A-HOPE, the charitable organization which was wrapped up in the NCAA violation that result in the suspension of two Indiana basketball players is involved in another allegation of violations. But this time the allegations are at the high school level:
The administrators at Mooseheart, a small, privately funded school 35 miles west of Chicago, say they accepted the students as part of a long tradition of helping troubled and poor youth. But the executive director of IHSA, which governs the state’s interscholastic sports, determined that the school broke a prohibition on high school recruiting when it accepted the teenagers from A-HOPE, an Indiana-based foundation that paid for the athletes to come to the United States and whose founder has drawn NCAA scrutiny.
The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) appears to be looking into the heart of the issue with A-HOPE and similar organizations. The NCAA violations in the two Indiana cases were based on a technicality: Mark Adams’ decades-old status as an IU booster. The IHSA is challenging something more fundamental: whether A-HOPE is a way for basketball coaches to gain access to athletes.
That was the issue that should have been at the heart of the cases involving Hanner Perea and Peter Jurkin all along. If a coach uses a charitable organization to gain access to and influence over recruits to attract them to the school, that is the behavior which should get the thumbs up or thumbs down, not whether the head of the organization is connected to one school or another.
The other notable bit from this case is that if A-HOPE did in fact work to place the students at Moosehead, it would follow the pattern that Mark Adams and the organization is accused of. That accusation is that A-HOPE places these athletes in isolated private schools, for the purpose of hiding or keeping close tabs on them.