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Kelvin Sampson’s Show-Cause Penalty Ends

Zach Osterman of the Indianapolis Star:

For the past five years, if an NCAA school had hired [Kelvin] Sampson, it would have had to present an explanation of why it should not be punished for hiring him, and how it planned to keep the coach from breaking rules again. It’s an onerous burden that usually keeps schools from touching a coach.

Sampson’s show-cause penalty was a bit lighter than that. It included specific recruiting restrictions, the biggest being that Sampson was prohibited from any recruiting activity, on- or off-campus, from November 25, 2008 through November 24, 2011. From November 2011 until November 2012, Sampson was restricted to one-half of the permissible recruiting contacts (both in-person, off-campus contacts and telephone calls). For the last year, Sampson had been limited to one-half of the permissible recruiting calls.[1]

The documentation requirements early in the show-cause penalty were as big a pain for any institution that might have wanted to employ Sampson prior to November 2011 as the recruiting restrictions:

The former head coach must provide contemporaneous and detailed records of any telephone call made to or received from a scholastic or non-scholastic organization in which prospective student-athletes participate or are members, including, but not limited to, coaches or staff members of high school, club, or non- scholastic basketball teams. These records must document the purpose of, and parties to, each telephone call and that its content neither involved discussion of prospective student-athletes nor was of a recruiting nature.

After the first three years of the penalty, the reporting requirement dropped to monthly phone logs, which almost all Division I institutions already collect from all coaches.

Kent State head coach Rob Senderoff was interviewed by Osterman and he is a poster child for why November 24, 2013 was not as significant a date for Sampson as we might think. Kent State hired Senderoff before the case was completed, retained him when he was barred from recruiting for one year, and was promoted to head coach while still under a show-cause penalty with recruiting restrictions. When a show-cause includes specific restrictions, it is less a ban from coaching and more a question of whether an institution can stomach the penalties on the coach.


  1. Beginning August 1, 2012, the NCAA made telephone calls unlimited in men’s basketball. An employing institution likely would have had to negotiate with the Committee on Infractions about what that meant for Sampson’s restrictions during the last two phases of the show-cause penalty.  ↩

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