Are we nearing the day Indiana University officials ask Bob Knight to end his "retirement" and return to the school at which he won three NCAA titles in 29 seasons before being forced out in 2000?
Unimaginable, you say?
Probably. But no more so than allowing second-year coach Kelvin Sampson to remain in charge of Indiana's once-storied program.
Based on the latest NCAA allegations against Sampson, we have reached two conclusions:
First, Sampson is a man whose apparent arrogance and lust for victory continue to empower him to ignore NCAA rules and sanctions as easily as most people take in air to breathe.
Second, the administrators within the Indiana athletic department have been overcome by hypocrisy.
Indiana officials recently received a 14-page letter from the NCAA alleging five major violations against Sampson. An NCAA investigation concluded in part that Sampson and his staff violated telephone recruiting restrictions imposed in the wake of similar violations during his 12-year run at Oklahoma and then lied about those violations to Indiana officials and NCAA investigators.
The NCAA launched an investigation after Indiana officials announced in October that Sampson had made more than 100 impermissible phone calls while still on NCAA probation for the infractions he committed at Oklahoma. Those infractions included Sampson and his assistants making 577 impermissible calls to recruits from 2000 to '04.
Sampson on Wednesday denied he has knowingly broken any NCAA rules or provided false or misleading information to NCAA investigators during his time at IU.
Does anyone believe that rubbish? Indiana officials already admitted Sampson broke the same rules he broke while at Oklahoma. Are we to believe Sampson is so ignorant that he committed the same violations by accident?
We won't learn the outcome of the latest case against Sampson for several months. Indiana officials have until May 8 to provide the NCAA with a response to the investigation. School officials are expected to appear in front of the NCAA's committee on infractions sometime in June.
But we already know that NCAA rules appear to be little more than suggested guidelines to Sampson. His phone fetish involving recruits led Oklahoma officials to impose sanctions on their program in an attempt to placate the NCAA.
Sampson left Oklahoma for Indiana in March 2006, about 2 months before the NCAA announced its penalties against the Sooners.
Because of the violations at Oklahoma, Sampson was not allowed to make phone calls to recruits or recruit off campus for a calendar year. The NCAA alleges Sampson broke those rules and essentially has failed to change his behavior.
No one should be surprised, particularly Rick Greenspan, Indiana's director of athletics and the man who hired Sampson.
Greenspan understood what he was getting when he hired Sampson - a coach whose basketball acumen was unquestioned but whose ethics were, at best, questionable.
The irony here is that Sampson's latest alleged violations come at a school that once instituted a "zero-tolerance" policy against Knight.
Knight, who was out of coaching for a year before taking over Texas Tech, recently announced he was stepping down in the midst of his 42nd season. *