BYU penalized with fine, probation and more after boosters funded vacations, gave cash to basketball player

PROVO, Utah -- Brigham Young University faces penalties that include two years of probation and a 'vacation of records' for a 2-year period after four boosters gave improper benefits to a member of the men's basketball team.

The NCAA announced the penalties in a press release issued Friday, stating BYU boosters provided more than $12,000 in improper benefits that included vacations, meals, golf outings and cash.

According to the release, the following penalty guidelines have been prescribed following an in-person hearing:

  • Two years of probation from Nov. 9, 2018, through Nov. 8, 2020.
  • A vacation of records in which the student-athlete participated while ineligible.
  • A reduction of one men’s basketball scholarship, served during the earliest possible academic year (self-imposed by the university).
  • Recruiting restrictions detailed in the public report.
  • A disassociation of one of the boosters (self-imposed by the university).
  • A $5,000 fine (self-imposed by the university).

The report does not identify the student-athlete in question, but Nick Emery withdrew from the team last year weeks after allegations he received improper benefits from boosters. The report indicates the improper benefits were paid out between August of 2015 and August of 2017.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports Emery was reinstated by the NCAA after missing last season but must sit out the first nine games of this year, making him eligible to play next on December 5 at home vs Utah State.

Emery tweeted a statement Friday appearing to address the sanctions, stating: "My intentions were never to hurt the program or university. I'm grateful to Coach Rose and the university for standing by me throughout this entire process."

The NCAA states one booster was responsible for the majority of the improper benefits found in the investigation. That person paid about $10,000 worth of all-expense paid trips and provided the athlete with the use of a car and car insurance.

Another two boosters took the student-athlete on free golf outings and for meals at a country club.

Another booster gave the student $200 in cash, or left the cash in the locker room for the student to retrieve.

"The decision noted that the men's basketball team gained an advantage of an ineligible player for two season because the student-athlete played after receiving benefits," the NCAA stated in the release. "He continued receiving benefits during and after those seasons. "

The release states that although the case involved only a single student-athlete, the Committee on Infractions panel was worried about the "level of unmonitored access the four different boosters had with the prominent student-athlete."

The COI panel was particularly concerned about access to the men's locker room, which allowed the booster to leave cash for the student athlete.

The report also states the BYU mentorship program connected one of the boosters with the student-athlete.

BYU released a statement regarding the penalties, saying in part they are "disappointed" by the decision, which they called "extremely harsh."

The full statement is below:

“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. 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 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-record 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-records penalty is unfair and not consistent with recent NCAA precedent. The university plans to appeal the decision.”