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When you sell your soul to the devil...
BallHype: hype it up! Thursday, February 14, 2008
You've got to feel bad for the Indiana basketball program. Penn State fans have never been accused of, or even mentioned in the same breath as any violations minor or major, but Indiana basketball deserves so much better. When they forced Mike Davis out the door in 2006, Indiana basically sold their soul to the devil. Mike Davis was a man of integrity and character but in the end, those did not translate into wins and Hoosier nation had enough of mediocrity.

Instead of promoting from within the program, the Hoosiers were desperate for a man to bring quick success to a once proud program. They took a risk in hiring Kelvin Sampson from Oklahoma where he guided the Sooner program to eight 20-win seasons and 10 NCAA appearances. Kelvin Sampson had no ties to the tradition rich Hoosier basketball program, and his hire screamed desperation by Indiana University. Unfortunately Kelvin Sampson was already in trouble with the NCAA for breaking the rules during his time at Oklahoma. By hiring Sampson, Indiana was clearly more desperate than they should have been.

Now they are suffering the consequences. Kelvin Sampson is a serial rule breaker and can't weasel his way out of this one. I take no pleasure in the beaten state of the Hoosier program, but I do feel a 'I told you so' is on order. I was not happy with the way they forced out Mike Davis simply because he wasn't winning as much. Coincidently his forced resignation came the day after losing at Penn State in 2006, giving the impression that it was such a low point in Indiana basketball that he could no longer continue coaching.

Penn State's Ed DeChellis has never been associated with winning, but he will never be accused of any NCAA violations during his tenure here simply because he represents the Penn State way. Joe Paterno might not be winning like he used to, but he too will never be accused of any violations as long as he is the head of the football program.

So the question now, is it worth the risk to go after a shady character of a coach simply for the wins and risk embarrassing your athletic program or continue to accept mediocrity as long as integrity is involved? Indiana clearly made its choice of the former by hiring Kelvin Sanctions from Oklahoma when they could have gone with a safer choice. But Kelvin Sampson was a winner, his record guaranteed it and Indiana was so starved for wins that nothing else could stand in its way. With Kelvin Sampson's firing imminent, where does Indiana go from here?

More importantly, with all the talk about Joe Paterno's retirement, how does Penn State learn from this Indiana fiasco. There is no doubt Penn State is starved for another title shot, any title shot, but are we as a fan willing to go to the depths of hell and give away our soul simply for a coach who will do everything at any cost to get us back there? Or do we stick to tradition and promote from within, most likely Galen Hall or Tom Bradley. Both are exceptional assistant coaches, but if we can't get to a title game with them already on the staff, what are the odds we will once they take over? Its time for Penn State to make their decision, and lets hope we don't pull an Indiana on this one.
posted by Nittany White Out @ 9:56 PM  
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