry, but he did confirm receiving the call from Indiana this past summer.

The Libbey player - who will play his final high school game in Toledo tonight in the City League championship against St. John's Jesuit at Savage Hall - said he could not remember the date of the call from the Indiana staff, nor the person who initiated the call. He also said he did not recall much of the conversation that took place.

But Buford did confirm that Sampson was part of the call, and that he was asked about possibly attending Indiana on scholarship. Buford had previously made a verbal commitment to Ohio State during the summer of 2006, and ultimately signed to accept the Buckeyes' scholarship offer in November of 2007.

Buford said this was his only contact with Sampson and the IU staff.

"It is regrettable, to say the least, that we are in this position, to respond to the allegations that have been made about several of our basketball coaches," Indiana athletic director Rick Greenspan said yesterday at a hastily

arranged news conference.

"I'm personally, professionally and profoundly disappointed with even the hint of inappropriate behavior."

Sampson declined comment before the 13th-ranked Hoosiers hosted No. 15 Wisconsin last night.

At the time of the Indiana investigation, Greenspan called the infractions secondary, although he said additional NCAA infractions could lead to Sampson's firing.

Yesterday, following the release of the NCAA report, Greenspan would not say whether the school planned to impose additional sanctions, but acknowledged Sampson's contract contains a clause in which he could be fired for cause if the NCAA rules Sampson committed major violations.

Indiana has already forced Sampson to forfeit a $500,000 pay raise and one scholarship next season.

"I think the sanctions we established on Oct. 3, we felt were very significant and we felt very appropriate for the information at that point in time," Greenspan said.

The NCAA saw the infractions as more serious than secondary

violations.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.