Indiana University bounced its basketball coach Kelvin Sampson Friday. Good. I don’t know Sampson. I’m not an IU basketball fan. Yet I give university president Michael McRobbie and others credit for doing the right thing.
As I wrote previously, I’m sure it was a tough decision. Yet it was the right one. Here’s why.
Sampson, twice the national coach of the year, has a history of violating NCAA rules. IU knew that. Hired him away from Oklahoma anyway. And then apparently Sampson violated the same recruiting rules at IU that got him into trouble at Oklahoma.
Sampson, according to The New York Times, had five years left on a contract that paid him a base salary of $500,000 a year. Wow. Wonder how many professors at IU make that?
But here’s the point. McRobbie and the IU administration took a stand to protect the reputation of the university. It’s tough for a university – or any organization for that matter – to value ethical conduct, integrity and character when the people at the top violate the rules. That happens in the business world all too often. And in reality Sampson was the CEO of a multimillion-dollar business. Same standards should apply to him. And others.
So now I expect some will say this presents Indiana University with a “public relations problem.” I’d argue just the opposite. It presents an opportunity. All the IU administration needs to say is that it values people with ethics, integrity and character – and it won’t let anyone without those principles undercut the reputation of the university or diminish the value of the degrees that the students work so hard to obtain.
Hey. That’s not a bad ethics policy.
And by the way. Without Sampson IU beat Northwestern Saturday night 85-82. So it goes.
Well, I’m late. It’s almost 5:30 a.m. And I want to get on the road for my five-mile run.