Former Indiana Basketball Cheat Kelvin Sampson Hired by University of Houston

by Kent Sterling

"I'm baaa-aaack!"

“I’m baaa-aaack!”

Well, it’s good to know that the University of Houston is so concerned about winning that a coach whose arrogance and stupidity ruined the Indiana University basketball program is their best option.

1070 the Fan’s Dan Dakich often quotes former Indiana State head coach Royce Waltman as saying, “Just don’t get fired for losing.”

Sampson was ousted at Indiana in February, 2008, for making impermissible phone calls that were facilitated by assistant stooge Rob Senderoff.  That series of violations came on the heels of violations for the exact same thing at the University of Oklahoma when Sampson ran that program.

Click here to follow Kent on Twitter

There is no doubt that Sampson can win games as a head coach, but the overriding message to the players he has coached is that rules are for boobs, and winning trumps all.  Nice piece of guidance there.

When Houston AD Mack Rhodes was hired in 2009, university president Renu Khator said, “Winning games is important, but helping young people be winners in the game of life is essential.”  Who better to teach them that than a coach who continues cashing checks despite being one of the worst violators in NCAA history.

With Sampson’s hire, Houston is confirming that people who claim “cheaters never win” are idealistic and naive.  Sampson now has a five-year contract that proves they do win, and Senderoff is the head coach at Kent State.  Where is Dakich, who has never broken a rule, and cleaned up Indiana’s post-Sampson mess?  He’s hosting a radio show in Indianapolis and doing great work as an ESPN analyst.

Young adults looking for leadership and guidance get a heavy dose of amorality from Sampson and Senderoff while Dakich entertains sports fans with unique perspective.  Dakich got the best of the deal, but the schools who are supposed to hire men that students can look up to are failing while TV programmers succeed.  Pathetic.

Former Indiana Athletic Director Rick Greenspan made the inane call to hire Sampson eight years ago, although it has always been rumored that former IU President Adam Herbert mandated that choice.  Either way, you will notice that both men’s names are preceded by the word “former”.

Sampson is 58-years old, and it would seem likely that six seasons away from college basketball has been a daily reminder that flouting the rules is no way to sustain a career in college coaching.  It’s not like Sampson missed many paychecks as an assistant coach for the Milwaukee Bucks and then Houston Rockets, but people thought he learned his lesson when penalized at Oklahoma too.

“How dumb would Sampson be to cheat at Indiana after cheating at Oklahoma?” was the question asked when Sampson was hired to rescue the Hoosiers from the incompetent clutches of Mike Davis.  People knew the definitive answer to that question two years hence.

Fans and media in Houston are asking whether Sampson could be so incredibly moronic as to violate NCAA rules yet a third time.  Fortunately for Sampson, the rules for contacting recruits have been modified, so they are more logical, and easier to understand and follow.  That will make engaging in subsequent violations more difficult, but where arrogance meets dumb, there is always a way.

Indiana Hoosiers Basketball’s course was forever affected my a man who appears to have emerged from disgrace mostly unscathed.  Now, another school is trusting him to avoid scandal.  I wish the University of Houston luck with that.

Fathers can now take sons to see the Cougars, point to Sampson, and say, “See that man?  He’s proving everyday that rules and morality don’t matter a damn as long as you win.  Remember that, son.”

Solid message for an institution purportedly dedicated to higher learning to advance by hiring an unrepentant program wrecker.

The coach who is a walking and talking plea for the NCAA’s need to enact a lifetime ban on relentless cheaters is back in the game, and Rhodes better say his prayers at night that Sampson has learned his lesson – finally.

9 thoughts on “Former Indiana Basketball Cheat Kelvin Sampson Hired by University of Houston

  1. steve

    Coaching is amazing profession where you can be slime and still get hired to coach another gig. I dont think he has learned or ever will learn but he will make another big fat paycheck.

  2. Matterhorn

    “cheating” you mean texting and calling players too many times something that is perfectly legal now. Get real Kent. He’ll win mark it down.

    1. kentsterling Post author

      It was cheating then, and he’ll find a way to get caught doing something else now.

  3. Matterhorn

    Oh you mean look at that man like Bill Clinton who everybody adores, sorry but cheating on your wife is much worse than too many phone calls, get real Kent.

    1. kentsterling Post author

      The wreckage of the rule breaking was much worse for Indiana Basketball than anything Rick Pitino and Bill Clinton did in restaurants or with cigars. I’ve never actually run across anyone willing to defend Kelvin Sampson. I can cross that off my bucket list.

  4. A.J.

    Oddly enough, what some are mad at is less the calls and more the rest of the program “rot”. Exhibit A – The “Rot”, academics:

    Then, on April 3, the day after the welcome news conference backdrops had been pulled down and the last TV truck rolled away, the team’s academic adviser told him there were 18 F’s on the team. That struck Crean as an outrageous number until half an hour later, when the academic director told him there were actually 19. And that’s when Crean knew this was much worse than he could have imagined.

    For there is a message in 19 F’s on a 14-player team with an armada of tutors whose primary task is to make sure the players pass. It says the decay is much broader than a rogue coach who made too many illegal phone calls. It says oversight has disappeared, that the players no longer care, that the delicate pilings holding up a wobbling basketball program are about to topple and the whole thing is on the verge of collapse.–ncaab.html

    Exhibit B: More “Rot” –

    Former Indiana standout Eric Gordon believes drug use caused a rift on last season’s Hoosiers, according to a story posted on The Indianapolis Star’s Web site Wednesday night.

    Gordon declined to identify which players allegedly used drugs, but said D.J. White and two others still on the team were among those who did not.

    “It was the guys that were doing drugs that were separate,” Gordon told the newspaper.

    Gordon, who left after his freshman season and now starts for the Los Angeles Clippers, said some players’ drug use led to friction on the team. Gordon said he spent time with a family friend in Bloomington because of the atmosphere surrounding some players.

    As weird as this sounds, I’m actually not as mad at the things he got punished for – the calls – as I am the things the NCAA didn’t even mention or look at. THAT easily did as much damage as the sanctions.

    1. kentsterling Post author

      Absolutely agree. Sampson – a guy who did not understand what Indiana meant – brought in recruits with great talent and nonexistent self discipline. The train would have come off the rails regardless of the sanctions.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *