ESPN report questions A-HOPE Foundation, Indiana, Hanner Perea

An investigative report alleges Hanner Perea received illegal benefits from Mark Adams, questions the mission of the A-HOPE Foundation Adams runs, and the link between A-HOPE and Indiana Elite with Indiana University.

It was obviously not a secret that Drew Adams, until recently on the basketball staff at Indiana (he has left for New Mexico), is the son of Mark, and walkon Kory Barnett the son of Indiana Elite founder Mike Barnett. It was also evident that a large number of Indiana Elite prospects ended up at Indiana.

What is new and what is potentially the most damning for all involved is alleged benefits Perea received from Adams. Adams is also Perea’s AAU coach and the NCAA will certainly have questions.

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. 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.

Adams does defend himself throughout, asserting what he has always said to us: that he has used his personal finances to keep A-HOPE going and he genuinely cares about the well-being of the players in the program.

Adams acknowledges giving Perea certain electronic gadgets and paying for Perea’s flights back to Colombia and says Perea came from such meager means that he felt compelled to help him. He accuses of manufacturing a story and choosing not to focus on the positive effects his foundation has on the student-athletes he has helped free from poor backgrounds.

“You really could have no idea of the humanitarian reasons for this foundation, and I honestly believe you do not wish to find out,” Adams wrote in an email in response to questions submitted by

4 p.m. UPDATE

Dustin is headed to track, so I’ll post what both of us have collected so far from Adams and Indiana Elite director Criss Beyers.

First, from Adams (via Dustin’s Twitter).

  • Adams said that long before this story, he’s had meetings with IU compliance and been on conference call with the NCAA.
  • He said all parties were comfortable that what he’s doing is not in violation of NCAA rules.
  • One issue he said is that the NCAA hasn’t yet defined what the role of a non-profit organization can be when it comes to a student athlete.
  • He said, however, that he knows he’s in the clear in terms of A-Hope paying for trips home, for clothing, and for laptops and school supplies. He said the foundation does those things for all students involved with the program.
  • Adams didn’t deny most of what Fish reported. Perea received a laptop. He had flights home to Colombia paid for. He got free clothing.
  • What Adams is saying is that IU compliance and the NCAA were aware of what he was doing and were OK with it.

Now, from Beyers (via my Twitter).

  • Indiana Elite director Criss Beyers. “I don’t believe that we have pushed anyone towards any school.”
  • “Matt Painter played in our program. Brad Stevens played in our program. Brandon Miller. Jon Holmes. … I have as much respect for Matt Painter and Brad Stevens as anyone in the country.”
  • Beyers said Perky Plumlee, father to the 3 Plumlee brothers at Duke, called him today, said, ‘I remember anytime someone contacted you, you made sure to call me and tell me you were contacted by such and such coach, no matter who it was.’
  • The program that is now Indiana Elite started 30-something years ago under very meager beginnings (sleeping on gym floors, for instance). “The reason why we have been around for so long is that we have done things the right way,” Beyers said.



  1. Ok, so now ESPN is coming after us… Dont understand why ESPN decided to look into this. Crazy, but we will see what happens.

  2. Anybody else wonder if ESPN got the story tip from the Baylor basketball office?

  3. Maybe this will be Crean’s undoing. It would be interesting to see how much money has gone from IU to Adams.

  4. ESPN has no credibility with me on investigations of amateur athletes. Would ESPN be investigating this kid if he gave a verbal committment to the University of Texas? No, becuase ESPN and the University of Texas created a sports network together. When an truly unbiased media outlet does an actual investigation on IU and its recruiting practices, then I’ll listen.

  5. I’d like to ask Mark Adams how many 5’4 African girls who don’t play basketball he’s brought over. Oh that’s right his foundation is set up only to bring over men who can play hoops.

  6. As angering as this article is to read. The later portion of it devoted to saying that Crean has made strides due to his connections and networking. That being said it almost seems that Fish says that Adams is abusing his IU connections with Crean and/or other college coaches. Last time I checked coaches whether it be AAU, HS, etc all have made in-roads with college coaches, and if they have a kid they feel can play at a particular school, they will try and see if there is mutual interest. To say that Mark Adams did something wrong is absurd, he’s bringing kids over from other parts of the world that otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to do so. He isn’t making a profit on this, it is a legit 501 3c, so to that ESPN has once again done a shotty job of reporting and should next time do a piece on the real shady programs like Auburn (SEC football in general, friends that have played have told me crazy things that go on there), Ohio St (why is the NCAA delaying their investigation on this? hmmm) and other such programs (Calipari…cough).

  7. Total hatchet job by ESPN. Pathetic reporting, stretching the truth, and one-sided quotes throughout.

    As for the claim that Indiana has somehow benefited unjustly from the A-HOPE program, I would refer to this chart:

    Absolutely ridiculous.

  8. @MiamiHoosier: Well said. If Fish really wanted to investigate coaches wielding undue influence over players’ college decisions, he should’ve checked out Jack Keefer at Lawrence North.

  9. I read the complete article on the ESPN website twice. I see nothing stated to implicate IU except relationship building as Coach Crean emphasized. The only way for there to be more transparency is if A-Hope and Indiana Elite were located on the moon. ESPN has used the facts of the matter to write an interesting story but finds no wrong doing. Sure gins up interest doing a slow time.

  10. I found this comment on espn’s blog

    I am a U.Minnesota graduate nothing to do with Indiana. This article is lousy.ESPN is down to the level of low self pomoting journalism. All colleges have some connections with some AAU or privately run basketball teams.

  11. this one too

    So this article is suggesting that Mark Adams put AHOPE together, which has been running for close to ten years actively helping those less fortunate, because he knew 10 years after starting the program he would be able to get IU one solid recruit out of it? Give me a break.

  12. This is the best one yet from espn

    Listen I am a UNC fan and I think this is garbage. I don’t like Crean and his fake tan but this piece sure seems like a smear campaign by Mr. Fish. This guy has wasted his life savings helping these kids, so what if he wants to give them direction in their recruitment. Since when is giving some poor Columbian kid a laptop illegal?(which he probably needs to do..ugh I don’t know…HOMEWORK). Personal relationships id how most jobs in the US are handed out. It’s probably how this Fish guy got his job, because it definitely wasn’t based on merit.

  13. Chump journalism.
    ESPN has become the self-imposed gestapo of collegiate athletics.
    Too many employees with too much time on their hands.

  14. It’s upsetting and insulting that he would even imply the Duanys in some wrongdoing.

    Not a comment that is my take!

  15. aww what the hell another good comment form espn last one i promise…

    I particularly enjoyed the part of the article that mentioned all but two of IU’s recent signing from Indiana Elite came after Cody Zeller signed …. oh wait, was that not in there?

    Let’s see here, what would have a bigger influence on a teenager’s college decision? A former AAU coach’s promotion at IU or a mcdonald’s all american signing a LOI? And obviously Cody must have been taking advantage of the illegal benefits of A-HOPE. You know, being from the war-stricken area of Washington, IN.

  16. Finally. Sure has been obvious to most what Adams has done for years with his HELPING HANDS!! HA
    Not only IU has benefited but what about BLoomington South???????????????????????????????????????????
    I think not only the NCAA but the IHSAA needs to check out this crap.

  17. finally-
    How many current IU players are form Bloomington South? 1! shut up

  18. Think IU should be in the clear, but Adams, Criss Beyers, and Barnett seem to have some smell on them. Always thought this AAU programs were about kids playing ball in the spring and summer. These men are trying to make money on this kids by recruiting these boys to various schools all over the nation. IU needs to really just distance themselves from these leaches, of course it has nothing to do since these guys are IU alums give me break. I want to see IU do well but by the right way. Seems like they have the feeling now we can’t beat these programs now let’s join them. Starting to get on track with UK. Coach Crean lay low cause something special is going start happen there soon and it’s by players Coach Crean recruits not alums.

  19. There is nothing to this story as far as I’m concerned. If they want to investigate Mark Adams for giving kids a better life through basketball then every AAU program, prep school, and sports academy also needs to be investigated. Is this Michael Fish buddies with the Baylor assistant who threatened that Hanner would be back in Columbia before going to college anywhere other than Baylor?? Only thing I see is Hanner having to pay back what he received, similar to Josh Selby. Selby was getting contributions from an agent and all he got was a hand slap. If this becomes more than that then I’m really convinced their is a witch hunt against IU.

  20. Sorry, but right, wrong, or indifferent, Mark should have gone down a couple of levels & coached 7th or 8th graders, while Drew was at IU. He should have had absolutely no contact with anyone IU was recruiting to remove any perception of impropriety or conflict of interest. He’s at least guilty of poor judgement.

  21. This story is crap!
    That’s all I got to say about it. Knowing that we are running a clean program then some bullsh*t has to be brought out of the wood work so this reporter can get his name out there. Come on ESPN what are you doing in Bristol?

  22. BigBob- you continue to reveal your absolute ignorance.

    IU has done nothing illegal. There are no payments from IU to AHOPE. That is absurd.

    Perea received legal benefits from Adams, who is his legal guardian.

  23. I believe that Mike Fish has been watching “Blue Chips” WAY to many times.

  24. I find it extremely convenient that ESPN is bashing the Indiana connection to Indiana Elite/A-HOPE, when not more than 7 months ago, they wrote an article praising the fact that IU had an amazing AAU pipeline. Typical ESPN ACC-biased BS.

  25. We spend years lamenting the abuses of the previous head coach but then attack the “messenger” when it appears the former video director may have been involved in ‘shady’ behavior? Come on!!! IU has to get out of this rut and its fans (us) have to look at and accept reality rather being defensive. AAU is dirty and has gotten dirtier. I don’t care if other programs may be doing the same thing. I care about IU. It sounds as though a lot of you guys live in Bloomington and know Adams. I don’t and I honestly don’t care about him. I care about IU and this stuff has got to be taken seriously and stopped. When one starts to “split hairs” about who paid IU recruits, then that person cares more about becoming ‘Kentucky’ than being Indiana.

  26. IU is clean, no smell, no taint nor shaded in a shadow cast.

    Here are observations from some of this weeks current events; ESPN should never write a story using all the facts, Bob should never let the facts get in the way of his opinion, just as BHO should not plan a trip to Israel neither should Mr. Fish make an appearance in Indiana.

  27. The real question is how many BHSS players played for Indiana Elite prior to trnasfering to South? Don’t waste your time looking it up because they have 0 state titles without these trnasfers from other high schools.

  28. Are you sure this didn’t come from Fox ‘News’? Where’s the part about a missing blond coed?

  29. This has the same smell that I get when I step in the neighbor dog’s crap. Only in this case the neighbor is Baylor, but that smell gives it away

  30. Are you guys on crack? I cannot believe you don’t think there is a problem here. If you took out IU and replaced it with say… Purdue… in the article, you would be screaming about the cheaters at Purdue. Wake up and get out of your fantasy world…

  31. iulongago, don’t you think opinions coming from posters who know Mark Adams have some merit to them? Maybe more than people dithering over an ESPN hatchet job? Is it irrelevant to say that Adams is a hell of a good guy who is positively changing the lives of lots of kids whose circumstances would have trapped them for life in poverty?

    I don’t see anybody here expressing outrage over the slimy Baylor recruiter who told Hanner Perea’s coach at LaLumiere that if Hanner didn’t sign with Baylor he’d see to it that he got deported back to Colombia. Here’s what this is: IU is coming back into relevance and there are coaches all over the place that are worried sick about it. This dork Mike Fish saw a payday and went for it. Nothing more to this than that.

  32. As I said…I couldn’t pick this Adams guy out of a lineup. All I know is he was a “video coordinator” who people here think was important to recruiting (which strikes me as very odd) and now he’s linked to this report. He may be a good guy but I don’t care about him. I care about Indiana University and this guy looks like he’s going to be a growing problem.

  33. iulongago, let me clear up some confusion emanating from your post. You’re mixing up two different guys. DREW Adams was the video coordinator–an entry-level position identical to one he held at Tennessee and now holds at New Mexico. He was here for a few months, and now he’s not. MARK Adams is a long-time coach for Indiana Elite AAU program and is the founder of A-Hope, a non-profit that brings African kids with basketball potential into the states with the intent of finding them a place to play basketball and secure a college education. Neither one of these guys is Darth Vader.

    Hope this helps.

  34. Yeah that does help and I’m sorry I confused them (like I said…until last month, I’d never heard of either one of these guys). But, I also don’t care if they’re Darth Vader or Mother Theresa. I care about whether their activities harm Indiana University. I also agree with a couple of other posters. I truly believe that if this ESPN story substituted Kentucky or Purdue for IU, this web site would be all over them about how out-of-control and dirty their programs are. Let’s see how this shakes out (hopefully well). Just because it’s IU that’s involved along with someone doing good things for kids in Africa doesn’t mean the investigation is biased, sloppy, or wrong.

  35. IUlongago, I’m part of the “long ago” gang, too; nice to meet you. I get your point about what would the reaction be IF this article were written about KY or Purdue. But the fact of the matter is, if all things were exactly the same, just a different coach and schools’s name in the piece, there still would be no “there,” there. In fact, the author could have put Purdue’s name in, in place of IU, because Purdue has gotten as many recruits through Indiana Elite as IU has – more, in fact. Painter himself, played for Indiana Elite before playing and then coaching for Purdue.

    The author says IU suddenly got a lot of recruits that were on the Indiana Elite team, but failed to mention that it started after Cody Zeller committed and that several of those players joined the IE team AFTER they committed to IU so that they could play together. Somehow the author missed those two little points when writing his “suddenly” statement.

    As for Drew Adams, well, he was very qualified for his job at IU and hiring him was above board. Even the guys he beat out for the job weren’t upset about him getting the job. One of the reasons he got the job was because of his connections. Lots of people get jobs when their valuable connections are seen as an asset. Crean freely admits Drew’s connections were an asset and notes that several other schools would have liked to have hired him for those connections. There was nothing outside of NCAA rules about that hire and Drew didn’t do anything shady while he worked for IU.

    I’m like you, in that I care about IU and I expect them to operate at a very high standard. I think they are operating at a high standard and are doing everything inside NCAA rules. No one at IU or associated with IU is paying recruits. The ESPN article is long and full of stories and it is clear that recruiting can be shady. But, what is very clear to me is that IU hasn’t broken any rules. If, as you suggest, this story were about another team doing exactly what IU does; that, too, would be a long story where the school isn’t doing anything wrong.

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