The NCAA is no stranger to questionable decisions, and it was back on its high horse on Friday, handing a nine-game suspension to BYU basketball star Yoeli Childs because he signed with an agent before filing paperwork required by the NCAA.
Seems pretty straightforward, but it isn’t — considering the details.
The NCAA allowed players to sign with agents, test the draft waters and then return to school for the first time this year. Childs did that, and he received some expenses from his agent. Despite paying back the money that he received (plus interest!), the NCAA still struck down its hammer.
The money that Childs took was legal. Still, he technically may have broken the rule regarding filing paperwork.
“Amid the confusion of the NCAA allowing student athletes to sign with agents and still return to school, Yoeli was caught in the transition of a changing landscape,” BYU Athletic Director Tom Holmoe said. “We are disappointed with the NCAA’s decision to withhold nine games of his senior season.”
Not good for anyone
Childs addressed the media on Friday and said he never intended to do anything wrong. This appears to be a case of confusion over the new NCAA rule. It is a good thing that players can hire an agent and see what they are worth before deciding to turn pro, but leave it to the NCAA to somehow mess this up.
This decision helps nobody — not Childs, not BYU and not the NCAA. Childs averaged 21.2 points and 9.7 rebounds last season as a junior at BYU, and could have declared for the draft or played overseas. But he chose to return to school, and now has nine fewer opportunities to show pro scouts his value and reach his potential.
BYU obviously loses its best player for a chunk of the season. And the NCAA just created more confusion and unnecessary criticism for itself over a rule that is objectively a good thing.
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