It was announced earlier this evening that two freshman of the Indiana basketball team, Hanner Mosquera-Perera and Peter Jurkin, have received suspensions by the NCAA after receiving impermissible benefits from a person the NCAA determined to be a Hoosiers booster and must now both sit out 9 games to start the season.
Mosquera-Perera and Jurkin must also pay $1,590 and $250 respectively to charity due to the benefits they received. According to reports the two received $14,000 worth of benefits from their former AAU coach, Mike Adams, which according to reports included things like cell phones, laptops, clothing and plane tickets.
Now, normally that is more than enough to get these two in some hot water with the NCAA and not exactly a newsworthy event, but as they say - the devil is in the details. According to some great work by Terry Hutchens of the Indianapolis Star things aren't quite that cut and dry.
It turns out that the only reason the kids are in any sort of trouble is because of something that happened before these students were born, let alone were inside the United States. It turns out Adams is considered a booster for Indiana athletics because he donated $185 to Hoosiers athletics over a period of 6 years (18986-92).
Because of those donations Adams' foundation he runs can not give out money to players that are being recruited or signed by Indiana.
No, seriously, these kids are being suspended for 9 games by the NCAA because of $185 worth of donations that happened over 20 years ago and have never happened in the players lifetimes.
To be certain, I'm all for getting rid of corruption in the shady world of boosters and AAU coaches and I will say that this Adams guy does seem a bit of a shady character himself, but at what point in time do you stop becoming a booster for a certain university?
I hate to be the cliche guy, but I guess it's true when folks tell you that what you do while young follows you around for the rest of your life.
Just once I'd love to have the NCAA give you, the AD's, and folks like me a straight explanation on this. Do you stop becoming a booster after 20 years, 50 years, or never, ever, EVER after you stop donating to the athletic department?
It's one thing to say this guy was giving them benefits while coaching them and donating money to Indiana athletics at the same time. I'd stand behind suspending the players and more for something like that, but that's not even close to what happened in this case.
The biggest questions left unanswered are what are Mike Adams' motivations? Is he truly a caring individual looking to help basketball players from foreign countries succeed in making their American dream come true or is he just another shady AAU coach who is funneling players like a pipeline to a university he has had a relationship with?
To me it's a vast stretch to say that when Adams handed over that $20 check to the Indiana athletics program 20 years ago he knew he'd be the AAU coach of three players capable of earning scholarships to Indiana University and that he was going to funnel those players to the Hoosiers while also trying to adopt one and give benefits to two others.
What's next, are you also going to tell me that 9/11 was an inside job?
Seriously, that's about as big of a stretch as the scenario the NCAA is basically telling us happened. Perhaps next they'll extend the term booster to the children of people who went to games and gave money to a 50/50 raffle that helped the booster clubs of schools back in the day too.
Get a grip NCAA and let these kids play. If you find that the actual benefits the coach was giving them were illegal then by all means stand by your decision, but punishing these two for something they had nothing to do with and zero knowledge of is completely ludicrous.