DECKER: What's Left to Work With?

Tom Crean knows what he still needs for the 2009 recruiting class. The question is whether or not he'll have the available scholarship(s) to get it done...

Wondering why Tom Crean hasn't secured another commit for 2009?

Maybe it's because he wants to make sure he can. released its latest Class of 2009 rankings Saturday and the Hoosiers are well represented. Derek Elston (ranked No. 81 nationally), Jordan Hulls (No. 92) and Maurice Creek (No. 97) are all included in the top 100, while Bobby Capobianco is considered the country's 45th-best power forward and is just outside the top 100.

Considering there's four months remaining until the start of the early signing period, IU Coach Tom Crean has plenty of time to zero in on another frontcourt player for the class. He's expected to be in Cincinnati today for the adidas "It Take 5ive" event which will include Stephan Van Treese from Indiana Elite along with plenty of other of the top 17-and-under AAU players and squads.

The problem, though, is there's no guarantee he'll be able to use another scholarship.

The four '09 recruits are slated to join eight returning scholarship players next fall. The NCAA allows teams to utilize 13 scholarships and the Big Ten permits teams to over-sign by one (to protect against early NBA entrants, transfers, etc.), so that would leave Crean with the freedom to sign two more players.

But Crean's problem is he doesn't know whether or not he'll have the full complement of scholarships. Scholarship reductions could still come as punishment for the alleged NCAA infractions committed by Kelvin Sampson's staff and also because of the program's Academic Progress Rate (APR) which is in dire shape.

Clearly the biggest concern is what sort of additional punishment the NCAA might hand down later this summer. IU's self-imposed penalties included restrictions on recruiting contact, official visits and days on the road, along with the loss of a scholarship. But the NCAA's recent addition of a fifth major violation allegation for "failure to monitor" suggests it might saddle the Hoosier program with additional sanctions.

While chatter about multi-year postseason bans or no television appearances is baseless considering how the NCAA has handled "failure to monitor" cases in the past, it's certainly possible that additional penalties could include the loss of a scholarship for the 2009-10 season. If the NCAA gets heavy-handed and strips two scholarships, IU would already be over-extended.

Indiana isn't out of the APR woods, either. The APR is compiled over a rolling four-year span, meaning IU's score in its the next several years will be impacted by what happened during the 2007-08 academic year. While there are allowances made for schools that show marked improvement from one year to the next (that helped IU avoid punishment for a 2005-06 APR score that was below the 925 threshold), it's still a mess that won't be soon forgotten.

That's probably why Crean has been cautious in extending an offer to Van Treese or pressing others in the '09 class to commit anytime soon. Once the NCAA issues its final ruling on the Indiana case later this summer, the new IU coach will now exactly what he's working with for the class. Top Stories