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Argh, I can't resist.

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I have sworn, many times, that I would not give this guy the time of day. But it's the middle of the offseason, I haven't posted much lately, so here it is. Bob Kravitz continues to suck. The supposed point of his column--that Rick Greenspan should be fired--is a perfectly respectable position argued in a completely disrespectable way.
Really, all that anyone needs to know about Bob Kravitz is contained in the first sentence:
After reading all 96 pages of the Tolstoy-esque case summary regarding Kelvin Sampson and Indiana University....
Here, Kravitz is attempting to impress us with a literary reference. "Wow, Bob Kravitz has heard of Leo Tolstoy, who wrote War and Peace, a really long book!" The NCAA's case summary was 96 pages, long, including a list of the participants, a table of contents, and many charts. If Bob Kravitz thinks that this document is "Tolstoy-esque," he really has no idea how the world works outside of the toy section. The rest of the article removes any doubt about that proposition.
Again, I can get on board with the idea that Rick Greenspan should be fired. But here's a quick sampling of where this column falls short:
  • The article implies that Kravitz didn't know that IU received an e-mail clarification from the NCAA in May 2006. That's been known since IU released its self-report last October. Of course, if Kravitz thinks that 96 pages is Tolstoy-esque, let's take bets on whether he read IU's self-report.
  • Kravitz suggests that an institutional "failure to monitor" allegation is on the table. As the Star reported a few weeks ago and as I discussed in this post, the NCAA Committee on Infractions did add a failure to monitor charge against Long Beach State even though it had not been charged by the enforcement staff. As I noted earlier, the Long Beach State case is quite different from the IU case. LBS involved the institution's willful blindness to the sudden academic excellence of its borderline recruits. IU's case is different. But in any event, the Committee on Infractions informed LBS long enough before the hearing that LBS had the chance to brief the issue before the hearing. The hearing is five days away, and not only has the Committee not done that to, IU, but the Committee actually reduced one of the charges, the T-shirt and backpack given to Derek Elston, to a minor violation. I'm not an expert on NCAA procedure, but if Kravitz has reason to believe that IU is facing an institutional monitor charge, he should present us with the evidence.
  • Kravitz just lies when he says that Sampson was on a "Bob Knight Zero Tolerance Program." Not true, not analogous.
  • The context of the statement is that IU should have fired Sampson immediately upon discovering the evidence of three way calls. Hiring Ice Miller to investigate was overkill, according to Kravitz, as was waiting until the spring to fire him. I'm not going to defend every step of IU's process here, but Kravitz's easy answers are what should be expected from a guy who has never done anything for a living other than run his mouth. Kelvin Sampson wasn't an at-will employee. Had IU canned him in July 2007, IU would have owed Sampson over $3 million absent sufficient evidence to terminate him for cause. In Kravitz's world, IU would have been making that decision based only on ten three-way calls: no witness interviews, no coaches' home phone records, no Derek Elston backpack, nothing else. By the time IU actually pulled the trigger, IU was in a strong enough position to get Sampson to sign away his rights for 30 cents on the dollar. Now, maybe Kravitz would argue that money was no object, and IU should have done whatever was necessary to rid itself of Sampson at the first hint of trouble, no matter the cost. But that's much easier to say with hindsight, knowing today what the investigations by IU and the NCAA revealed. More importantly, that would have been an honest and nuanced article, and Kravitz isn't big on honesty or nuance.

To be clear, I would shed no tears for Rick Greenspan. I still hope that Kravitz, Hutchens, or someone will someday be able to tell us exactly what happen in February and March 2006. But absent that, some clear-headedness would be nice, but I know I'm looking in the wrong place.

Within 75 miles of downtown Indianapolis are an NFL team, and NBA team, two Big Ten universities, another Division I-A football program, four more Division I basketball programs, and the two largest one-day sporting events in the world. The state's largest paper can trouble itself to hire only one general-interest sports columnist...and it's this guy.