PROVO — Had Michael Loyd Jr. fulfilled his obligations better to BYU, been more accountable to the conditions of attending the university and playing for its basketball program, he'd still be a Cougar.
On Wednesday, for the first time since announcing last week that he and Loyd had "mutually" agreed for Loyd to leave BYU's basketball program, Cougar coach Dave Rose gave a few more specifics.
"Mike and I had a lot of discussions over the past couple of years, and I thought Mike was progressing really nicely in our program, especially as a player on the floor; he showed tremendous progress, especially late in the season this year. ... The situation with Mike basically came down to accountability issues, responsibility issues and things that we had discussed many times. When it came right down to it, we just felt that the direction that we were going as a team and as a program, and the things we felt were really, really important, that Mike kind of struggled with some of those issues. So the best thing for us to do was to kind of go different directions."
Loyd leaving is not a case of him being impatient with his playing opportunity, where he likely would have served as back-up next season to guards Jimmer Fredette and Jackson Emery.
"We would both like for this to be different, but we both knew this was the best thing to do," Rose said.
When asked for details on what specifically Loyd struggled with, Rose responded, "There are high expectations here. It's difficult. And you have to be able to not just be consistent in one area. You have to be consistent in your academic approach. You have to be consistent in your team approach. You have to be consistent in your social commitment. You have to be consistent in a lot of things that happen here. With Mike, he wasn't in a situation where he wasn't capable of doing that. It was consistency that was the issue. ... The best way to try to explain this is that if Mike felt like this was the best place for him to continue under the expectations that we had for him, that he'd still be a part of the team."
Even though Loyd is leaving BYU in good academic standing, which keeps him eligible to play next season for a Division I school and be scholarship eligible for a Division I school, he still struggled academically at BYU.
"It was a challenge, but it's a challenge for a lot of students here at BYU and athletes here at BYU," Rose said.
Rose said he and his staff still have a good relationship with Loyd and his family.
"Our staff is totally committed to helping him," Rose said.
Loyd is currently deciding whether to take the Division II or lower route, where he can play for the next two seasons, or transfer to a Division I program and sit out next season to play only one season after that.
"Once he decides that and becomes comfortable with that decision, then there are plenty of opportunities either way," Rose said.35 comments on this story
However, the general release that BYU has granted does not supersede the Mountain West Conference transfer rules, which takes away an additional year of eligibility for a transfer to another MWC school. Therefore, Loyd cannot transfer to another MWC program. His brother Jon recently signed with Oregon, and brother Kevin is also planning to transfer from Grambling after playing two seasons there.
"This was one of the toughest things you do as a coach," Rose said. "You want to make sure you're doing the right thing for both parties. In this situation, I think Mike and I both think this is the right thing to do."
The Deseret News has attempted to contact Loyd several times for comment, but he has not responded. Rose said that Loyd does not want to discuss the matter with the media.