- Dana O'Neil, ESPN Senior Writer
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The two players already have sat out five games. They will be eligible to play Dec. 15 when the top-ranked Hoosiers face Butler.
In its ruling, the NCAA stressed that the decision was about more than the $185 that AAU coach Mark Adams paid to the IU booster club 20 years ago, rendering him a booster and therefore unable to provide the $6,000 and $8,000 in benefits. Adams is the legal guardian for Perea, who is from Colombia, and coached him and Jurkin, a Sudan native, on the Indiana Elite summer league team. Both players came to the U.S. via Adams' A-Hope Foundation.
"While a $185 donation to the university may have triggered the booster's status, recent interactions reinforce his unique access and continuous involvement with the men's basketball team," the NCAA said in a release.
The NCAA cited signed financial aid documents for two former Indiana players, the fact that Perea and Jurkin lived with Adams multiple summers and that the university supplied Adams with permissible, complimentary tickets.
"While we are disappointed with the denial, we are even more disappointed with the case summary communicated by the NCAA public relations staff," Indiana athletic director Fred Glass said in a statement. "This case continues to be about $185 in Varsity Club contributions over 20 years ago, notwithstanding the NCAA National Office's troubling reference to activities that are permissible or would have been permissible but for the minor donations."
The decision comes less than a week after the NCAA cleared UCLA's Shabazz Muhammad after three games and told him to repay $1,600 in impermissible benefits.
The NCAA has upheld the suspensions of two Indiana freshmen, ruling on appeal that Hanner Perea and Peter Jurkin will have to miss nine of the Hoosiers' games.