Hanner Mosquera-Perea and Peter Jurkin will be out for nine games because they took money from their AAU coach, Mark Adams. Adams is the found of A-Hope, a non-profit organization that helps support athletes from foreign countries.
Adams was once a donor to IU. Between 1986-92, Adams, or more specifically his ex-wife, gave $185 to IU to get IU Alumni stickers. This technically classifies Adams as a donor, and in the eyes of the NCAA, once a donor, always a donor. This all occurred before Perea and Jurkin were born.
Perea and Jurkin both took thousands of dollars in gifts via the A-Hope foundation. This was for things like laptops, housing, plane tickets to visit family, and money for food since both of these young men had nothing when they came here. Further confusing the issue is that Adams is Perea's legal guardian.
Simply put, the NCAA is dumb.
They are punishing players for something that happened before they were born, and for no reason other than they believe that this may be a threat to the integrity of the game.
IU and Adams did their due diligence in self reporting the issue and attempting to get a firm answer from the NCAA on the situation before it was an issue. Adams even gave the NCAA bank statements from the time in question and the NCAA did not give him or IU a firm answer.
Here is the official statement from the NCAA on Adams status as a donor:
''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 representative of the institution's athletics interests.''
The benefits that the two players received would have been completely legal, save for the fact that Adams is technically a donor.
Prior to the ruling, IU had already self-imposed a $5,000 fine for failing to properly certify their players.
This sort of case is unprecedented. Coach Tom Crean was on the Dan Dakich radio broadcast this afternoon and seemed to be a loss for words.
"We were shocked by the severity of the punishment," Crean said. "This doesn't follow any precendent that we could find. It simply hasn't happened before."
The NCAA is clearly applying the letter of the law rather than actually looking at the facts and realizing that this case is absurd.
"These two player (Perea and Jurkin) have been model citizens," Crean said. "Their work ethic, academics have both been superb. They have handled all of this very well, answered all the questions. And you still can't explain what is happening to them because you don't know, and that's what makes this so frustrating."
This is an unreasonable penalty for two players who haven't done anything wrong. The NCAA has been issuing a number of questionable rulings in the past few years as they struggle to deal with the perceived problems in college athletics.
Adams being labeled a "donor" is also laughable. He gave roughly $30 a year just to be a member of the IU Alumni club and get his bumper sticker. It's not like Adams is Bill Cook and donated enough to have his name plastered on a practice facility. Any reasonable person should look at this and dismiss any further punishments.
IU is already filing an appeal for the nine game suspension. We'll have more as this story develops, but for now it's safe to count out Jurkin and Perea for the season opener Friday.
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