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Indiana AD to resign amidst NCAA probe

Thursday, June 26, 2008


AP Sports Writer

BLOOMINGTON -- Indiana athletic director Rick Greenspan grew weary of the constant attention and criticism from former men's basketball coach Kelvin Sampson's phone-call scandal.

On Thursday, the man who hired Sampson did the only thing he could think of to stop the trail of carnage: He stepped down.

The same day Indiana was hit another major allegation by the NCAA, Greenspan said that he would leave Indiana in December.

"My four years here have always been challenging and never boring," Greenspan said before defending his compliance department. "Regardless of how it (the NCAA case) is adjudicated, I believe strongly that my (compliance) staff acted, monitored and demonstrated great care and diligence."

Apparently, the NCAA disagrees.

An investigation into more than 100 impermissible phone calls initially led to five major recruiting charges against Sampson, the former Indiana coach, and his staff. One was dropped to a secondary infraction before this month's hearing in front of the infractions committee. A decision is not expected until at least late July or early August, and Thursday's twist could push that back even farther.

Just as the school was announcing Greenspan's impending departure, Indiana released a letter from the NCAA accusing the university of one of the harshest charges any school can face -- failure to monitor. The letter suggested Indiana's compliance department was not as stringent as it should have been while Sampson was already under NCAA recruiting restrictions because of a previous phone-call scandal at Oklahoma.

Greenspan, who came to Indiana from Army in 2004, said he accepted responsibility for how the department acted. University President Michael A. McRobbie was surprised by the new charge but said it was not a factor in Greenspan's decision.

"I believe the facts and records in no way justify this charge," McRobbie said. "I would point out the NCAA's own investigators did not make such a charge following their extensive review of the facts. I want to be clear that we will vigorously defend Indiana University against, what we believe, is an unfair and unjustified charge."

Indiana can stand on its previous testimony, respond to the committee in writing or request another hearing. The last two options could push back the timeline for any penalties handed down by the NCAA.

Bruce Jaffee, a professor of business economics and public policy and the school's faculty representative on the Athletics Committee, said no decision has been made on how to proceed with the new charge.

"I guess Option 1 is off the table because the president said we're going to fight it," Jaffee said. "So that leaves responding in writing or requesting another hearing."

The scandal has already tarnished a program with five national championships and a reputation of playing by the rules. It's the first time Indiana has faced a major NCAA infraction in any sport since 1960.

Sampson accepted a $750,000 buyout in February and none of his assistant coaches were retained after Greenspan hired former Marquette coach Tom Crean in April. All of Sampson's recruits have either decided to transfer or been dismissed from the team.

Former President Adam Herbert, who approved the decision to hire Sampson and may have even pushed for the hiring, left that post last summer and is now a professor at the university. Greenspan also has announced a reorganization in the compliance department, and now Greenspan, the last man with ties to Sampson, plans to leave his post, too.

For Greenspan, it's been a trying time.

"I think to some degree the focus or the criticism over the last period of time, however long that is, has centered on me more than it should," he said. "An athletic director, in most cases, and I guess I've been a little bit of an exception, should be like a good official and they should be relatively unnoticed but fair and objective, and call a good game. If my presence distracts from the proper attention of you fine folks in the media and our alums and others to focus on the accomplishments we've had, then I think it's time to make a change."

The past eight months have been particularly turbulent.

In October, Greenspan announced the university had found Sampson and his staff had committed what he described as secondary violations. He stripped the basketball team of one scholarship for next season, extended Sampson's recruiting restrictions for another year and took away Sampson's raise.

Four months later, the NCAA made more serious charges. Sampson and Rob Senderoff were accused of five major infractions, prompting a second investigation by the university. Within two weeks, Greenspan announced Sampson was out and Dan Dakich would replace him on an interim basis.

By late March, Greenspan was again searching for a new basketball coach -- the fourth since his arrival.

Greenspan, who oversaw the approval of new football and basketball facilities, helped the athletic department get out of debt and presided over the football team's first bowl appearance since 1993, finally decided he had to go, too.

"These past several months have obviously been an extraordinarily difficult time for all who are associated with Indiana University athletics, and no one has felt this more than Rick Greenspan," McRobbie said. "It is therefore understandable that Rick has reached the conclusion that he has announced here today that he is stepping down.

"He has ultimately concluded, and I regrettably agree, that his decision to step down will allow all parties concerned to make a fresh start."

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