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NCAA: BYU must vacate 47 wins over Nick Emery booster scandal

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The NCAA’s committee on infractions announced on Friday that BYU will be forced to vacate 47 games stemming from the interactions that star guard Nick Emery had with a booster.

Emery played in 47 wins during the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons. The player, who is suspended for the first nine games of this season, withdrew from school prior to the start of the 2017-18 season.

Over the course of a two-year period, Emery received more than $12,000 in impermissible benefits from four different boosters. The NCAA determined that the booster left $200 in Emery’s locker in the BYU locker room, that he was granted access to a golf course the booster was a member of, the the player was given use of a 2017 Volkswagen Jetta and that trips to Germany, New York, Texas and California were paid for.

(Since this is BYU, it only makes sense that among the offenses that will cost head coach Dave Rose 47 of his 282 career wins was, according to reporting from the Salt Lake Tribune, a trip to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.)

“Although this case involved only one student-athlete, the committee noted in its report that it was concerned about the level of unmonitored access the four different boosters had with the prominent student-athlete,” the NCAA wrote in their decision. “The COI was particularly troubled that one of the boosters had access to the men’s basketball locker room and used that access to provide the student-athlete with cash.

The school will be appealing the decision to vacate the games.

“The vacation-of-records penalty is extremely harsh and unprecedented given the details of the case,” the school’s statement said. “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.”

NCAA reinstates BYU’s Nick Emery

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Nick Emery is rejoining BYU after sitting out last season.

The Cougar guard has been reinstated by the NCAA, but will sit out the first nine games of the season as part of the NCAA’s ruling, BYU announced Thursday night.

The 6-foot-2 guard averaged 13.1 points while shooting 41.5 percent from the floor and 37.1 percent from 3-point as a sophomore. The NCAA and BYU began an investigation last year to determine if a booster “paid for travel to concerts and an amusement park .. and gave him use of a new car,” according to the Salt Lake Tribune. Shortly after that investigation became public, Emery withdrew from school.

“I have decided to withdraw from BYU today,” Emery said in a statement last November. “Unfortunately, I am mentally not where I need to be in order to perform in basketball and in school this year. As it has been made known, I went through a divorce this year and it has been really difficult for me.

“I have confidence that I will come back stronger and better. I have every intention on coming back to BYU and representing Cougar nation on the basketball floor. I thank everyone for their love and support, especially my teammates, coaches and the BYU administration that have been an incredible support system. Go Cougs!”

Emery’s return, even if it is delayed by nine games, is significant for the Cougars in that it not only adds veteran talent back to the roster, but it helps fill the void created by Elijah Bryant’s decision to turn pro this offseason after leading BYU with 18.2 points per game.

BYU went 24-11 last season and was ousted in the first round of the NIT.

BYU adds commit for 2019

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BYU added a commitment from a high school senior this week, but the Cougars won’t be seeing him on campus until 2019.

Kolby Lee, a 6-foot-9 forward from Idaho, pledged to BYU on Monday evening, but won’t suit up until after serving a two-year mission for the Church of Latter Day Saints, according to the Deseret News.

“I had a great feeling about BYU, and I prayed about it,” Lee told the paper. “I just feel like it’s the right fit for me. It just seems right. It feels right.”

Lee chose BYU over offers from  Utah State, Boise State and UC Davis. He was rated a four-star prospect by ESPN and three by Scout.

His decision to forego immediately joining BYU certainly isn’t a new wrinkle for the Cougars, who routinely see their players either delay their initial eligibility or pause it mid-career while serving on missions.

Rose’s transfer to BYU becomes official

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His commitment came more than a month ago, but L.J. Rose’s transfer to BYU became official Tuesday.

The former Houston guard was officially announced as an immediately-eligible graduate transfer by BYU on Tuesday. He’ll bring much needed help to a Cougars backcourt that lost Kyle Collinsworth and Chase Fischer to graduation and Jordan Chatman and Jack Toolson to transfers.

“L.J. will add great experience and talent to our guard line,” BYU coach Dave Rose said in a statement released by BYU. “We’re excited about the leadership he will bring on the court and in the locker room. He will make us a deeper and more versatile team.”

As a junior, L.J. Rose averaged 9.8 points and 5.3 assists, but a foot injury limited him to just two games last season and allowed him to receive a medical redshirt and the opportunity to be a graduate transfer for his final collegiate season. He’ll be a big part of BYU’s attempt to build on last year’s 26-11 season as a former top-100 recruit, who began his career at Baylor, on a team in need of an infusion of talent after absorbing the losses from last year’s roster.

His father, Lynden, Sr., was a teammate of BYU coach Dave Rose at Houston during the program’s Phi Slama Jama era.

Beehive Classic features Utah, BYU, Utah State, Weber State

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) The University of Utah, BYU, Utah State and Weber State will play in a December basketball tournament called the Beehive Classic starting this season and running through 2019. The event will be held at the home of the Utah Jazz.

Larry H. Miller Sports & Entertainment, the ownership branch of the Jazz and Vivint Smart Home Arena, announced the tournament Thursday.

It will feature one night of two games each year with every team playing the other two over the span of three years.

BYU will play Weber State and Utah State faces Utah on Dec. 9, 2017. On Dec. 8, 2018, it’s Utah State vs. Weber State followed by Utah vs. BYU. On Dec. 14, 2019, it’s Weber State vs. Utah and BYU vs. Utah State.

Houston transfer headed to BYU

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BYU bolstered its suddenly thin backcourt Wednesday night.

The Cougars received a commitment from Houston graduate transfer L.J. Rose, according to reports.

Rose averaged 9.8 points and 5.3 rebounds per game as a junior in 2014-15 before a foot injury limited him to limited him to just two games last season. His addition in Provo is certainly welcome after the Cougars lost Jordan Chatman last week to a transfer, which followed guard Jake Toolson also transferring.

The 6-foot-3, 200-pound Rose, who began his career at Baylor before transferring to Houston, will certainly give the Cougars another option in the backcourt as they look to build on last year’s 26-11 campaign after the graduation of guards Kyle Collinsworth and Chase Fischer. The defections of Chatman and Toolson severely limited coach Dave Rose’s depth in the backcourt, but adding a graduate transfer of Rose’s caliber – he was once a top-100 recruit – is simply a major move considering June is already nearly half over.