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Indiana buys out Sampson

Six players skip Dan Dakich’s first practice as interm head coach.

Indiana University coach Kelvin Sampson and his wife, Karen, walk down a ramp in Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind., Friday.

AP photo

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Indiana basketball coach Kelvin Sampson has agreed to a $750,000 buyout with the school, university spokesman Larry MacIntyre said. Assistant Dan Dakich took over the team as interim head coach.

The deal includes a provision that prevents Sampson from filing suit against the university seeking further damages. The agreement was expected to be signed later Friday, MacIntyre said.

Senior captain D.J. White, Armon Bassett, Jordan Crawford, Jamarcus Ellis, DeAndre Thomas and Brandon McGee skipped Dakich’s first practice Friday afternoon. It is unknown if they will play when the 15th-ranked Hoosiers travel to Northwestern today.

“While I’m saddened that I will not have the opportunity to coach these student-athletes, I feel that this is in the best interest of the program for me to step away at this time,” Sampson said in a statement released by the university. “I wish my players nothing but the best for the remainder of the season.”

An NCAA report cited Sampson for making improper phone calls to high school players, then providing false and misleading information to investigators from both the university and the NCAA.

Athletic director Rick Greenspan met briefly with Sampson on Friday morning. A few minutes after Greenspan left the coach’s office, Sampson walked down a ramp with his wife, Karen, went into another coach’s office was not seen again inside Assembly Hall.

Players, managers, assistant coaches and the coach’s son, Kellen Sampson, then gathered in the locker room for what appeared to be a team meeting that broke up about midday.

Later, Indiana star freshman guard Eric Gordon was on his way to practice and said he expected to play against Northwestern. Gordon participated in the practice.

The move seemed to pacify many Hoosiers fans who wanted Sampson out and even the trustees who wanted the stain of improprieties scrubbed from the school’s image.

“I’m glad it’s over. I just want to move forward and I hope the players can accept it and move forward with us,” trustee Philip Eskew Jr. said. “It’s just a bad time for Indiana University. I regret it. I’m sorry it happened. I’m just glad everything’s over with and hope the players rally around each other and play for the school.”

Sampson’s two-year reign with the Hoosiers ended the same way it began, under a cloud of NCAA allegations.

Hired in March 2006, while still awaiting an NCAA ruling on a phone-call scandal at Oklahoma, Sampson got the Hoosiers into the second round of the NCAA tournament in 2006-07 and had them in position to contend for a Big Ten title this season. He broke the school record for most consecutive home victories at the start of a career, eclipsing the mark set by revered coach Branch McCracken, earlier this season.

But his success on the court could not overshadow the accusations of what he did off of it.

In October, the university announced Sampson and his staff made more than 100 impermissible calls while Sampson was still under NCAA penalties. The university claimed those violations, which included at least 10 three-way calls Sampson participated in, secondary violations.

The NCAA, however, found Sampson failed to meet the “generally recognized high standard of honesty” expected in college sports and failed to promote an atmosphere of compliance within the program.

Sampson has said he never intentionally provided false or misleading information to NCAA investigators.

That prompted the university to conduct a second investigation, led by Greenspan. President Michael McRobbie made the announcement Feb. 15 and set a Friday deadline for Greenspan to make his recommendation.

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