I like Boiled Sports. I really do. Those guys are funny, and sometimes I laugh even when IU is the target. BS is a magical place, a place where Helms championships are better than NCAA championships, where Mike Davis was a good young coach who failed only because IU fans are uniformly racist, where IU is Indiana's hick school. Still, when the fantasy moves out of the past and into current events, I feel the need to comment. Today, the BS boys make the obvious leap from the recent talent glut at Bloomington South to...well, Tom Crean is paying players, basically.
For those who aren't up to speed, Bloomington South, led by incoming IU freshman Jordan Hulls, Indiana's Mr. Basketball, won the 4A state championship this season. In recent weeks, a couple of high profile transfers have enrolled at South. One, Matt Carlino, is an IU commit from Arizona who will be a junior in high school next year. The other, TJ Bell, is coming to South from Charleston, Illinois and just finished his freshman year of high school. Here's BS:
Well, it turns out, Bell's Mom was recently hired away from the women's basketball powerhouse, Eastern Illinois, to be an assistant at IU.
Let's take this one step at a time. First, suppose that IU did hire some random assistant coach from Eastern Illinois whose son happened to have been a really good player as a high school freshman. To make the leap to "OMG IU CHEATS!!!," we would have to believe that Crean somehow convinced Felicia Leggette-Jack to tie up one of her assistant coaching positions for the next three years to allow IU a chance at signing a kid who, while very promising, is 14 years old.
Second, the facts don't support the BS position. First, let's consider who TJ Bell's mother is. Her name is Quacy Timmons. Neither her current Eastern Illinois bio nor IU's news release page provide evidence that someone named Quacy Timmons has been named an assistant at IU. Also, as her EIU bio notes, Quacy Timmons used to be known as Quacy Barnes, who had a fine professional career after starring at IU from 1995-1998. As former Bloomington Herald-Times reporter Rex Harter notes, Bell spent a couple of years attending elementary school in Bloomington when his mother was an assistant at IU from 2003-2005. According to Harter's post, Bell will be living with a guardian who mentored him while he lived in Bloomington a few years ago. That's not the most conventional arrangement, but there's also not the sort of smoke here that the ill-informed BS post implies. I'll admit that I'm not a neutral observer, but it seems odd to me to simply presume that a program that is currently on probation would improperly coerce a 14 year-old incoming sophomore to move to Bloomington, particularly when his mother's status as an IU alum would seem to provide a nice recruiting angle in any event.
And then there is Matt Carlino. Carlino will be a junior at South this year. He committed to IU several months ago, and after finishing his sophomore year of high school in Arizona, his family has moved to Bloomington. Matt's father, Mark Carlino, has a legal practice in Arizona, so this wouldn't seem to be a case where daddy needs Tom Crean to find him a job, but the Hoosiers are involved, so obviously:
I'd be willing to bet that there are some IU alums who own businesses down there that are hiring right now, and looking for a guy just like Matt (sic) Carlino, even in these tough economic times.
Again, as far as I can tell, Mark Carlino is a successful professional, and it's fairly insulting to suggest that he needs to be handed a job. I'm sure that if Mr. Carlino hangs out a shingle, it won't hurt that he is the father of the Bloomington South star who is headed to IU. But to suggest that he is on the take seems a bit much.
But as I wrote this post, I thought, maybe the BS boys weren't being vengeful. Maybe they are trying to help us. Let's not be naive, folks. Sometimes, boosters do make improper arrangements for prospective student athletes. For example:
In August 1995, approximately one month before the start of classes and after the prospect had moved to the vicinity of Purdue's campus in West Lafayette, the assistant coach instructed the prospect to contact the vice-president of a local bank and a representative of the university's athletics interests. The prospect visited the representative who approved a personal loan in the amount of $4,000 with knowledge that the prospect needed the funds to satisfy the tuition debt in order to gain his eligibility at Purdue. Nevertheless, the amount of the loan exceeded the amount needed to satisfy the tuition debt. It is reasonable to conclude that the prospect was not expected to repay the loan as scheduled because the prospect's primary source of repayment (his expected Pell Grant funds) was considerably less than the loan amount and the prospect's secondary source of repayment (employment during the summer of 1996) would not be available until four months after the loan became due. When the note became due, minimal effort was made to collect the loan, even though the prospect, now a student-athlete, made no payments and did not use his Pell Grant to satisfy the debt. Despite having received no payments, the representative renewed the loan three months after the due date. The representative recommended that the loan be charged off when he left the local bank in September 1996. The terms of this loan were not generally available to other individuals, it was unsecured, the student-athlete had no credit history, he lacked any cosigner; later the loan was renewed without any modification of terms, and it was ultimately charged off after the student-athlete transferred at the conclusion of the 1995-96 academic year. Although the bank repeatedly mailed due notices to the student -athlete, it took no other measures to collect any payment. The Committee on Infractions finds that the assistant coach knew the student-athlete would not have to repay the loan if he remained enrolled at the institution. ... the assistant coach informed the prospect's mother that the prospect's outstanding tuition would be paid. The prospect's mother, who did nothave the financial means to pay the debt, relied on the assistant coach's assurance and did not make any efforts to obtain the funds. [Source: Public Infractions Report on Major Violations by the Purdue University Basketball Program, June 30, 1999]
Maybe, having been down that road, our Purdue bretheren simply are concerned about us. Having endured such an embarrassment (if I were BS, I might wonder if the disgruntled transfer was the only Boiler who got paid, or merely the only one who spoke up), maybe they want to spare us the same fate. While I appreciate their concern, I think I'll take things at face value for now.