Hoosier Headlines for Friday, May 27, 2011: tempest in a teapot edition.

Well, the Indiana Elite A-HOPE issue continues to get a bit of press, although there hasn't been the explosion that I expected.  Here are some of the highlights:

More detailed look at story on Adams, A-HOPE and Indiana | Recruiting Central blog | The Indianapolis Star
I’m going to try to walk the line between reporting and analysis here, which can sometimes be a dangerous tightrope. But I think it in this case, it might be necessary to flesh out the important details of the story. Let’s take it piece by piece.  Kyle Neddenriep does a nice job breaking down the issues here. 

ESPN.com story: IU recruit Perea received illegal benefits | The Indianapolis Star
Mike Barnett, who is on Indiana Elite's board of directors, said the program does have a strong relationship with IU, as well as other college programs. On last year's rosters, Purdue and Butler each had four players on scholarship who came from the Indiana Elite program, while IU had three Indiana Elite players on scholarship and two walk-ons.

A deeper look at ESPN’s A-HOPE investigation | Inside the Hall
But what is not given is any context on the names besides Perea or Peter Jurkin. Cody Zeller’s decision was completely independent of A-HOPE or Indiana Elite. Ron Patterson never played a game for Mark Adams until this spring and is no longer playing for him as he moved back to Indiana Elite One. Jeremy Hollowell’s first game with Indiana Elite was in April of 2011 after he’d already verbally committed to IU. And Collin Hartman is no longer with the Indiana Elite program. While Fish’s statement was factual, to infer that Adams, Indiana Elite or A-HOPE were primary influences is taking a giant leap.  I definitely recommend that you read Alex's entire post.  He also takes on another thing I didn't mention, the accompanying artwork that showed Crean in a sinister light.  Shoddy and sensationalist all around.

Did Indiana basketball recruit get illegal benefits? | The News-Sentinel - Fort Wayne IN
Adams said in the story that he did provide Perea, a 6-9 forward, with those items, but that he had talked to the NCAA and IU’s compliance staff about his relationship with Perea and the A-HOPE Foundation. He said he’s used much of his own money to support the foundation, and does it to help disadvantaged African athletes.

Is Indiana Skirting The Edge Again? - ...But this is Indiana! - SB Nation Indiana
These relationships are questionable at best and will possibly draw the eye of the NCAA toward Bloomington once again. Those within the program, such as Tom Crean himself, accuse outsiders of trying to keep the program down. Well, when you've already paid dearly for the sins of one departed coach why would be involved with anything even remotely questionable?

"Questionable at best"?  I don't think there's any support in the article or anywhere else for that.  And frankly, I'm getting pretty sick of taking grief about Kelvin Sampson.  Yes, IU had a stupid president and a clueless trustee who decided it was a good idea to hire a coach under NCAA investigation, and shoved him down the throat of an athletic director who didn't have him as a first choice.  I didn't get a vote, and neither did any other IU fan.  The NCAA investigation of Sampson's behavior at IU was triggered by IU's own compliance department.  When the NCAA's report came down, IU fired him as immediately as it could under his contract, even with the knowledge that such a move probably would sink what was shaping up as IU's best season in 15 years.  And again, the offenses committed by Sampson related to phone calls.  It was a big deal, he never should have been hired, and he richly deserved to be fired.  I'm not trying to minimize it.  But I think people look at the current state of IU's program and think that the program is where it is because the NCAA hammered IU for epically awful violations.  That's not the case.  The reason that IU's program is in such bad shape is because many of the malcontents that Sampson recruited could not hold themselves together academically or behaviorally after he left.  The sanctions weren't that bad, and if Crean had been able to lean on Armon Bassett, Jamarcus Ellis, Jordan Crawford (who left in good standing, after everyone else got canned), Deandre Thomas, etc., things would have been much different. Again, Sampson was an awful fit, and probably would have been an awful fit even if he didn't have the NCAA issue.

The bottom line, however, is that no one who played a role in the Sampson hiring is around today.  Different president, different athletic director, no influence from rogue trustees.  The idea that IU has to essentially withdraw from the real world of recruiting because we once hired a guy who couldn't follow the rules, and dispatched him less than two years later, is nonsense.  It's especially rich to be scolded by Purdue fans on this point.  It's easy to forget, but some bad stuff happened under Gene Keady's watch at Purdue.  Certainly, it's true that Keady himself was not implicated in the worst of it, which was a sham loan orchestrated by a Purdue booster/loan officer and Purdue assistant Frank Kendrick.  But Keady was implicated in some of it, including improper phone calls to a recruit who wasn't old enough to be called by coaches.  Gene weathered the storm, the court at Mackey Arena is named after him, he's considered an elder statesman in college basketball, and no one remembers the scandal for whatever reason.  Painter, of course, played for Keady and Kendrick.  Does that make him suspect?  Of course not!  There's no indication that Painter skirts NCAA rules.  But his connection to those guys is stronger than the connection between the current IU regime and the Herbert/Greenspan/Sampson regime. 

A final point, which I did not discuss yesterday, was the passage in which Fish described Crean as "wondering aloud" if Purdue or Baylor was behind this.  Given the tone of the article, I would be very interested to see what Crean actually said instead of the paraphrase by an author with an obvious agenda.  Still, to the extent Crean mentioned Purdue on his own, it was a bad idea.  I have no idea, and Purdue fans have no idea, what Crean knows or had heard on the recruiting trail about what Purdue might be saying about him and IU.  I understand that Purdue fans have a nearly Christlike impression of their beloved Matty Painter, but it's at least possible that Crean has some basis to suspect Purdue.  Frankly, however, I don't care if he has them on tape.  Crean is 0-5 against Purdue, with only one game being particularly close, so it simply looks like sour grapes.  We don't know exactly what he said, but he should avoid it, particularly before we become more competitive with the Boilermakers.

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