No. 1 Indiana will open its season Friday night without two key freshmen players.
On Tuesday, the NCAA suspended 6-foot-8 forward Hanner Mosquera-Perea and 7-foot center Peter Jurkin for the first nine games this season and will require them to repay a portion of the impermissible benefits they received to a charity of their choice.
Enforcement officials at the governing body officials found the players' AAU coach Mark Adams provided them with $9,702 and $6,003 in plane tickets, meals, housing, a laptop computer, a cellphone and clothing. Mosquera-Perea must pay back approximately $1,590. Jurkin must repay $250 to be reinstated.
The NCAA said in a statement Tuesday night both players were qualified to receive the benefits from the nonprofit organization Adams used to help international players obtain travel documents and cover travel costs to the U.S. The problem was that Adams also was considered an Indiana booster because he donated $185 to the Varsity Club from 1986-92, and boosters cannot provide benefits to players.
Adams had been involved in a previous eligibility case that involved an additional $2,655 to former Indiana basketball player Tijan Jobe.
"Despite the minimal nature of Mr. Adams' donations, and the fact that the last donation he made was more than 15 years before he provided expenses to a prospective student-athlete who enrolled at the institution," the NCAA wrote in its letter to the school. "Mr. Adams must be considered a representative of the institution's athletics interests."
The NCAA considers these secondary infractions and credited the university for taking "substantial and meaningful" corrective actions. Those actions included paying a $5,000 fine for failing to properly certify one player before he started competing, suspending communications with Adams and disassociating the program from Adams.
Indiana plans to file appeal the length of the two suspensions later this week, though schools usually win those cases. The players cannot play while the appeal is heard, though they can continue to practice and participate in other team functions.
University officials were informed of potential eligibility concerns for both players in April 2011, the NCAA said, and school officials have been trying to resolve the situation since then.
Indiana officials, said in a statement, that it filed the original case June 22.
The NCAA reinstatement staff made its decision Oct. 29. Indiana then provided additional information Nov. 1, which the NCAA said did not change the original facts that were agreed to by both sides.
Mosquera-Perea is considered one of Indiana's top recruits and is expected to play a big part in this season's push for a national championship. Jurkin is also expected to provide depth on the front line.
If the NCAA ruling stands, neither player could return until Indiana's game Dec. 15 against Butler in Indianapolis.
"This matter was discovered internally and promptly reported to the NCAA," Indiana athletic director Fred Glass said in a statement released by the school. "At the NCAA's direction, we conducted an extensive and thorough review in cooperation and consultation with the NCAA Basketball Focus Group. While I am very disappointed with these circumstances, I am very pleased with the way we have responded and appreciative of the NCAA's professional guidance and assistance. I would also like to thank Mark Adams for his forthright candor and cooperation in this matter."