DeAndre Liggins Part of ESPN Investigative Report about Indiana Elite & IU


ESPN and lead reporter Mike Fish unleashed a shocking bombshell on the college basketball landscape today. Per the Worldwide Leader, there have been a litany of ties between the Indiana Elite AAU program, the African Hoop Opportunities Providing an Education (A-HOPE) non-profit foundation, and Indiana University. Mark Adams is the coach of the AAU team and founder of A-HOPE. He's alleged to have provided illegal benefits to his players, steered them towards preferential schools (most notably, Indiana), and cut off ties from those that didn't heed his wishes.

That last accusation is where DeAndre Liggins comes into play. Liggins is a former Indiana Elite AAU star who ended up transferring to Findlay Prep for his senior year before matriculating to Kentucky. According to Fish, Mike Barnett, an Indiana Elite co-founder, tried to adopt Liggins for purposes of steering him towards a preferred school (the article states Memphis or Kansas). After Liggins chose to visit and then subsequently commit to Kentucky against Barnett's wishes, Barnett and the Indiana Elite program cut him off. Barnett claims that he had a contentious relationship with Glenn Cyprien, the ex-Kentucky assistant who was the lead recruiter on Liggins. Liggins and his mother admit that Barnett had taken steps towards an adoption, but were rebuffed by the family.

From an NCAA violations standpoint, there appear to be little, if any, repercussions for Kentucky. Liggins had already served a mysterious suspension in 2009 that Fish states was due to eligibility issues. It appears these eligibility issues are tied to the benefits provided by Indiana Elite. Even if that's not the case, the violations are most likely minor (travel expenditures and cell phone payments) and unbeknownst to former UK head coach Billy Gillispie and his coaching staff, although that is by no means definite.

Indiana, meanwhile, may be in a sea of hot water, as the NCAA will surely follow the breadcrumbs left by ESPN. The whole series is worth a read; just make sure you set aside enough time to go through it all.

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