Henry Wofford/Eyewitness Sports
Bloomington - Eyewitness Sports has confirmed that IU Coach Kelvin Sampson will not finish the season with the Hoosiers, and that assistant coach Dan Dakich will take over.
Sampson accepted a $750,000 buyout offer to step down as coach. According to the university, $200,000 of that amount will come from the athletic budget, and the rest will be paid by an anonymous donor. Sampson also agrees not to sue the university as part of the deal.
"I am very sorry to see our relationship with Coach Sampson end this way, but we have to focus on doing what's best for the long-term interests of IU and its men's basketball team," Athletic Director Rick Greenspan said in a statement.
The internal investigation ordered by school president Michael McRobbie was supposed to be finished Friday after the NCAA accused Sampson of participating in telephone calls that violated recruiting restrictions and then lied to IU and the NCAA about it.
"I have accepted the resignation of Kelvin Sampson in order to put this matter behind us and allow our basketball season to move forward without these distractions," McRobbie said.
McRobbie said he is aware that some members of the team are disappointed over the situation. Some players had reportedly voiced loyalty to Coach Sampson. A source says some players are considering skipping Saturday's game against Northwestern.
When asked whether that report was true, an irritated D.J. White responded, "I don't know who your sources are."
"I'm not gonna say it's not true," White added. When pressed for clarification, he repeated, "The only thing I will say is, 'I will not say it's not true.'"
The Bloomington Herald Times reported that senior captain White, Jamarcus Ellis, Armon Bassett, Jordan Crawford, DeAndre Thomas and Brandon McGee did not attend practice Friday afternoon.
"They have been playing their hearts out on the court in spite of all the controversy and media attention that has been focused on this issue," McRobbie said. "I am grateful to each and every one of them for their perseverance and loyalty to this university."
Eyewitness News watched as players left a meeting at Assembly Hall late Friday night, many seemed to be dancing and singing as they walked out of the building and climbed into cars near the door.
Both Sampson and Greenspan made appearances Friday at Assembly Hall. Greenspan headed into Assembly Hall Friday morning. About twenty minutes later, Coach Sampson and his wife emerged and headed down stairs without comment.
Players, managers, assistant coaches and the coach's son, Kellen Sampson, then gathered in the locker room for what appeared to be a team meeting. The meeting broke up about midday with freshman forward Eli Holman emerging with puffy eyes, looking like he was tearing up.
IU Assistant Coach Dan Dakich will lead the team for the rest of the season. Dakich played at IU under Bob Knight from 1982-85, then served as an assistant coach under Knight until 1997, when he was named head coach at Bowling Green. He recorded a 156-140 record in ten seasons with the Falcons before leaving after this past season.
"Indiana University and the basketball program have played an important role in my life. I want nothing but the best for these players and the institution," Dakich said in a released statment. "The challenge ahead is to maintain the positive momentum that has been built within the team and to keep everyone as focused as possible during this difficult time."
The Hoosiers have not been guilty of a major NCAA infraction since 1960.
Sampson, Greenspan statements
"I have made the very difficult decision to leave my position as head coach of the men's basketball team at Indiana University," Sampson said in a statment. "While I'm saddened that I will not have the opportunity to continue to coach these student athletes, I feel that it is in the best interest of the program for me to step aside at this time.
"I wish my players and staff nothing but the best for the remainder of the season. They are all truly incredible people," Sampson continued. "As I have previously stated, I welcome the opportunity to go before the Committee on Infractions in June. I look forward to getting back on the basketball court in the very near future."
At Greenspan's press conference Friday night, he made the following statement:
"Last summer when my compliance staff first discovered potential problems, I initiated an internal investigation into conduct by coach Sampson and his staff related to possible violations of sanctions, both self-imposed and imposed by the NCAA.
"In October, we submitted our findings to the NCAA and took various other actions. On Feb. 8, Indiana University received the formal notice of allegations.
"Concurrent with our internal investigation, a review of those allegations and the evidence that exists regarding those allegations was conducted by Bruce Jaffee, faculty athletic rep and a member of our athletic committee, and with the assistance of Dorothy Frapwell, vice president, and representatives of Ice Miller (law firm) in regards to legal matters.
"In addition, I have made the overall evaluation of our relationship with coach Sampson. This involved further consultations with our internal and external legal counsel. As part of this process, we also engaged in conversations with coach Sampson and his representatives.
"I am able to report that we reached an agreement for coach Sampson to resign effective today. I am pleased that we were able to part ways in a manner that serves the best interests of Indiana basketball and our university.
"Coach Dan Dakich has agreed to serve as the acting head basketball coach, and coach Ray McCallum will serve as assistant head coach. Coach Jeff Meyer will continue in his current capacity. I am confident that coach Dakich, with his head coaching experience and his history as an IU basketball player, will be able to assist Indiana University during this challenging period.
"Coach McCallum also has head coaching experience and is well respected and admired by players and fellow coaches alike.
"Neither coach Dakich nor coach McCallum were implicated in the NCAA notice of allegations. They understand the mission of the university, the history of (the) Indiana University basketball program and the athletic department and have a very good working relationship with all of our existing players.
"I have assured coach Dakich and his staff - and most importantly the players - that they will have our full support throughout the remainder of the season."