It turns out Yoeli Childs’ return to BYU basketball for his senior season isn’t all roses after all.
The NCAA, when reinstating Childs’ eligibility after he withdrew from the NBA Draft, has suspended the star forward for nine games to open the 2019-20 season, the school announced Friday.
NCAA rules allow underclassmen to enter the NBA Draft and sign with an agent to arrange workouts and travel, but later withdraw from the draft and cut ties with the agent, allowing them to return to school and keep eligibility. Agents are allowed to cover certain expenses during that time.
This is a process most recently used by players like Childs and Weber State guard Jerrick Harding.
But in Childs’ case, the NCAA “determined that Childs’ signing with an agent was impermissible due to the fact that he signed before filing paperwork required by the NCAA,” the statement from BYU said.
BYU appealed the suspension to no avail.
“It was determined that Childs received expenses not permitted by the NCAA — costs related to a basketball trainer and travel expenses,” the statement said. “Childs promptly payed back all of the expenses, plus interest.”
BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe said in the statement that Childs was “honest and forthright throughout the reinstatement process.”
“He chose to test the waters of turning professional and thought he was doing what was right to maintain his eligibility, which would allow him to return for his senior year,” Holmoe said. “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. We are disappointed with the NCAA’s decision to withhold nine games of his senior season.”
BYU has not released its 2019-20 schedule so it is unclear what games Childs will miss. Typically, the 10th game, when he can return, would come in early December — taking a large chunk of non-conference play but allowing Childs to return for the West Coast Conference schedule.
It will definitely mean Childs misses three games to be played at the Maui Invitational in late November, where BYU is slated to play UCLA in the first game.
The impact is big, to understate it, as Childs is expected to contend for conference player of the year honors. BYU also has two scholarships tied up in forwards Wyatt Lowell and Richard Harward, who must sit out this season after transferring from Utah Valley. Thus, BYU’s frontcourt will be fairly thin until Childs returns.