BYU announced on Friday that Yoeli Childs, who may enter 2019-20 as the WCC Preseason Player of the Year, will miss the first nine games of his senior season.
Childs declared for the draft in March and signed with an agent, who was allowed to cover certain expenses that accrue during the process. But Childs did not file the proper paperwork with the NCAA prior to signing with that agent, according to BYU, and he received benefits that were considered impermissible – travel expenses, fees to cover a basketball trainers, etc. As a result, the NCAA dinged him nine games. Childs, who averaged 21.2 points and 9.7 boards as a junior, will miss BYU’s trip to the Maui Invitational as well as a rivalry game against Utah.
“I believe in being honest and open about the things that you do. There was some confusion with this new process. I made decisions that caused an outcome that none of us like,” Childs said on Friday. “I want everyone to know that my intent was never to do something wrong. I was trying to do the right things. I was trying to do things the right way.”
“The program was without a head coach for a while and at the same time, Yoeli’s making these huge, life-changing decisions with brand-new rules. All those things come together,” added new BYU head coach Mark Pope. “There was some real confusion.
“Yoeli would be the first to say that he did make mistakes but they were unintentional.”
Taken at face value, Childs is the first victim of the the new NCAA rules, and to be clear, he wasn’t the only person that was confused. The NCAA is in the midst of a transition. There are new rules in regards to the process. Hell, there were smart people in the basketball world that were wondering whether or not the undrafted players that attended this year’s NBA Draft Combine were eligible to return to school this year. I was one of those smart* people, and they are not eligible to return.
Childs had to navigate this process without a head coach to guide him. Dave Rose and BYU parted ways while this was playing out. That’s a tough spot to be in.
And it’s also worth noting that Childs was one of the bigger surprises of the early entry deadline. He seemed destined to stay in the draft, and it would be easy for a cynic to say that Childs realized his mistake – he wasn’t invited to the combine – and decided to use the new rules as a way out.
Either way, some sort of punishment probably had to happen. Rules are rules, and intentional or not, Childs broke those rules. But after Childs paid back all of the impermissible benefits – with interest – and with the added complications of going through this new process without a coach to guide him, nine games seems particularly harsh.
The NCAA has to do something, but considering the mitigating circumstances here – and the fact that the NCAA should want to incentivize players like Childs coming back to school – docking him 30 percent of his senior season is too much when suspending him for three games would have accomplished what they needed to accomplish.