NCAA suspends BYU's leading scorer for nine games due to NBA Draft paperwork errors
New coach Mark Pope has a great roster in place, but he'll be without star Yoeli Childs for the first leg of the season
The NCAA suspended BYU star Yoeli Childs for the first nine games of the 2019-20 season after it was determined he did not submit appropriate paperwork while testing the NBA Draft process out earlier this year.
Childs, who led the Cougars in scoring with 21.2 points per game, made the error while working with an agent, the NCAA said. Those errors included impermissible expenses, which Childs has since paid back -- plus interest.
"There was some confusion with this new process, and I made decisions that have caused an outcome that none of us like," Childs said at a press conference on Friday. "I just want everyone to know that my intent was never to do something wrong."
BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe came to Childs' side, blaming a shifting NBA Draft landscape in part for the mistake that will wind up costing Childs nearly one-third of his senior season.
"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. 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," Holmoe said via The Salt Lake Tribune. "We are disappointed with the NCAA's decision to withhold nine games of his senior season. Yoeli … clearly communicated his desire to return to BYU to graduate and compete with his teammates. Yoeli Childs is an outstanding student athlete with a bright future."
Student-athletes with eligibility remaining are, under new NCAA rules, allowed to sign with agents, explore the NBA Draft process and still return to school so long as they submit paperwork prior to the early withdrawal deadline -- so long as the agent is NCAA-certified. Childs checked every box, but there may have been a snag with the certification of the agent he worked with.
"There is never going to be a situation like this in the future, because the way these rules were changed, they are only for this year," Childs said. "There are certain certifications and certain processes that will happen in the future. There is never going to be another case like this."
As a junior last season for BYU, Childs averaged 9.7 rebounds and shot 32.3 percent from the 3-point line en route to earning All-West Coast Conference First Team honors.
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