Nick Emery is up to his hips in trouble.
But how much?
According to published reports, including a story that broke in the Salt Lake Tribune on Friday, the junior guard on BYU’s basketball team is under investigation by the school and the NCAA for receiving improper benefits as a student-athlete.
Speculation is flying left and right about what, if any, penalties he will receive.
Here’s my best guess on what Emery might expect from this investigation.
First of all, BYU has hired an outside law firm familiar with NCAA investigations to help in determining what infractions he may be involved in breaking. The NCAA is doing its own investigation and has yet to announce its findings to Emery and BYU as far as is publicly known.
Regardless of the findings, BYU may act on its own and suspend Emery from at least the first regular-season game — just to show the NCAA this is a matter it is taking seriously. BYU’s compliance to NCAA rules has a good track record over the decades and has included many instances of self-reporting.
This means, at least, Emery could play in an exhibition scrimmage against New Mexico and other exhibition games but miss the regular season Mississippi Valley game.
Then, if the NCAA makes a determination in the next day or so, the Emery suspension in the season opener would stand, or he could receive additional suspensions.
One thing to understand about the extra benefits infractions and the NCAA, is that if it involves a prospective recruit as an inducement, it becomes a more serious infraction. If it is a case where an athlete receives benefits after attending school, it is an infraction but the seriousness of the penalty depends on the money value of the benefit.
If the value is small, so is the punishment.
There have been rumors circulating for months that Emery was facing NCAA scrutiny. Some of the allegations, by and who they are from can be labeled as outrageous, crazy and downright silly. Others? Well, I believe he’s going to get nicked and will face the music.
From my knowledge of the case, Emery will be suspended for a few games. This will not kill his season, get him kicked out of school, or removed from the team.
Emery has made some bad choices and he will pay for it. That does not mean he is a bad person. And while things like this happen all the time in college athletics, they should not. Rules are rules.
And the NCAA has a book as thick as a phone directory filled with rules and stipulations. Schools, including BYU, are self-reporting infractions all the time and have full-time staff members to monitor, research and report these infractions to the NCAA.
In my opinion, Emery will pay the price with a suspension of at least one game, maybe two or three. I think there will be an announcement forthwith after this weekend and before the first regular-season game.
But it will not take him out of conference play and may not even count him out of December’s BYU schedule.