Indiana Will Open the Season Without Two Freshmen AvailablePosted by jnowak on November 7th, 2012
No. 1 will start the year down two. As silly as the rule may be, the top-ranked Hoosiers will open their regular season on Friday without heralded freshmen Hanner Mosquera-Perea and Peter Jurkin. The two have been suspended by the NCAA for the first nine games of the year after it was discovered that their former AAU coach, Mark Adams, provided them with thousands of dollars in plane tickets, meals, housing and personal items. The NCAA said in a statement that the two players were indeed allowed to accept those benefits from Adams’ non-profit organization that was formed to help international players obtain travel documents and to help cover costs to travel to the U.S (Mosquera-Perea is a native of Colombia, and Jurkin the Sudan). But Adams was considered an Indiana booster at the time, because he donated $185 to the school from 1986-92. Boosters can not provide benefits to players. Mosquera-Perea must pay back $1,590 and Jurkin will have to repay $250 (both to a charity of their choice), according to the Associated Press.
The two freshmen — part of Tom Crean’s No. 5-ranked class, according to Rivals.com — were expected to contribute immediately, although unlikely to start. Mosquera-Perea was Rivals’ No. 43 overall recruit in this year’s class, and Jurkin was unranked. The latter scored four points in 11 minutes in the Hoosiers’ exhibition win against Indiana-Wesleyan on November 1, while Mosquera-Perea was in uniform but did not play due to left foot injury that has been bothering him for most of the summer and fall.
Tom Crean was asked about the situation following the exhibition victory and said this: “What I can say about that is that we go through a lot in a program,” he told Insidethehall.com. “There’s situations that are always going to arise and every one of them has got a process to it. And we’re in the middle of that process. We just are. That’s the extent of it. They’re two great kids that are trying to get better every day and it’s not like it’s anything that we’re dealing with that just came up. It’s been a process for some time. And that’s really where we’re at with it.”
He did not comment on the AP’s story Wednesday, but athletic director Fred Glass released a statement that read, “This matter was discovered internally and promptly reported to the NCAA. At the NCAA’s direction, we conducted an extensive and thorough review in cooperation and consultation with the NCAA Basketball Focus Group. While I am very disappointed with these circumstances, I am very pleased with the way we have responded and appreciative of the NCAA’s professional guidance and assistance. I would also like to thank Mark Adams for his forthright candor and cooperation in this matter.”
Cheers to Indiana for getting ahead of this problem and taking care of it before it turns into a larger issue. These are valuable pieces to a talented and deep team, but Indiana shouldn’t have much problem moving on without them for the first nine games (the pair can still practice, which is of great value to the young players). Mosquera-Perea and Jurkin will miss games against Georgia, UCLA or Georgetown (both part of the Legends Classic) and a marquee showdown against North Carolina in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge but will be able to return December 15 for an in-state rivalry game against Butler in Indianapolis.
It’s a shame that the Hoosiers will be without two promising young players to start the season, but it seems more silly that such a rule is written this way. It’s hard to imagine that Adams’ contributions to Indiana in the 1980s were at all linked to the recruitment of players who were born well after he donated that money and recruited decades later. Nonetheless, the rule is the rule and schools must adhere to it. Now it’s a matter of how Indiana presses on.