A new report from the Salt Lake Tribune alleges that BYU and the NCAA are currently investigating ties between Nick Emery and a booster, including the possibility that the basketball star received improper benefits.
The Tribune reports that the school has hired a law firm with expertise in NCAA infractions to probe whether Emery received travel benefits, concert tickets and the use of a leased car (the title for which was subsequently transferred to Emery’s parents) from BYU alumnus Brand Tyndall, in violation of NCAA rules. You can read the Tribune’s full article if you want all the details.
While Emery and his family have not returned calls from reporters, Tyndall has denied any impropriety:
In an interview Thursday, Tyndall said he and Emery have done nothing wrong.
“Every single item, he has paid,” Tyndall said. “Everything has been billed. There has been absolutely nothing given to him. We’re friends.”
The NCAA can make exceptions if a booster had a relationship with and provided benefits to the student-athlete before he or she enrolled. Tyndall declined to say how long he has known Emery.
Tyndall said there is documentation of Emery paying for the travel, and it has all been given to the NCAA.
“In my opinion, he will be cleared,” Tyndall said.
So where do things go from here?
Based on previous NCAA rulings, the nature and history of the relationship between Emery and Tyndall figures to play a significant role in the outcome of the investigation.
A source close to the BYU program tells Vanquish The Foe that Emery has known Tyndall “for years,” and that their families “have been family friends for a long, long time.” The details are important, but that type of pre-existing relationship could go a long way toward exonerating Emery of any wrong-doing.
What would go even further, though, is the presence of proof that Emery paid his own way for the travel and events in question. If Tyndall’s statements are accurate and everything has been documented, it would seem that Emery has — as the kids say online these days — “the receipts.”
Either way, this saga will likely play out over the next several weeks and potentially even months. From Dave Rose’s perspective, things can’t be decided soon enough. Any cloud of uncertainty that hangs over your team, particularly with a brand new season just getting under way, can only be an unwelcome distraction. He would certainly prefer to clear this up quickly and move on with the season.
Emery obviously played in the team’s Cougar Tip-off scrimmage on Tuesday night, which would seem to indicate that neither the coaching staff nor the university are moving too swiftly to sideline him as the investigation continues. We’ll ultimately get a resolution one way or another — and there will be plenty of time for consequences (if appropriate) once all the facts come out.