Indiana’s appeal of the nine-game suspensions levied to Peter Jurkin and Hanner Perea will argue against what it perceives as the NCAA’s stiff application of its bylaws in this particular case.
The official term for the lengths of time each player must sit qualifies them as “withheld from competition.” NCAA’s reasoning in this case is that Mark Adams, who served as the director of the A-HOPE program both players participated in and was both players’ AAU coach, is considered a booster, according to the association’s rules. Adams made contributions totaling $185 to IU’s Varsity Club between 1986-92, technically qualifying him as a booster.
InsideIndiana.com understands that IU does not dispute Adams’ booster status. However, Indiana will argue in its appeal that nine games is too stiff of a penalty for such a nominal application of rules regarding boosters, and that while department officials are not altogether hopeful of the appeal’s success, they feel the punishment harsh enough to at least warrant making the case.
There are actually two punishments involved in the NCAA’s ruling that deal directly with Jurkin and Perea, respectively. An NCAA release spells out the judgment handed to each player:
While in high school, Jurkin and Perea accepted approximately $6,000 and $8,000, respectively, in impermissible benefits from an Indiana University booster. These benefits included plane tickets, meals, housing, a laptop, cell phone and clothing. Jurkin will be required to repay $250 to a charity of his choice. Perea must repay approximately $1,590 to charity. In determining the amount of repayment, the staff considered the mitigation presented by the university.
The term “mitigation” will be key to Indiana’s argument.
It means the NCAA took into account the total amount of money Adams donated, with a nod to the fact that while he is a booster under the letter of the law, his involvement with the Varsity Club in that capacity was minimal at best, and his donations came 20-plus years ago. He is essentially just a booster-in-name-only.
That consideration led the NCAA to require each player repay only a fraction of the total monetary amount of impermissible benefits received. Indiana’s argument will be that the NCAA, by its own reasoning, should then not have been so heavy-handed in the total number of games each player had to sit.
According to a department release handed to media Tuesday night, 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,” who was also part of the A-HOPE program. Indiana is being fined $5,000 for allowing Jobe to play without being properly certified (i.e. going through the same process Jurkin and Perea now have, with an examination of Adams’ booster status), and the department does not dispute that penalty, which will be paid out of the general budget, according to a department source.
A separate source acknowledged that Indiana is not optimistic about the likelihood of the appeal, but told InsideIndiana.com that after consideration, IU feels it should make its case, particularly on behalf of the student-athletes involved.
Whenever the appeal process concludes, and whatever the result, the case will officially be closed forever. Indiana does not expect the NCAA to hand down any further punishment because of its appeal.