PROVO — While BYU openly said it's "disappointed" with the severity of punishment the basketball program received after an NCAA investigation, Dave Rose admitted there was a silver lining.
Sure, the Cougars aren't thrilled that they'll be on probation for two years and will be required to vacate all 47 wins they earned when guard Nick Emery played from 2015-17, but at least the NCAA's announcement will allow the program to move on.
In particular, Rose is pleased that this year's team is still eligible to play for a West Coast Conference title and allowed to earn a spot in postseason play.
"No question," Rose said when asked if there's some relief. "We've been sitting on it for a year and a half. The fact that it's resolved and it's over, we can move forward and these guys all know that it's not going to affect this team. That part is definitely a relief."
Emery's ineligibility was the focus of this investigation. The NCAA declared that four BYU boosters gave the Cougar player more than $12,000 in all-inclusive vacations, cash, meals, golf and access to a car — all in violation of rules, the Division I Committee Infractions panel deemed.
Emery sat out last season and will miss the first nine games this year for breaking NCAA rules. The player even received $200 of cash in his locker at the university, leading the committee to determine that BYU didn't properly monitor access of school boosters to its athletes.
BYU will appeal the final decision. Rose is hopeful that will turn out well for the Cougars, but his attention will be on the court.
"I think our guys are excited about the fact that what happened today doesn’t really affect this team. ... We still have everything in front of us, everything to play for," Rose said. "I’m pretty confident the university will handle the business with the NCAA, and that’s how we’ll deal with it."
Rose doesn't anticipate that the sanctions will have much of a long-term effect on the program. The coach, who's been at the helm since 2005 and has compiled a 330-123 record, signed a two-year extension earlier this week to coach BYU through the 2020-21 season.
"I’m excited about that (contract) and look forward to getting these teams together and putting them out there," Rose said. "I still love what I do and I feel good about it and hopefully we can win a lot more games."
Guard TJ Haws, who led BYU to a 75-65 win over Utah Valley on Friday with 23 points, said he tried to pay attention to basketball and not the investigation or the announcement.
"To be honest with you, today, this whole week, I’ve been laser-focused on Utah Valley," the junior said. "I haven’t really looked into it."
Forward Yoeli Childs, who had 20 points and 15 rebounds against UVU, echoed Rose's sentiment that the probation won't bother the Cougars on the court.
"I don’t think it's going to affect our program," Childs said. "I think the school's going to do a great job handling things."1 comment on this story
Rose believes the extent of BYU's punishment for using an ineligible player — the program denies that it knew of the improper benefits given to Emery — will open eyes around NCAA basketball programs.
"I think that what will have to happen is that everybody's going to have to figure out what is really, really a way that they want to check their players," Rose said, "because if that’s what the result is for what is considered to be an ineligible player there’s going to be a lot of disappointed teams over the next few months and years. So we’ll just see how that goes."