The NCAA on Friday afternoon responded to Inside Indiana’s request for general comment on the allegations made in an ESPN article published yesterday.
The story alleged that Indiana-bound 2012 forward Hanner Perea had received potentially impermissible benefits from Indiana Elite coach and A-HOPE founder Mark Adams. While Adams readily admitted in the piece that he did supply Perea with at least some of the items, he denied that doing so had broken any rules.
The NCAA has a long-standing policy of not commenting on potential or ongoing investigations under any circumstance. However, the organization did share a general comment with Inside Indiana, related to a specific passage in the ESPN.com story. That passage is below.
"A-HOPE paid for Perea's round-trips to Bogotá, Colombia, last summer and this past Christmas -- the latter not long after he verbally committed to the Hoosiers in October,” the story reads. “Mark Adams also has provided Perea a cell phone and pays the bill, gave him a used iPod and bought a $400 laptop that Perea shares with another A-HOPE player. Such treatment potentially violates NCAA extra benefits bylaws and thus could impact Perea's initial NCAA eligibility at Indiana."
The NCAA’s response, sent to Inside Indiana by Stacey Osburn, associate director of public and media relations, is as follows:
“In an effort to keep the recruiting process free from undue influence, the intent of men’s basketball recruiting rules are to prohibit the provision of money, employment or benefits to prospects or those associated with prospects.
“NCAA rules also state that student-athletes cannot receive preferential treatment due to their athletics reputation. When determining whether certain benefits are violations of these rules, schools and the NCAA must consider a number of factors. These include whether the relationship developed as a result of the young person’s athletic participation, whether the relationship and benefits predate the young person’s status as a prospective student-athlete, among others.”
Such benefits could constitute a violation of NCAA bylaws. Both Mark Adams and Indiana Elite co-founder Mike Barnett have stringently denied anything untoward, both in the ESPN article and in interviews since.
Speaking to the Bloomington Herald-Times, Adams said that he has had meetings in the past with Indiana’s compliance department and the NCAA, both of which indicated they were satisfied that what he was providing to prospects in the A-HOPE program was alright.
“They both told me everything I’m doing is fine,” Adams told the Herald-Times, “and there’s nothing that even remotely pertains to extra benefits.”
Indiana cannot comment on the situation, because Perea has not signed a letter of intent.
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