Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Kelvin Sampson to Indiana

OU men’s head basketball coach is moving on to greener pastures and many people from the state and around the Big 12 are wondering why. Some have said that Sampson is getting away before the NCAA lowers the boom on the Oklahoma program for the 500 plus illegal phone calls that Sampson made to recruits. Some say that a riff has developed between Sampson and the Oklahoma administration that made him want to leave. The list goes on and on – he was tired of the lack of sell-outs at Lloyd Noble, the talent cupboard was bare, Lamarcus Aldridge is returning for another season at Texas.

The mystery behind Sampson’s departure is actually quite simple. HE GOT A BETTER JOB! Oklahoma is a football school and football schools don’t pack the basketball arena night in and night out. Football schools don’t make their basketball coaches the highest paid person within the athletic department and football schools don’t care about basketball until the second week in January.

At Indiana Sampson will have what all division I basketball coaches want a rabid fan base, a sold out arena and top billing as the Big Man on Campus. Take that Bob Stoops! This was just a move that was simply in the best interest of Kelvin Sampson and OU fans will be fine next month after the spring football game.

As far as the pending NCAA boom being lowered on Oklahoma that people in Austin and Stillwater are waiting for, don’t hold your breath. Even though Sampson isn’t scheduled to appear before the NCAA until April 21 he has already received his punishment. Sampson lost scholarships, was limited in recruiting and had some money taken out of his wallet. The NCAA isn’t going to do anything else.

For those of you who are willing to disagree are you saying that the people in Bloomington are bloomin idiots? Are you forgetting that NCAA headquarters is in the Hoosier backyard? Are you forgetting that Miles Brand was the President at Indiana? Don’t you think some phone calls were made to check on the future status of Mr. Sampson before this hire was made? The Indiana basketball program has always been squeaky clean and I seriously doubt that they would intentionally ruin that to hire a guy that the NCAA was about to come down on.

So where does this leave the Oklahoma basketball program? OU athletic director Joe Castiglione keeps a short list but no one really knows who is on it. With the rise of the women’s basketball program and the playing second fiddle to the football program I think it will be difficult for the Sooners to land a big name like John Calipari, but you never know. The compensation package to coach at OU is very generous and the Sooners are a top 25 program. Here is my list of candidates to watch in no particular order.

Bob Hoffman – OU assistant
Barry Hinson – Missouri State head coach
John Beilein – West Virginia head coach
Lorenzo Romar – University of Washington head coach
Tim Floyd – Former Iowa State head basketball head coach