BYU upset with penalties in Emery ruling by NCAA

BYU officials criticized an NCAA infractions appeals committee's ruling that upheld the vacating of two seasons of the Cougars' men's basketball records as punishment for a pay-for-play scheme involving former guard Nick Emery.

In a statement released by the school Wednesday, BYU officials called the NCAA's ruling "unprecedented" and said the coaching staff and administrators "had no knowledge of or involvement in the infractions."

"The NCAA wrongly suggests that case precedent supports this decision, but the undisputed fact is that this is the first time ever that the NCAA Committee on Infractions (COI) has vacated team records where the institution itself was not aware of and had no involvement in the violations," BYU officials said in a statement.

The NCAA ruled that Emery received more than $12,000 in benefits from four boosters, including travel to concerts and an amusement park, and the use of a car. The NCAA placed BYU on two years' probation and ruled the Cougars must vacate 47 victories from Emery's freshman and sophomore seasons in 2015-16 and 2016-17.

The NCAA previously accepted BYU's self-imposed penalties, which included the loss of one scholarship, disassociation of one of the boosters and a $5,000 fine.

Emery, who averaged 12.6 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.3 assists in three seasons with the Cougars, announced his retirement from college basketball in July. He served a nine-game suspension at the start of his third season at BYU in 2018-19.

"Despite undisputed findings that BYU and former head coach Dave Rose properly monitored and controlled the program and promoted an atmosphere of compliance, the NCAA still determined to punish the university, Coach Rose and the entire men's basketball team, who did not participate in or know about the violations of one student-athlete," the BYU statement said.

"BYU is concerned about the harmful precedent that this case sets and the message it sends to NCAA membership, who may now be punished with a vacation of records, regardless of whether the institution knew about or participated in the violations. BYU strongly disagrees with the NCAA imposing this penalty in a case that included clear findings that there was no lack of institutional control, no failure to monitor and no head coach responsibility for the violations."

In a separate statement, the NCAA said, "[T]he appeals committee noted the participation of an ineligible student-athlete jeopardizes fair competition and provides the university with a competitive advantage. In this case, the university agreed that a student-athlete competed while ineligible."