Friday, November 23, 2012

Win The Bleeping Bucket; IU Loses Basketball Appeal

Indiana can win the Old Oaken Bucket, ruin Purdue’s postseason plans and perhaps end Danny Hope’s coaching run.

Yeah, a lot could happen today at Ross-Ade Stadium, and it’s going to come down to the defense.

We know. Take a deep breath.

First, the Hoosiers are 4-7 and, for the most part, have been very competitive. You can see the improvement and potential.

Second, Purdue is one of the nation’s most under-achieving teams in the country. This was a group that nearly beat, on the road, the only two remaining undefeated teams in the country, Notre Dame and Ohio State. It was projected as a Big Ten title contender.

Instead, it collapsed by losing its first five Big Ten games, four by blowout.

Third, IU is going to score on Purdue. It’s fast-paced offense will dictate if, and this is a big if, it can control the Boilers’ talented but beat up defensive front.

Sure, the offense has bogged down the last couple of games against Wisconsin and Penn State. The running game has all but disappeared. That would be bad news for most quarterbacks, let alone the backups (Cam Coffman and Nate Sudfeld) IU is using after starter Tre Roberson’s season-ending broken leg.

Still, the Hoosiers have a bunch of play-making receivers and both Coffman and Sudfeld have made significant impact, which is why IU leads the Big Ten in passing.

Fourth, the defense has to step up. There’s no way to sugarcoat that. IU gave up 62 points to Wisconsin (along with a mind-boggling 550 rushing yards and 605 overall) and then 45 to Penn State (giving up 393 passing yards).

In other words, the Hoosiers can’t stop anything. If they can’t shut down the run and make Purdue one dimensional, well, maybe they can win a 55-50 shootout.


The bottom line is this is a winnable game. IU has to be aggressive, consistent, physical and fundamentally sound. It has to make big plays and not allow them.

The Hoosiers don’t need a miracle at Ross-Ade Stadium. They just to play to their potential.

Or, to put it more bluntly, win the bleeping Bucket.


So now we know -– Hanner Perea and Peter Jurkin won’t make their IU basketball debuts until the Dec. 15 Crossroads Classic game with Butler at Indianapolis’ Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

The NCAA appeals committee denied IU’s appeal to reduce the nine-game suspension. The committee announced its decision on Friday.

The committee specified the involvement of Mark Adams, a highly successful AAU coach (Indiana Elite) and the founder of A-HOPE, a charitable organization that helps bring student athletes from foreign countries to the United States. Adams is also an IU grad who, from 1986-92, contributed $185 to the IU Varsity Club for bumper stickers for his former wife’s car.

In NCAA eyes, those donations made him a booster, and boosters cannot provide any benefits to recruits.

While Adams never personally gave any benefits to Perea and Jurkin, A-HOPE did -- about $8,000 for Perea and $6,000 for Jurkin for travel and personal expenses, and even a laptop. Perea and Jurkin also stayed with Adams, who lives in Bloomington, over multiple summers.

All this was at first ruled permissible, then changed to impermissible when Adams’ Varsity Club donations were discovered.

The committee targeted what it called Adams’ “unique access and continuous involvement with the men’s basketball program.”

Over the years A-HOPE has provided financial assistance to a number of players who wound up playing at U.S. colleges, including Emmanuel Negedu (Tennessee), Idong Ibok (Michigan State), Alfred Aboya (UCLA) and Obij Aget (Northwestern).

IU officials aren’t happy about the ruling –- they were hoping Perea and Jurkin would be eligible for Sunday’s home game against Ball State -– but will accept it.

Specifically, athletic director Fred Glass said in a statement officials are “disappointed with the denial” and are “more disappointed in the case summary as communicated by the NCAA public relations staff,” but “We accept this as the NCAA’s final word on the case, and we will have no further comment on the matter.”

Here's the official statement in its entirety:

“Earlier today, we received notice that our appeal for a reduction in the withholding penalties for Hanner Perea and Peter Jurkin was denied.  While we are disappointed with the denial, we are even more disappointed in the case summary as communicated by the NCAA public relations staff.  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.”

Coach Tom Crean didn’t comment on the decision, but he did offer a few tweets on the subject.

For instance:

"The attitude, humble spirit, personalities and ability to deal with adversity that Hanner and Peter have astounds me daily. 2 special people.”

"Every person that has helped bring this program back is stronger for it. Nothing ever easy or simple. Hanner and Peter will be the same way.”

"Neither Hanner or Peter have had a easy or entitled life. They work, learn and keep making others better because of who they are."

The bottom line is the NCAA didn’t like Adams’ link to the program, found an opening (the 20-year-old $185 donation) and took advantage of it. If there are sins here, Perea and Jurkin didn’t commit them, but they are paying the price.

Of course, that’s true in so many NCAA sanctions. Look at what happened to IU after the Kelvin Sampson debacle or Penn State with the Jerry Sandusky scandal.

In the end, perception is truth, and the NCAA has the final word, Perea and Jurkin have the final action. They will have their chance to make significant impacts on a potential national championship team. A nine-game suspension is unfortunate, but not cataclysmic (see Maurice Creek for true adversity).

That’s all that matters.

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