INDIANAPOLIS - Indiana coach Kelvin Sampson was reprimanded Tuesday by the National Association of Basketball Coaches over recruiting violations during his tenure at Oklahoma, becoming the first person to be punished by the group.
Sampson's membership was placed on probation for three years. During that time, Sampson - a former member of the group's board of directors - is prohibited from serving in an official capacity with the organization, the Kansas City, Mo.,-based NABC announced Tuesday.
He is also ineligible for district and national coach of the year awards and will lose his Final Four ticket privileges.
Sampson said he respected the group's decision.
Reggie Minton, the group's deputy executive director, said it was embarrassing that a former board member was the first coach penalized by the ethics committee, which was created in 2003.
"It's not something any of us are happy about,'' he said. "There's no joy in Mudville. What the coaches have decided and the ethics committee has decided is that we're all going to be held accountable.''
The decision comes nearly three months after the NCAA banned Sampson from calling recruits or making off-campus visits until next May because of excessive phone calls to recruits. The NCAA ruled Sampson and his assistants at Oklahoma made 577 extra phone calls to 17 recruits between 2000 and 2004.
Sampson has acknowledged making mistakes and said that he had learned a valuable lesson.
"I hope that this reinforces to other coaches the importance of every aspect of NCAA compliance,'' Sampson said Tuesday in a written statement. "I have tremendous respect and appreciation for the NABC, and I look forward to moving on to a great future here at Indiana.''
Minton, who is the ethics committee chairman, said the punishment fell short of the coaches group's harshest sanction - expulsion from the organization - but was more severe than its lightest penalty, a private reprimand.
The NCAA ruled Sampson deliberately broke the recruiting rules and made 233 of the improper calls himself. Sampson also has been barred from receiving performance bonuses next season.
He is still permitted to e-mail and text message recruits, receive calls from prospects and meet with recruits and their families on campus.
In the past week, Sampson received his first two recruiting commitments since the NCAA decision. Brandon McGee, a 6-foot-6 forward from Chicago's Crane Technical High School, gave Indiana an oral commitment last week. On Monday, Jamarcus Ellis, a 6-5 forward from Chicago who played last season for Chipola Community College in Florida, said he would sign with the Hoosiers for the 2007-08 season.
Minton said the group's ethics committee is prepared to hand out more sanctions when coaches are found to have violated major NCAA rules.
"I think the committee is saying to its membership that we take very seriously our code of ethics and your responsibility is to adhere to the integrity of the game,'' Minton said. "Coaches obviously are in a position of trust. Obviously, mistakes are made.''