Thursday, February 14, 2008

A Crimson Shame

What a bad day for the Hoosier faithful.
First AJ Ratliff leaves the team, then the NCAA releases allegations that Sampson committed major infractions as well as lying to his superiors at IU, and then Indiana loses at home to Wisconsin off courtesy of a last-second banked three-pointer.

There's a whole lot of chatter right now about the allegations (Chris Korman has a pretty good blog post), and I gotta say it looks pretty bad for Sampson and for Greenspan, but on the other hand, you've got to have evidence (and good evidence) to fire somebody. Pat Forde (that beady-eyed Frankenstein who rhymes his name with "Lordy") actually makes a good point about Jim O'Brien recently winning a wrongful termination lawsuit against Ohio State, and suggests suspension is the answer. Suspension would allow the team to keep playing the games, while Danny Dakich (evidently clean of scandal) takes over in the interim, and if Sampson & Meyer can prove themselves innocent, then the progress made at this program isn't lost. If they are guilty, they've been removed and can be fired with NCAA sanctions destroying the program.

However, suspension probably means tanking what should've been a great year for IU, but this team has had a boatload of red flags waving ever since they got blown out by Xavier. We've been waiting for this team to gell, catch fire, and live up to its potential, but now with investigations and possible firings swirling around, I've a hard time seeing it happening. I'm not questioning the talent of Gordon or Ellis and certainly not the heart of DJ White, but it's been looking more and more like the NCAA tourney Sweet 16, let alone the Final Four is becoming a longshot. Otherwise put, this is not Scott May breaking his hand in '75, or Ted Kitchel in '83 or Alan Henderson in '93 busting his knee. This is DJ White busting his foot in 2006. So, I say, there's no use sacrificing the program for a NCAA tourney first-weekend exit. Preserve the Hoosier program, and suspend Sampson immediately, and either fire or suspend Greenspan.

It's pathetic and sad. As a sports fan, I want to see people succeed. I don't want to denigrate the hard work that people do, or be suggesting that people lose their jobs. But being a fan of Hoosier basketball seems to have made me a witness to a series of horrible decisions over the last 10 years. A shame.


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