Days after accepting a $750,000 buyout from Indiana University in the wake of accusations he lied to NCAA officials about phone-related recruiting violations, the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES reports Kelvin Sampson has been seen texting his former Hoosier players.
Jay Mariotti has an anecdote that includes Sampson texting IU’s Armon Barrett - as the columnist paints a scene of torn player loyalty that may well have an effect the team’s performance.
Now, it’s about whether an outlaw continues to counsel the players in absentia and whether they’re so loyal to Sampson that the school is helpless, fearing they might protest — six skipped practice Friday — and turn his ouster into a Save Kelvin crusade. When Kellen Sampson, Kelvin’s son, remains on the bench as a graduate manager, you realize some things haven’t changed at Indiana.
I sense the players will be better off keeping in contact with the coach who recruited them rather than being forced to purge him from their lives by the school. What most writers seem to forget about college athletes is that the ideal of them solely choosing an institution is less likely than a player selecting a school because of the coach and playing situation. The squad sees him as a father figure, and when Sampson was removed, their reaction should have been expected.
Whether this undermines Dakich’s ability to get the team deep in the tournament has yet to be seen, but I doubt it — guys like Barrett, D.J. White, and Eric Gordon will play for their teammates and themselves, if not their current coach or institution of higher learning.
More importantly, just what kind of texting plan is Sampson on? Gotta look into that nights and weekends deal he must’ve struck with Cingular (now the NEW AT&T!).