Tuesday, May 09, 2006

An Athletic Department Adrift: Indiana University

Let me start by saying that I think new Indiana University coach Kelvin Sampson is a pretty good coach. He did a good job at Oklahoma, which had not been much of a basketball school in recent memory. But I wonder why IU would want to go through the trouble of firing Sampson, should the NCAA lay down the hammer on OU. If IU had any doubts or questions about Sampson’s integrity or the integrity of the program he ran in Tulsa, why hire him? If the NCAA uncovers enough dirt on the OU men’s basketball team to warrant sanctions, how would IU benefit by firing their newly-hired coach?

To me, it’s just another example of how badly the IU athletics department has been run since Myles Brand ran Bobby Knight out of town. IU never should’ve hired Sampson if they were so worried about his character, reputation, and integrity. Even if he was the best possible choice for basketball reasons, it’s never good to start off a new business relationship by reserving the right to fire someone before the job even starts.

IU should’ve gone for Steve Alford or, quite frankly, for Sampson’s replacement at OU, Jeff Capel. To hire someone that they seem prepared to fire is only going to continue the downward trend of what was once the NCAA’s crown jewel program.

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