NCAA denies IU appeal
Nov 23, 2012 (Herald-Times - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Indiana freshman forwards Hanner Mosquera-Perea and Peter Jurkin learned Friday that they lost their appeal to the NCAA to have their nine-game suspensions for taking impermissible benefits reduced. The two players will remain shelved until the Hoosiers' Dec. 15 matchup against Butler in the Crossroads Classic in Indianapolis.
The NCAA announced before the season opener that the Mosquera-Perea and Jurkin had been suspended for taking $8,000 and $6,000 respectively in impermissible benefits from Mark Adams, their coach with the Indiana Elite summer travel program and the founder of the Bloomington-based A-HOPE (African Hoop Opportunities Providing an Education) program.
The benefits were initially thought to be permissible, because, by NCAA rule, non-scholastic coaches are permitted to provide certain expenses to their players, and also because Adams became Mosquera-Perea's legal guardian. Most of the benefits were for basic living expenses accrued through their move to the United States from Colombia (Mosquera-Perea) and the South Sudan (Jurkin). The A-HOPE Foundation provided them with money for travel, housing, food and educational expenses including a laptop. Adams provided Mosquera-Perea with additional benefits such as a cell phone, cell phone plan, and a used iPod, but these were permissible because of Adams' guardianship. Adams had informed Indiana and the NCAA of all of the benefits the A-HOPE players received and was told they were permissible.
However, Adams disclosed to an IU compliance official in 2008 that he donated $185 to the IU Varsity Club from 1986-1992. By the NCAA's definition any person who gives any amount of money to an athletic department because a representative of that school's athletic interests -- or "booster" -- forever. That compliance official did not further that information when Indiana was evaluating the eligibility of former center Tijan Jobe, also a product of the A-HOPE foundation, and the fact that Jobe's eligibility was not properly certified was considered a secondary violation of NCAA rules. Because Adams is a booster, it was also a violation that he signed financial aid documents for both Jobe and former IU center Guy-Marc Michel.
The compliance official finally informed others of Adams' donations in 2011 after Mosquera-Perea and Jurkin had verbally committed to the Hoosiers, and at that time, Indiana self-reported the violation and began the process of reinstating the eligibility of the two incoming players.
The NCAA announced before the Hoosiers' Nov. 9 season opener against Bryant that it had accepted most of Indiana's self-imposed punishments and that Mosquera-Perea and Jurkin would serve nine-game suspensions. Indiana appealed the length of the suspensions and had a hearing with the NCAA appeals committee on Tuesday. The NCAA issued its ruling on the appeal Friday and said that Adams' involvement with the program was a factor in the decision.
"While a $185 donation to the university may have triggered the booster's status, recent interactions reinforce his unique access and continuous involvement with the men's basketball program," the NCAA said in a statement on its website. "Specifically, he signed financial aid documents required for two former Indiana University basketball student-athletes in 2008 and 2010. Further, Jurkin and Perea lived with the booster in Bloomington, Ind., during multiple summers. Indiana University also provided the booster, who is a non-scholastic coach, with complimentary men's basketball tickets. The booster had enough access to the program that the university has suspended the relationship until July 1, 2013 as a corrective response."
The mention of the tickets is curious, because it is permissible for non-scholastic coaches and boosters to be provided free tickets by the athletics department. And all of Adams' other involvements were considered and declared permissible by the NCAA before Indiana and the NCAA became aware of Adams' donations.
In a statement, Indiana athletic director Fred Glass said he was unsettled by the mention of the tickets and seemingly immaterial information as part of the case.
"While we are disappointed with the denial, we are even more disappointed in the case summary as communicated by the NCAA public relations staff," Glass said in the statement. "This case continues to be about $185 in Varsity Club contributions over 20 years ago, notwithstanding the NCAA National Office's troubling references to activities that are permissible or would have been permissible but for the minor donations. Having said that, we accept this as the NCAA's final word on the case, and we will have no further comment on the matter."
Adams was also dismayed by the ruling and said he believed it proved that the NCAA was hoping to find a much larger violation.
"It's just that the NCAA, they've tried to find something much worse, and they couldn't," Adams said. "If it wasn't for the $185 20 years ago, they wouldn't have anything. They just couldn't deal with it, so they jumped on this. I don't know. I hope they sleep better at night. They punished two kids over something so trivial. It's ridiculous."
Adams said he didn't understand the mention of the tickets either.
"It just shows you they are trying to come up with something," Adams said. "I've been to fewer games than a lot of AAU coaches and I live right here. It's on record how many games I went to. They can look and see other AAU coaches that go to more games. I don't know. It's clear they were wanting to find something and they couldn't find anything and they just took this and really tried to punish somebody. Who they punished is two innocent kids. It's just ridiculous really."
The 6-foot-8 Mosquera-Perea and 7-foot Jurkin have already served five games of their nine-game suspensions. Though their losses combined with the knee injury suffered by senior forward Derek Elston have depleted the teams' front court depth, the No. 1 Hoosiers are 5-0 and are coming off a championship at the Legends Classic in Brooklyn, N.Y.
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