Indiana University officials say they plan to appeal the nine-game suspensions of two freshmen basketball players handed down earlier this week. NCAA officials say Hanner Mosquera-Perea and Peter Jurkin received impermissible benefits after coming to the United States from their native South America and Africa.
The program which paid their way, A-HOPE, gives kids from foreign countries the chance to come to America and play basketball in youth programs. One of the founders of the program is IU alumnus Mark Adams, who gave $185 to the university 20 years ago for Indiana bumper stickers. Because the players chose to attend the school Adams gave money to, the NCAA found them in violation.
Head Coach Tom Crean expressed his frustrations at a Thursday press conference.
“There’s a high level of disappointment because I know what we do, and I know how we’ve done it,” he says. “They don’t deserve this, and at the end of the day, that’s what, that’s really what should matter most is the welfare of the student athlete.”
Perea is currently out with an injury, but the loss of the 7-foot-tall Jurkin will present a challenge for the Hoosiers squad.
Sophomore center Cody Zeller says that puts more pressure on him and on senior Christian Watford.
“We’ll definitely miss him, like you said, the depth,” he says. “Just having those three guys out now for big guys will be more important for me and Christian to stay out of foul trouble, and you know, stay on the court as long as we can.”
The suspensions will force the Hoosiers to play with a small lineup for the first nine games of the season, including a tough test against North Carolina later this month.
Alissa Nunley contributed to this report.