Sampson's future remains in limbo at Indiana

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana could have a new head coach when the Hoosiers travel to Northwestern on Saturday.

School officials met Thursday 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 Friday deadline 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 Thursday afternoon.

Antoher trustee, Philip Eskew Jr., told The Associated Press he had been notified by e-mail that Indiana would have an announcement on Sampson's status Friday but did not have details. MacIntyre said late Thursday 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.

The team met with athletic director Rick Greenspan on Thursday night. Almost the entire team left en masse after the meeting about 7:45 p.m. and declined comment as they got into their cars and left the parking lot.

Meanwhile, university officials and athletic department officials spent Thursday 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.

Last week the school released the NCAA's report that 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 in 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.

"People are saying all kinds of things, maybe suspend him, maybe do this or that, but it's a big issue to the university," Eskew said during an interview Wednesday night. "At the same time, it's about due process and you've got to make a decision that's in the best interests of the university."

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 Indianapolis attorneys have told The Associated Press that firing Sampson now may not be enough to prevent the school from paying out at least $2.5 million.

The second-year coach came under scrutiny for his newest round of NCAA infractions in October when an internal investigation found Sampson made more than 100 impermissible recruiting calls, most of them by assistant coach Rob Senderoff, who has since resigned. At least 10 of them were three-way calls that Sampson had been patched into, a violation of NCAA restrictions imposed on Sampson for previous telephone improprieties while he was coach at Oklahoma.

The university called those secondary violations. The NCAA, however, used the term "major" when it accused Sampson of lying.

If Sampson isn't coaching Saturday, the likely successor would be Dakich, 45, a former Indiana player and assistant coach and former head coach at Bowling Green. He took Senderoff's spot on the coaching staff in early November, prior to any of the alleged rules infractions.

Dakich, who was hired as Indiana's director of basketball operations in June, is subject to the same restrictions the university imposed on Senderoff, who was banned from calling recruits and making off-campus recruiting visits for one year.

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.

"I fully understand the desire for us, by many people, to move quickly in bringing this situation to resolution," McRobbie said. "We intend to do just that."