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Tom Crean’s violation was dumb, but not a big deal

Oct 12, 2011, 9:19 AM EST

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Over the summer, I woke up one Friday morning, poured myself bowl of cereal while I did my usual morning internet browsing before hopping in the shower and heading out the door to go to work at the place I bartend.

The only problem?

It was actually Saturday. I don’t work Saturdays. And I’m sure I’m not the only person who has done this — or something like this — before. It happens. And its why no one should be getting themselves riled up into a lather over the secondary violation Tom Crean committed. Crean had recruiting contact with Gary Harris, a borderline top ten recruit in the class of 2012, on October 6th, the day after the recruiting period ended. He says it was an honest mistake, I’ll believe him.

It happens.

But lets assume, for a second, that this wasn’t an honest mistake. That this was a calculated move by Crean to try and garner favor with a kid from Indiana that isn’t favoring the Hoosiers. Is talking to a player a day after the period ends really going to make up the difference? Is that limited contact going to change kid’s mind on where he wants to go to school? Do you really believe that?

Think about everything that goes on in recruiting these days. There are six figure paydays for kids that are going to be spending less than a calender year on campus. There are coaches and boosters and AAU coaches paying for players to go jetsetting across the country to take “unofficial” visits to every school that sends them a recruiting questionnaire. Every step of the recruiting process, there is someone waiting with their hand out. From Dave Telep’s Insider recruiting blog at ESPN:

The reality of recruiting is this: there are bigger fish to fry and more pertinent topics to ruffle your feathers over. We’re in an era of blatant disregard for basic recruiting rules. Across the country, prospective student-athletes (that’s an NCAA word, not mine) are jumping on planes this weekend to take unofficial visits. Don’t think for one second all of them are paying their own way. While Indiana fills out its NCAA paperwork, another assistant from another school is illegally meeting with a player and his parents. He’s not going to report the contact or even turn in the receipt for the meal he bought them. There’s no way you’re going to catch him either because he used a non-school expensed phone to make the illegal call to set up the dinner. He dialed the cell phone of a player whose bill is being paid for by a third party AAU coach, runner or agent.

Tom Crean and his Indiana staff should be embarrassed about this violation, but that embarrassment should be more “I forgot to zip my fly after going to the bathroom” than “I got fired for getting caught lying about a barbecue I knew I wasn’t supposed to be hosting.”

Move on.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @ballinisahabit.