BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana coach Kelvin Sampson tried to
talk basketball Thursday.
Instead, he spent much of a 30-minute news conference answering
more questions about his latest NCAA infractions.
At times, Sampson appeared frustrated, saying, "This is the
last thing I'm going to say about this, period."
At another point, when asked about making phone calls to
Roderick Wilmont, now playing in the National Basketball
Development League, Sampson drew laughter when he humorously cut
off the question by saying "be careful with that word."
Sampson tried talking about practice, the progress of highly
touted freshman Eric Gordon and how good this year's Hoosiers might
be. Still, the questions about more impermissible phone calls would
not go away.
"There's no distractions, we practice every day," Sampson
said. "I can assure you there's no distractions. If anything, our
practices have probably been a little harder than last year and
there's been no mention of it since the first day."
This is the second time in 17 months that Sampson has been the
subject of an NCAA investigation. In May 2006, the NCAA prohibited
Sampson from calling recruits or making off-campus recruiting trips
for one year after it found he had made 577 impermissible phone
calls from 2000 to 2004 while coaching at Oklahoma.
Sampson said in a brief opening statement that he could not
discuss the specifics of the latest violations because the
investigation was ongoing.
He did acknowledge that players were told of the infractions
during a team meeting Sunday, before school officials made a public
As a result, Indiana will lose one scholarship in 2008-09 while
Sampson forfeits a $500,000 pay raise. Assistant coach Rob
Senderoff, at the center of the controversy, also will forgo his
pay raise and was banned from calling recruits and off-campus
recruiting for one year.
A university investigation found that Senderoff connected
Sampson to 10 three-way calls. Three-way calls are permitted under
NCAA rules but were banned as part of Sampson's previous sanctions.
It also found that Senderoff made the majority of 35
undocumented calls from his home.
On Tuesday, university spokesman Larry MacIntyre said there may
have been as many as 100 undocumented calls, more than the 35 that
were originally announced Sunday.
Senderoff also talked to the team about the violations, Sampson
"We ... explained what was happening and what was going to be
reported and here's what we're going to do -- we're going to
coach," Sampson said.
The latest infractions were discovered in July by a compliance
department intern. IU officials have said they occurred during
Sampson's previous ban, which ran through May 25.
Sampson also said he has contacted incoming recruits to discuss
this week's controversy.
"We've talked to all of the incoming kids and their families,
that's all I'm going to say," Sampson said.
Later, Sampson said he could not discuss whether they were still
interested in attending Indiana because of NCAA rules.
Senior forward D.J. White, a team captain and former Big Ten
freshman of the year, was not in town for the team meeting because
he was attending his grandfather's funeral in Alabama.
But Sampson called to explain the situation before he flew back
to Indiana, and White has spent this week answering questions from
friends and classmates.
"Of course you get that from outside people," he said. "They
read the papers, they want to know what's going on, but I don't
know a lot about the situation."