Hanner Perea: Adams, Indiana Elite “Never tried to push me.”

On Wednesday at the Indiana Junior-Senior All-Star game, Indiana verbal commitment Hanner Perea made his first public comments about the ESPN investigation into the A-HOPE Foundation, the Indiana Elite summer travel program and his potential eligibility.

Perea was adamant in saying that no one involved in A-HOPE or Indiana Elite had ever tried to convince him to go to Indiana.

“People said they are trying to make me go to IU,” Perea said. “I picked IU because that’s where I feel good. I feel that I’m going to be in a nice place with good people around me. That’s why I picked IU. … They never tried to push me. The first thing they told me was I could go anywhere I want. I like IU. I’ve been around IU a lot, so that’s why I picked them.”

Perea said he was unhappy with the ESPN story, which also alleged that he could face eligibility issue for taking extra benefits, including an iPod, laptop, clothing, a cell phone and numerous plane trips home to Colombia. Mark Adams, the founder of the A-HOPE program, said earlier that the NCAA and Indiana’s compliance department were aware that Perea had received all of that. Adams said that because of the circumstances — mostly, the fact that the A-HOPE Foundation, a non-profit organization paid for the gifts — they would not be in violation of NCAA rules.

“I don’t really care because I know all of that stuff isn’t true,” Perea said. “I’m not worried about it.”


  1. So can I say i told you so and the article that Fish did is a bunch nonscience is not true. Maybe the five month investigation he should have looked at Ohio state other Indiana he would have a big story than bunch of air. I tired of everyone trying to keep us down. I still see the light at the end of the tunnel and Hoosiernation get ready The Hoosiers are coming back!!!!!1

  2. Just a curious question for you pre-law/journalism double-majors out there…if this story turns out to be completely unfounded and Hanner is not punished by the NCAA, are there any reasonable recourses or actions Adams, A-HOPE, or anyone else could take against ESPN or Fish for publishing that story, or is this just another incident of reckless and irresponsible journalism that’s unenforceable?

  3. Yeaglyb – from my extensive legal training (which consists of watching all 27 seasons of Law and Order, and my wife being a legal secretary for many years) I believe that one would have to prove that Fish and ESPN KNEW that their ‘facts’ were untrue and that they published them with the intent to damage IU. Hard to prove. On the other hand, it’s not so hard to prove that they are irresponsible hacks. And the slime at Baylor that set this whole thing up might might be a little more legally culpable than Fish & ESPN.

  4. I would be in favor of waterboarding Fish over filleting by a prosecutor for slander.

  5. Kurk, a vast majority of my understanding of the legal system is also based on Law & Order. I wonder how many years of law school that’s worth. Do you think you can refer to quotes from district attorney McCoy in court?
    But you are right. To prove libel against public figures you have to prove malicious intent. Against private figures, you have to prove negligence. And most importantly, you have to prove the facts to be definitively untrue. As has been stated, Mark Adams isn’t disputing that Perea received a laptop, clothing, trips home to Colombia or even an iPod. He’s saying the NCAA and IU compliance were aware of that and declared it inbounds, mostly as part of the mission of A-HOPE as a non-profit organization. And of course, the NCAA and IU Compliance can’t and won’t comment on that, so Fish was legally in the clear to write that it was unclear if NCAA eligibility laws had been violated.

  6. Thanks for the explanations. They apparently would acquitted of the charges you mentioned in a court of law, but in the Hoosier court of public opinion, it’s a unanimous verdict of guilty on the charge of douche-baggery. That kind of thing sticks to your record for a long time, Fish.

  7. Dustin if you may have a question? Do you think Hanner Will ever suit up in the Candy Strips and play with the Hoosiers?

  8. Yeagleyball,

    I’m a lawyer, and while libel/slander/etc. is not at all my field of practice, I feel confident in saying that there will be no legal reprecussions for Fish’s article.

  9. You guys have such blinders on!!! So I can create a non-profit and provide cash/trips/etc and the college is in the clear. Form over substance – Is that what they teach at IU?

  10. FireCrean,
    That appears to be the loophole. Again, whether it should be there or not is up for debate, and it would be nice if the NCAA would answer questions directly so we could put all of this in perspective. But yes, that’s what’s being said.
    tbird, I think at the end of the day he will. The only possible way that he wouldn’t, I think, would be if they found out that Indiana is bankrolling A-HOPE, and no one is even insinuating that. Even if Adams is incorrect when he says he’s in the clear, the worst case scenario for Perea is he has to pay back gifts and sit out a few games. Senseless as it may be, Perea has a much better chance of playing if he took gifts than Guy-Marc Michel did even though he didn’t.

  11. You have to apply to the government to be granted non-profit status based on the mission the non-profit entity expects to accomplish. If your stated mission is to give freebies to amateur athletes I seriously doubt you would be granted the status. IU has no legal ties to A-Hope, it just happens to be in Bloomington. A-Hope is Mark Adams baby and Fish uncovered nothing more. Adams is so dedicated to his non-profits mission that upon retiring next year he plans to move to Africa to impact even more the business of that mission. I anxiously await to see what part Dakich plays after the Adams move.

  12. Wait, isn’t Mark Adams Perea’s legal guardian? If that’s the case, he should be able to buy him whatever he wants, right?

  13. Nobody seems to want to address the seediness of organizations striving for monopolistic power in the broadcasting of college sports. Isn’t IU somewhat defenseless against attacks from ESPN? How many dollars filter into our sports programs by way of TV contracts for nationally televised games from ESPN and their affiliates? Didn’t they just get in bed with CBS on the college basketball March Madness stage? Should we rip up all our national TV contracts over this narrow targeting of our university and go it alone with the Big 10 Network? When the ‘Big Daddy’ in broadcasting wants to show you who’s the pimp and who’s the whore what can you do?

    Please don’t act like Fish is doing some honorable service for college basketball by unveiling the minuscule recruiting advantage IU may gain from relationships with A-Hope. There was a day when this would have been considered the tail wagging the dog. Dare ESPN write an insinuative piece, or touch with 10-ft pole, the truly elite programs that fuel their ratings?

    Do we have the rocks in our shorts to return service against these slanderous accusations when we rely heavily on positive exposure our basketball program from the same dominant company in broadcasting that is feeding a negative story? You want to talk about ethics? Should the NCAA consider the disproportionate influence dominant broadcasting/media/print outlets our exerting on amateur athletics? Ponder.

  14. I have asked the question regarding Mark Adams’ ‘guardianship status” with Hanner Perea three times, including once directly asking DD and Hugh if they could confirm that legal status. It is critical from the standpoint of the expenditures by Mark Adams for and in behalf of Hanner. If he is the legal guardian, as someone seems to have claimed at some point early in this episode…then, Steve O is right…no problem, only parental prerogatives and obligations.

    If Mark Adams is not the guardian, I have always assumed that third parties can not make payments as those questioned by Fish’s article.

    I’ll ask again Hugh/DD. Can you confirm if Mark Adams has “legal guardianship” over Hanner? If so, what Court established the status (here or in Colombia; if in the US the state and county court involved? Adams should be happy to provide these details. (You may want to check Monroe County Court records since Adams is a legal resident here, A-Hope is probably constituted in Monroe County, and guardianship records are indeed public records). I would just like to clear this up so we can move on from the “I think it is my opinion that perhaps if game…” currently stirring the outhouse ESPN and Fish built.

    If Adams does not have legal guardianship, then are there specific NCAA rules that affect the status of athletes in the care of NGOs like A-Hope? The NCAA is in Indianapolis, a short 50 minute drive will settle a lot of questions and meaningless speculation.

    I am sure most readers would appreciate some clarity and the effort I know you two will spend to bring some facts and truth to all the speculation and unfounded opinions.

  15. I did not like the story by ESPN suggesting a corrupt relationship with A-Hope/Indiana/the Adams’/Hanner Perea. It That said, the suggestion that there is something lurid going on is also in the mind of the reader. Nowhere does Mr. Fish make a direct allegation other than A-Hopes payment of airfare to and from Colombia, expense and food money while paying for Indiana Elite and some miscellaneous items (used electronics, etc.) But, that is the question isn’t it?

    Regardless,(as already suggested by a blogger/attorney) there is absolutely no basis for any legal action. Unless Fish has misrepresented fact with the INTENT of damaging reputations/slandering someone Fish, is merely exercising his First Amendment right.

    It is also his duty to follow the facts to where it takes him. Was his judgment solid? I personally doubt it. Should the editors at ESPN had tighter parameters over the ‘sensational character’ of the story. Absolutely! But, hey, it’s ESP;, have you ever read the c**p that passes for a magazine or watched some of the ‘expert commentary’ programs whose end is to sensationalize and provoke? Of course…if Godliness is next to cleanliness, ESPN is next (or inside) the toilet.

    But we, Hoosier fans and IU alumni, also need to be more objective, more thoughtful and insist on having our own tighter control of programs that represent the University and the citizens of Indiana. Win yes, but do it right!

  16. Tsao,
    I’m going to have to be a little vague here, because we have a lot of irons in the fire, but let me just say we’re looking into every thing you’re talking about. There are some brick walls out there. We printed the NCAA’s response to our questions on an earlier blog. Adams said that the NCAA has not yet defined a role for non-profit organizations, and he’s apparently right. There’s nothing in the manual about it and when we asked about non-profit organizations, the NCAA sent us back an explanation that just discussed extra benefits. We have some FOIA requests out for more info. They’re still pending. As for Adams’ potential guardianship of Perea, he hasn’t said publicly that he is, and we have yet to find evidence of his guardianship in the state of Indiana. That of course, doesn’t mean that he isn’t, so we’re still looking into it. When we get info, we’ll let you know.

  17. I’m not sure that I know the relevance of A-Hope’s status. In general people think that non-profit status is the same as an organization that does ‘good works’ or has a ‘charitable’ purpose when, in reality, non-profit simply means that….their books are to add up to 0 at the end of the fiscal year. Non-profits can be as much of a sham as Enron or Goldman Sachs. If the CEO pays himself 8-9 million a year in salaries and bonuses he/she may no care a hoot whether there is any money left over to split among the share holders. I say this because somehow we tend to think as if the ‘non-profit’ designation makes a difference in their ethics/behavior. Non-profit is merely a status frequently used for IRS tax purposes (no profit-no tax).

    Do not let yourself be lulled to sleep by the non-profit angle. Even if the non-profit status is legitimate, it would be relatively easy to form one to paint over the recruitment process or whatever angle one may have. For instance, several non-profits active in the Muslim community have been indicted or declared terrorist organizations by the US for using the ‘non-profit cover to collect monies for Al Qaida. And, I am sure that non-profits are in the background of concern where coaches like Calipari and (former) USC’s Pete Carroll may have used them to obtain value in the case of favored recruits like Reggie Bush…

    In fact, I’d like to get a look at A-Hope’s books and see the distribution of their income a well as the sources. Since they file for the IRS ‘non-profit’ status I have a suspicion they have to open their books to public scrutiny. Are there patterns in who is contributing to their activities in cash and in kind? Are the salaries of coaches in programs like Indiana Elite somehow sustained through the treasure at the ‘non-profits’? Someone’s got to be paying the travel, the lodging. Are the ‘expense’ allowances ‘reasonable’?

    DD, reread the ESPN stories and follow-ups, the Indy Star’s accounts…somewhere I seem to recall a claim by Mr. Adams Sr. about guardianship. The question has been asked over and over…have you asked Mr. Adams or his son directly? It’s easy…”are you Hanner’s legal guardian?”. If he’s evasive, ask why he’s being evasive. Key, key question and I sincerely and deeply hope his answer is a clear, unmistakeable ‘yes!, I’m his guardian!’

    I don’t like this any more than any hard core IU fan. And, it is precisely because someone is throwing up brick walls (state who it is…is it Compliance? Glass? Crean? Adams? the NCAA itself?) that you need to expose them…as soon as you mention the culprit, someone will talk to you). But the very reason why I think the ‘legitimate’ media has to be aggressive, direct and honest is the lack of transparency and the exposure to the probability that the worse alternative would be to discover some ‘white wash’ that ends up costing Indiana much, much more than we- the true interest holders in this beyond the kids- even want to imagine.

    So please D.D., Hugh…DIG! (And, don’t buy into the non-profit argument…it is as bogus as Tressler).

  18. Tsao,
    It’s not so much that I “buy the non-profit argument. The issue is this. Adams claims he had a meeting with the NCAA and IU’s compliance department and was told that his operation is in the clear. Obviously, the guardianship case would clear up the Perea situation, but I don’t believe he’s the guardian to every single one of these kids. He’s said, all these kids plane trips from Africa were paid for. Their clothing was paid for. School essentials were paid for. He’s saying the NCAA has told him he’s in the clear. We’re trying to find out if that’s the case. As we’ve said, we’ve gotten no comments from Indiana, including directly from the mouth of Fred Glass, and the NCAA, both of which were printed on the blog and in the newspaper. Hence the FOIA requests.
    Adams has not claimed either in the Indy Star or in the ESPN stories that he is Perea’s guardian.
    As I said in my first response, we have a lot of irons in the fire on this so I’m being purposefully vague. There were obviously questions in your last post that went unanswered. Send me an e-mail if you want a more frank response.

  19. Tsao-

    Why do you care so much? If the ship goes down will it be due to stupid negligence a “guardianship” technicality foolishly overlooked to avoid possible NCAA investigation/penalties? That makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I would hope the only reason to take guardianship a kid would be out of sincere affection and a heart wishing to give unconditional love and opportunity. You’ve made me almost hope for corruption and influence emanating straight from the halls our basketball program than to think there’s people in this world so self-serving to beat the system they would construct an artificial household. There are worse things than cheating the NCAA. Not having an inkling of honest love toward someone you share space under same roof being one more damning of character.

    If the NCAA chooses to sink IU Basketball over this, I’m not sure how much my own heart would be in favor supporting college basketball anymore. It’s all rather sad. Too many egos wanting to make a name for themselves. Let’s not pretend an ESPN journalist cares one hoot the consequences a few innocent bystanders their heroic investigation. At the end of the day, Hanner is the guy feeling like a piece of meat and more used than ever. Was it fair? Is it worth it?

    I don’t expect my opinions get much attention those working in the profession of treating kids like cattle and widgets.

Comments are closed.