NCAA cracks down on BYU basketball over Nick Emery benefits

Nick Emery looks onward during the Cougar tip-off played on Oct. 19. (Claire Gentry)

The NCAA announced on Nov. 9 that Brigham Young University’s men’s basketball team has been put on probation for two more years, and is required to vacate 47 wins from the past two seasons. In addition, BYU will forfeit a scholarship, all due to extra benefits from boosters given to guard Nick Emery.

The NCAA investigation found Emery was given over $12,000 in extra benefits. Among those benefits were cash, meals, rounds of golf, vacations and the use of a car. In an earlier decision made by the NCAA, Emery is to be suspended for the first nine games of the 2018–19 season.

A fine of $5,000 and reduction of one men’s basketball scholarship was offered by BYU as self-penalities, but the NCAA did not feel that was enough. It followed those penalties with a report stating it is vacating all wins in which Emery played over the last two seasons (47). BYU will be placed on a two-year probation and recruiting restrictions will also be placed on the team.

The NCAA committee claimed BYU had an advantage of an ineligible player for two years, and the committee is concerned over the level of unmonitored access boosters had to the student athlete.

In a statement issued by head coach Dave Rose, he voiced his disproval with the NCAA’s decision.

“I’m very disappointed with today’s NCAA ruling,” Rose said prior to the game against UVU on Nov. 9.  “I strongly support the university’s plan to appeal the decision. That being said, my focus is on our team and tonight’s game with Utah Valley.”

BYU athletics posted a response from the university about the announcement.

“We are disappointed with the decision announced today by the NCAA Committee on Infractions (COI). The COI review is the result of a BYU self-report to the NCAA. From the beginning, BYU has considered the possible infractions a serious matter, and we have cooperated in every way with the NCAA review,” the statement reads. “There was no institutional knowledge of or involvement in the infractions. In fact, the NCAA found that Coach Rose promotes an atmosphere of compliance and monitors the program.”

The statement also says that the NCAA hasn’t issued a similar requirement of vacating games, like it has for BYU, in cases “where the COI found there was no institutional knowledge of or involvement in the violation by either the coaching staff or other university personnel.”

The statement explains that BYU plans to appeal the NCAA decision, mentioning that this is the “most severe vacation-of-record penalty” imposed in NCAA Division 1 basketball history in which there wasn’t any “knowledge or involvement” of the incident on the part of the institution.

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