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Jay Bilas is pissing me off.

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In general, I like Jay Bilas and consider him one of the few rays of sunshine at the increasingly unwatchable ESPN. He's a smart guy, a Duke law grad who worked as an attorney at a large firm and as an assistant coach for Mike Krzyzewski. At his best, he cuts through the crap and offers more insight and intelligence than any other basketball commentator at ESPN. But when it comes to his friends, Jay Bilas is "Jay Bias." And unfortunately, his impressive credentials give him more credibility than he deserves in such circumstances.
Of course, my current annoyance with Jay relates to the Sampson issue, but recall that the last time Bilas weighed in on a Big Ten coaching change, he was excoriating Michigan for firing his laughably incompetent old buddy Tommy Amaker. Amaker, even considering the condition of the program when he took over in Ann Arbor, did an indefensibly awful job there, and didn't do anything at Seton Hall other than recruit. Yet Michigan, a historical top 10 basketball program, should have stuck with him even longer? Silly.
Bilas currently is leading the "due process" idiot brigade in the Sampson debate. I can take this rhetoric from non-attorneys, but Bilas should (and likely does) know better. Let's get this straight: there is no Platonic ideal of "due process" to which Sampson is entitled. In Indiana, employees, even public employees, generally are employed at will and can be fired for any non-discriminatory reason or for no reason at all. That means that the only due process rights that Sampson has arise from his employment contract. IU is following the procedures as outlined in the contract. If IU can review the materials provided by the NCAA, conduct follow-up investigation as needed, and come to the conclusion that the NCAA has Sampson dead to rights, why should IU be obligated to wait for the NCAA process to play out?
People keep raising the specter of Jim O’Brien, and the O’Brien case is a cautionary tale. But O’Brien’s contract specifically limited OSU’s right to terminate him for NCAA violations. OSU could not make that determination, but had to wait for a determination by the NCAA. Sampson’s contract is not crystal clear, but it does allow IU much more flexibility on such issues. The relevant paragraphs of Sampson's contract do not explicitly require a finding by the NCAA before he can be fired for NCAA violations, and Sampson's contract also allows him to be terminated for just cause for "knowingly misleading the University" about matters relating to the basketball program. IU has no legal or contractual obligation to wait for an NCAA finding or wait until IU's response date to take action against Sampson. Anyone who says otherwise is making shit up.
Again, we're all used to idiocy from ESPN. But Bilas isn't an idiot. Viewers trust his informed opinion, particularly on legal and NCAA issues. What most of the audience doesn't realize is that when it comes to his friends, Bilas isn't acting as a legal analyst. He's acting as a legal advocate. Bilas's statements should be given no more weight that the statements of Sampson's attorneys.