BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Indiana could have a new head coach when the 15th-ranked Hoosiers travel to Northwestern tomorrow.
School officials met yesterday to consider the future of embattled coach Kelvin Sampson, who has been accused by the NCAA of five major recruiting violations over improper telephone calls to high school players. The university was reviewing the allegations and had set a deadline of today for a report and recommendation on action.
University spokesman Larry MacIntyre and members of the board of trustees denied reports Indiana had decided Sampson's fate and would make assistant coach Dan Dakich the interim head coach.
"I don't believe the athletic director has even given the recommendation to the president yet," trustee Patrick Shoulders said yesterday afternoon.
Another trustee, Philip Eskew Jr., said he had been notified by e-mail that Indiana would have an announcement on Sampson's status today but did not have details. MacIntyre said late yesterday afternoon nothing had yet been scheduled but called an announcement likely.
"We have some plans, but we don't have a definite time, and we don't have the OK to go ahead yet," MacIntyre said.
Adding to the speculation was a team meeting last night with athletic director Rick Greenspan. Virtually the whole team left en masse after meeting with Greenspan about 7:45 p.m. and declined comment as they got into their cars and pulled out of the parking lot.
Meanwhile, university officials and athletic department officials spent yesterday reviewing their options.
President Michael McRobbie had a lunch meeting with university counsel Dorothy Frapwell and faculty representative Bruce Jaffee in the president's office. Frapwell and Jaffee were two of the three people asked to conduct the school's second investigation into the allegations.
The third, Greenspan, could not be seen through the office's glass doors, and Frapwell and Jaffee left through a back entrance to avoid reporters.
At Assembly Hall, Sampson spent the morning in his office, presumably looking at tape of Northwestern before leaving the building at about 2:15 p.m. About 45 minutes later, players arrived for a team meeting. Athletic department spokesman J.D. Campbell said players were there for a compliance meeting that had been scheduled on the Hoosiers' off-day.
The NCAA report accused Sampson of providing false and misleading information to university and NCAA investigators about the phone calls and failing to promote a high standard of honesty and an atmosphere of compliance in the program.
Sampson has said he never intentionally provided false or misleading information to NCAA investigators.
Rumor and speculation that floated around campus throughout the day rekindled scenes eerily reminiscent to the prelude and aftermath of Bob Knight's firing in September, 2000.
Reporters spent hours staking out the hallway of the university administration building and the lobby of Assembly Hall, waiting for confirmation of whether Sampson would still be coaching the Hoosiers this weekend.
According to the contract signed in April, 2006, Indiana pays Sampson an annual base salary of $500,000. The contract runs through the next five seasons.
Sampson's deal includes termination clauses for violations of university or NCAA rules that eliminate the payments, but two attorneys have told the Associated Press that firing Sampson now may not be enough to prevent the school from paying at least $2.5 million.
If Sampson isn't coaching tomorrow, the likely successor would be Dakich, 45, a former Indiana player and assistant coach and former head coach at Bowling Green.
Dakich was hired as Indiana's director of basketball operations in June.
The university has until May 8 to respond to the NCAA, and a hearing has been set for June 14 in Seattle. A decision is expected sometime in July.
Proven major violations come with penalties that include teams being excluded from postseason tournaments.