Podcast on the Brink: Discussing the NCAA’s ruling

Another season is upon us, and so, too, is another controversy.

Just days before IU is set to take on Bryant in the regular-season opener, the NCAA handed down nine-game suspensions to freshmen Hanner Mosquera-Perea and Peter Jurkin for taking “impermissible benefits” from A-HOPE founder and Indiana Elite coach Mark Adams, who was deemed an IU booster.

Herald-Times beat man Dustin Dopirak and Bylaw Blog creator John Infante join hosts Matt Dollinger and Greg Rosenstein to discuss the news and take an in-depth look at the NCAA’s handling of the case and IU’s future.

Among the topics discussed on this week’s show:

· Why the nine-game suspensions occurred
· What the decision means for IU’s future relationship with Mark
Adams and the A-HOPE program
· How both Mosquera-Perea and Jurkin can pay their fines
· The likelihood of IU winning an appeal with the NCAA
· Impact on the Hoosiers’ frontcourt for the first nine games of the season
· The handling of the Mosquera-Perea/Jurkin case by IU’s compliance staff in the wake of Kelvin Sampson

So tune in and enjoy. As always, feel free to drop us a note at podcastonthebrink@gmail.com.

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Tom Crean reacts to Jurkin, Mosquera-Perea ruling

Indiana coach Tom Crean joined SiriusXM’s “Inside College Basketball” show Tuesday evening and talked to Jeff Goodman and Bruce Pearl about the suspensions of Peter Jurkin and Hanner Mosquera-Perea.

His comments are below.

On the facts of the case, specifically Mark Adams being labeled a booster for donations from 1986-1992: “The facts are pretty self-explanatory when you really read through it and that’s really what it is. Now there’s going to be an appeal process, I don’t know how you couldn’t when you get something like that.”

On the team’s depth, and the ruling’s effects on Jurkin and Mosquera-Perea: “There’s no question that that hurts us. And they are going to play for this team, there’s no question they’re contributors in this program right away. The bigger concern right now is for both Hanner and Peter individually. Because right now, they don’t really know why this is happening. And it’s really hard for us to explain it to them because I don’t really know why this is happening.

“With Hanner and Peter, every request that’s been made of them, every question that’s been thrown their way, every hypothetical that was presented, everything that was given to them — they answered it. I mean, everybody answered it … My concern is for them because as a coach, it’s one thing to to tell them how to attack the zone, how to break the press and how to improve their free-throw shooting. It’s a whole other thing when you don’t have an answer for why they have to sit games out. Really, publicly, that’s about the limit of what I feel comfortable saying.”

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One word sums up NCAA’s ruling: absurd

There have some terrible acts committed under the watch of the NCAA over the years, acts that make you question the integrity of college athletics. Reggie Bush’s name comes to mind. So does Jim Tressel’s and recent allegations of academic fraud at North Carolina.

The NCAA has seen these acts, and it has likely been disgusted by them like we all have. It wanted to make sure such violations didn’t occur again. I get that.

But the system it has in place right now is, as ESPN’s Jay Bilas put it, absurd.

The NCAA’s ruling on Tuesday that Indiana freshmen Hanner Mosquera-Perea and Peter Jurkin will be suspended for the first nine games of this season and forced to pay money to charity is the perfect example why the system is faulty [insert your own word here].

Mosquera-Perea and Jurkin did nothing wrong. They came to the United States from foreign countries with the A-HOPE Foundation in search of a future. Sure, they received some benefits from A-Hope and its founder, Mark Adams, but they had little to nothing of their own when they came here.

Plus, the NCAA had no issue with the benefits Mosquera-Perea and Jurkin received. Their problem had to do with the fact that Adams, who also served as Mosquera-Perea’s guardian, was considered an Indiana booster when he provided these benefits. A booster, despite the fact he donated only $185 over a seven-year span from 1986-1992. That money came in the form of checks written by Adams’ ex-wife for bumper stickers, in the amount of $20-$30 per year, according to Adams.

That $185 over seven years — such an incredibly small amount — is costing two innocent players a total of 18 games and nearly $1,500.

“What you’ve got is a system where people are thinking about slippery slopes and pandora’s box and all the worst things that can happen when they need to look at the individual situation and say, ‘look, this is ridiculous,'” Bilas told Inside the Hall. “Instead of thinking about messages, think about the players. These are unpaid players in a professional system. So they’re asked to pay money back? For what? Because somebody bought a car sticker? That’s absurd.

“It’s even more laughable when you consider the NCAA is going through a process right now where all they’re talking about is addressing real threats to integrity. I hardly think any reasonable person looks at Perea and Jurkin and thinks that they’re real threats to integrity.”

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What we know: Mosquera-Perea, Jurkin eligibility questions answered

The NCAA and Indiana University both issued releases on the eligibility statuses of freshmen Hanner Mosquera-Perea and Peter Jurkin earlier this evening and here’s some answers to the most pertinent questions regarding the NCAA’s ruling:

What did the NCAA rule in regards to the NCAA eligibility of Hanner Mosquera-Perea and Peter Jurkin?

The NCAA ruled that Mosquera-Perea and Jurkin, both freshmen at Indiana, must sit out nine regular season games as a result of receiving impermissible benefits from Mark Adams, who is considered a booster by the NCAA’s definition. According to the NCAA’s release, Jurkin accepted approximately $6,000 in benefits and Mosquera-Perea accepted approximately $8,000.

Who is Mark Adams and what is his relationship to Mosquera-Perea and Jurkin?

Adams, a 1980 graduate of Indiana University, is a nonscholastic basketball coach and the founder of A-HOPE. The A-HOPE foundation, a non-profit organization founded in 2004, lists on its web site that its mission is “to provide deserving student athletes a seamless process of obtaining a student visa, transportation to the United States, making sure they are acclimated to their new environment and providing them with an opportunity to receive an outstanding education.”

Both Mosquera-Perea and Jurkin were brought to the United States from Colombia and Sudan by the A-HOPE foundation. Adams coached both players in the Indiana Elite AAU basketball program and is Mosquera-Perea’s apparent guardian.

Why is Adams considered a booster by the NCAA?

From July 30, 1986 to Nov. 30, 1992, Adams made a total of seven donations totaling $185 to the Indiana Varsity Club.

Even though the NCAA does allow prospective student-athletes to receive normal and reasonable living expenses from an individual with whom the student-athlete has an established relationship (which Adams had with Mosquera-Perea and Jurkin), Adams was deemed a “booster” because of his Varsity Club donations and thus, covering the expenses for Mosquera-Perea and Jurkin was a violation of NCAA bylaw 13.2.1.

How was the NCAA alerted to these violations?

Indiana determined the violations took place on April 13, 2011 and alerted both the NCAA and Big Ten of secondary violations on April 25, 2011. It then formally submitted its finding of the facts in the case to the NCAA on June 22, 2012.

In self-reporting these violations to the NCAA, Indiana also agreed to take the following three actions.

1. An immediate payment of a $5,000 fine for failure to properly certify one former student-athlete prior to competition. That student-athlete was Tijan Jobe, who also had expenses paid for by Adams.

2. Request reinstatement for Mosquera-Perea and Jurkin via the NCAA student-athlete reinstatement process, which was a required step to certify their eligibility.

3. Suspend communication between Adams and the IU coaching staff for a one year period beginning on July 1, 2012. Additionally, Adams will not be provided complimentary admission to men’s basketball events, something typically provided to other AAU coaches.

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NCAA rules Peter Jurkin and Hanner Mosquera-Perea must sit 9 games

Early this evening, the NCAA and Indiana released separate press releases on the eligibility status of Peter Jurkin and Hanner Mosquera-Perea. The NCAA has ruled the players must each sit nine games and donate money to charity. (A link to applicable documents in this case.)

Here’s IU’s release:

Calling Indiana University’s corrective actions “substantial and meaningful,” the NCAA on October 31, 2012, ac- cepted as secondary a case IU filed with it on June 22, 2012. In short, that case involves the provision of what would generally have been permissible expenses but for the provider’s donation of $185 to the IU Varsity Club between 1986 and 1992, rendering him forever a “booster” under NCAA rules, notwithstanding that the donations were minimal in nature and occurred over 20 years ago.

Because the NCAA permits prospective student-athletes to receive normal and reasonable living expenses from an individual with whom the student-athlete has an established relationship (such as a non-scholastic athletics team coach like in this case), most of the expenses in this matter would have been generally permissible had not the benefactor been deemed a “booster” based upon those dated, nominal Varsity Club donations. Since his last donation in 1992, twenty years ago, and more than 15 years before he first provided the expenses, the benefactor has made no additional financial contributions in support of Indiana University. The benefactor, Mark Adams, fully disclosed both his Varsity Club contributions and former student-athlete expenses at the time of the first eligibility determination in 2008 for Tijan Jobe, and he has completely cooperated with this review.

As detailed in the NCAA’s October 31, 2012 decision letter:

The institution was aware that Mr. Adams and his nonprofit organization had provided support to Mr. Perea and Mr. Jurkin, but believed such support was generally permissible pursuant to an NCAA June 6, 2000, interpretation, given Mr. Adams’ status as their nonscholastic coach and Mr. Perea’s apparent legal guardian. At the time, the institution did not believe Mr. Adams to be a representative of their athletics interests. From the summer of 2010 through April 2011, during the course of planning the recruitment of Mr. Perea and Mr. Jurkin, the institution’s compliance staff worked closely with the conference office, the NCAA AMA staff and NCAA enforcement basketball focusgroup staff regarding the relationship between Mr. Adams and the institu tion’s men’s basketball program and how to ensure the permissible recruitment of prospective student-athletes with ties to Mr. Adams’ nonscholastic team.

It was not until April 2011 that the then assistant athletics director for compliance revealed for the first time that he had knowl edge that Mr. Adams previously had made donations to the institution’s booster club. After completing his degree in 1980, Mr. Adams donated nominal amounts to the institution’s booster club. In total, Mr. Adams donated $185 between 1986 and 1992. He has made no other additional financial contributions in support of the institution’s athletics program.

Despite the minimal nature of Mr. Adams’ donations, and the fact that the last donation he made was more than 15 years before he provided expenses to a prospective student-athlete who enrolled at the institution, Mr. Adams must be considered a represen tative of the institution’s athletics interests.

The NCAA Basketball Focus Group worked with Indiana University staff to review the interaction between the men’s basketball program and Adams, A-HOPE, and Indiana Elite and have found no impermissible access or additional basis to further establish Adams as a representa- tive of Indiana University’s athletics interests.

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Sports Illustrated tabs IU No. 1, Zeller on regional cover

Indiana has been selected as the preseason No. 1 by Sports Illustrated and the magazine has selected Cody Zeller for one of its four regional covers for this week’s issue.

Here’s the complete release from Sports Illustrated:

(NEW YORK – Nov. 6, 2012) – This is the season Indiana basketball fans have been waiting for. The talented and experienced Hoosiers begin the season ranked No. 1 in Sports Illustrated’s 2012 College Basketball Preview, on newsstands now. Cody Zeller, who may be the most important recruit to come to Indiana since Isiah Thomas, is set for a dominant sophomore season and is featured on Sports Illustrated’s regional cover. This marks the first time an Indiana Basketball player has been featured on the cover of SI since D.J. White in 2007.

The last five top ranked preseason teams to be featured on SI’s College Basketball preview have all at least reached the Sweet 16:

2012 – Indiana Hoosiers (TBD)
2011 – North Carolina Tar Heels (Elite 8)
2010 – Duke Blue Devils (Sweet 16)
2009 – Kansas Jayhawks (Sweet 16)
2008 – North Carolina Tar Heels (won NCAA title)
2007 – North Carolina Tar Heels (Final Four)

Indiana is one of four teams with its own cover this week, along with No. 2 Louisville, No. 3 Kansas and No. 11 Syracuse.

Crean: Abell not ‘scratching surface of how good he can be’

Depth has been cited as one of the many reasons Indiana is the preseason pick to win the national championship.

But Tom Crean has been careful in the preseason to not prematurely anoint his team as deep until he can substitute without experiencing much of a drop off in production and consistency.

A big piece to establishing that consistency from the bench is sophomore guard Remy Abell.

As a freshman, Abell played sparingly for much of the season. But he filled in and played key minutes down the stretch with Verdell Jones out in a win at Purdue. He also did so in the second round of the Big Ten Tournament and three NCAA Tournament games. Those experiences should pay off for Abell, who is expected to take on a bigger role in his second season in Bloomington.

“It was big getting more playing time, especially on a big stage like the NCAA Tournament,” Abell said earlier this fall. “That stage was huge and coming into an even bigger stage, it’s definitely going to help.”

Like he did a season ago, Crean is hopeful that he has a solid core of players that can be interchangeable as starters and, right now, Abell appears to be squarely in that mix.

“I want to be able to look at it and say ‘we’ve got seven starters.’ Remy’s one of those guys,” Crean said after Thursday’s exhibition win over Indiana Wesleyan. “If I had to look at it today, he’s one of those seven guys that I’d say, ‘he could start for this team.'”

This preseason has been a productive one for Abell as he’s been one of the most consistent perimeter players for the Hoosiers through the first two public scrimmages and the exhibition game. In the win over Indiana Wesleyan, he stuffed the stat sheet with seven points, three rebounds, three assists and a steal in 13 minutes.

“He got better throughout the game. He was not as aggressive as he needed to be,” Crean said. “He’s playing in a box, which is one of my terms for when you’re very narrow and you’re not spreading out and bringing that spacing to the game and creating havoc for your man. He got better at that.”

Getting to the basket was one of Abell’s strengths throughout high school and as a freshman, but working on his perimeter game was an offseason necessity to grow more confident offensively. Thus far, he’s appeared more confident in taking the perimeter shot and knocking it down, even with a man in his face.

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ESPN.com’s Dana O’Neil profiles the Hoosiers

ESPN.com: Indiana enjoying its return to the top

Indiana has gone from “Yeah! We’re back in the NCAA tournament” to “We’re favored to win a national title” in the span of seven months, cementing its status eight days after Kentucky captured the 2012 crown when Zeller and Christian Watford announced they’d return to college.

Both Crean and his players insist they don’t feel the weight of that pressure, that coming from the bottom up has made them appreciate the view, not gape at it.

“I know that Indiana basketball is a huge part of the daily existence for a lot of people. I know that,” Crean said. “But as a coach you can’t sit here and think, ‘I don’t want to let people down.’ That’s not pressure. Pressure is going on the road in the Big Ten with seven walk-ons and trying to convince them that they could win. And when they didn’t, doing it all over again the next day. That’s pressure.”

Around the Big Ten: Izzo unhappy with frontcourt play

With the start of the regular season just four days away, Inside the Hall takes you around the Big Ten for the latest on IU’s conference foes:

· Illinois: Sophomore guard Tracy Abrams led four players in double figures as the Illini beat West Chester 75-66 in an exhibition game Sunday afternoon. The good news is Illinois won the game. The bad news? They were outscored 46-31 in the second half. Based on first year coach John Groce’s postgame comments, it sounds like Brandon Paul may be the team’s sixth man with Abrams, Joseph Bertrand, D.J. Richardson, Sam McLaurin and Nnanna Egwu as the starters. Paul had five turnovers on Sunday.

· Iowa: The Hawkeyes also had their final exhibition tune-up on Sunday, beating Quincy University 100-54 at Carver Hawkeye Arena. Freshman guard Mike Gesell scored 18 points and Iowa forced 31 turnovers. Gesell, along with Aaron White, Adam Woodbury, Zach McCabe and Roy Devyn Marble, started for Fran McCaffery. Afterward, McCaffery said the Hawkeyes will likely stick with that lineup to begin the season which means Eric May, Melsahn Basabe and Josh Oglesby will all come off the bench.

· Michigan: The big news coming out of Ann Arbor last week was the suspension of sophomore guard Trey Burke for the team’s first exhibition game against Northern Michigan. The Wolverines rolled without Burke in the lineup as the heralded freshman class played 99 minutes and guard Spike Albrecht had 16 points. Michigan’s final exhibition game is tonight against Saginaw Valley State and Burke is expected to return.

· Michigan State: Tom Izzo was none too pleased following the Spartans’ 62-49 exhibition win over St. Cloud State on Friday night. The major problem right now for Michigan State appears to be finding the right frontcourt combination and it appears that Derrick Nix and Adreian Payne will not play much together to start the season. Sophomore Branden Dawson also drew some criticism from Izzo, according to this update from MLive.com.

· Minnesota: Like Michigan, the Golden Gophers will conclude their exhibition schedule tonight. In the team’s first exhibition, Tubby Smith went with the same starting lineup he used last season. How long that lineup sticks, however, is up for debate as Trevor Mbakwe and Mo Walker are both back from knee injuries. Minnesota also made the final eight for the No. 1 player in the 2014 class, point guard Tyus Jones, who is from nearby Apple Valley.

· Nebraska: The Tim Miles era has yet to officially get underway in Lincoln as the Cornhuskers have yet to play an exhibition game and won’t do so until Wednesday night when they host Midland University. The first KenPom ratings had Nebraska all the way down at No. 216 nationally as every other team in the league was ranked in the top 90.

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Troy Williams enjoying attention following IU commitment

Since his verbal commitment to Indiana last Sunday afternoon, Troy Williams says he has been feeling the love from Indiana fans on Twitter.

“It’s like non-stop hype,” Williams told Inside the Hall via text on Sunday. “I love it though. It means they’re really a basketball state and I like that.”

It’s the “hype” surrounding the IU basketball program that convinced Williams to commit to play for the Hoosiers next season. Williams said that before he visited for Hoosier Hysteria on Oct. 19, IU was only a member of his top three (with North Carolina and Louisville).

“But that had a lot of impact on me after that,” Williams said.

Ultimately, though, Williams said it was his relationship with Tom Crean that pushed IU above the other suitors. Even though the Hoosiers didn’t start recruiting Williams until July, Crean managed to make a strong impact in a short time.

“I got along with him better than I did with [North Carolina] coach Roy [Williams],” he said. “Plus, he didn’t just tell me what I was good at but also what I can improve on and more.”

Williams has had a strong start to his senior season for Oak Hill Academy, scoring 21, 28 and 18 points in his first three games. But the 6-foot-7 forward knows there are areas in which he must improve before he gets to the collegiate level.

“Shooting and defense,” Williams said. “That’s the two I wanna improve on.”

Williams also said he has a strong relationship with 2013 target Noah Vonleh, the 8th-ranked player in the class, according to ESPN.com.

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