BYU Basketball: NCAA sanctions handed out, hypocrisy abounds

(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

The NCAA hit BYU Basketball with sanctions stemming from the Nick Emery investigation, and their severity proves the hypocrisy of the governing body.

We’ve all learned a lesson today.

If you allow years of academic cheating, the NCAA won’t do anything.

If you get caught paying players hundreds of thousands of dollars through shady deals with agents and companies, the NCAA will turn a blind eye until the FBI steps in.

If you knowingly keep a coach on staff after sweeping domestic abuse claims under the rug, the NCAA will wink and accept the self-imposed three-game suspension of your head coach.

But if one of your players accepts money and gifts from boosters, a tiny amount compared to what the FBI investigated, you’re going to get hit hard.

The NCAA proved once again that their arbitrary judgement system is ridiculous, with no structure to match the punishment to the crime.

On Friday, BYU Basketball received their sanctions from the NCAA, who not only went above and beyond the Cougars’ self-imposed sanctions, but hit the program with worse punishment than any of the above schools received for much more egregious actions.

The NCAA report stated in their findings that Nick Emery received approximately $12,000 in cash and benefits from four separate boosters. There was zero proof that the school or the athletic program had any clue about what happened, and BYU completely cooperated with the NCAA’s investigation and self-imposed a bevy of penalties.

Yet the NCAA decided that those penalties weren’t enough, handing out this list of punishments:

  • Two years of probation
  • Vacating all wins from games Nick Emery played in
  • A loss of one scholarship for a year (self-imposed)
  • Cutting ties with one of the boosters (self-imposed)
  • A $5,000 fine (self-imposed)
  • Various recruiting restrictions

Is it just us or does it look like the self-imposed sanctions alone look like more than enough penalty? Plus there’s Emery’s nine-game suspension to start this year.

And the forfeiture of wins is especially egregious. Only 12 schools, not counting BYU, have been forced to vacate games since 2000, and each of them stemmed from a lack of institutional control. In other words, the school knew what was going on a turned a blind eye.

Yet in the NCAA’s own words, there’s no proof that BYU had any knowledge of what happened with Emery and the boosters, yet the NCAA decided to arbitrarily punish them as if they did.

You know that the sanctions are ridiculous when BYU releases a statement saying they are. The school is notorious for keeping quiet and accepting things as they come, but not this time. Here’s the school’s official statement:

"“We are disappointed with the decision announced today by the NCAA Committee on Infractions (COI). The COI review is a 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. There was no institutional knowledge of or involvement with the infractions. In fact, the NCAA found that Coach Rose promotes an atmosphere of compliance and monitors the program.The vacation-of-records penalty is extremely harsh and unprecedented given the details of the case. For more than two decades, the NCAA has not required an institution to vacate games in similar 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. In fact, this sanction includes the most severe vacation of records penalty ever imposed in the history of NCAA Division I basketball for infractions that included no institutional knowledge or involvement. In addition, in the case most similar to this situation, appropriate penalties were imposed, but no wins were vacated. BYU believes the vacation-of-wins penalty is unfair and not consistent with recent NCAA precedent. The university plans to appeal the decision.”"

The good news is that the Cougars will appeal the decision, and rightfully so.

No one is condoning what Emery and the boosters did. BYU and Emery both deserved sanctions for it. There’s little question and even less argument about that.

But the punishment is supposed to fit the crime, and the NCAA has proven once again that they have no idea how to do that.