BYU Pepperdine Basketball

BYU forward Yoeli Childs, left, celebrates after scoring and drawing a foul as Pepperdine forward Kameron Edwards stands nearby during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019, in Malibu, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Here’s what’s going on inside Darnell’s head as I face yet another birthday. You know, when I was born, I was so surprised I didn’t speak for a year and a half.

Maybe it’s my advancing age, but I’m about to go on a rant here, so proceed at your own risk.

The

long arm of the law

BYU fans are pretty upset about the NCAA’s nine-game suspension of basketball star Yoeli Childs due to a paperwork error, and for good reason. The NCAA is unable or unwilling to attack corruption among Power 5 programs — assistant coaches paying thousands of dollars to recruits, rampant academic fraud to keep star players eligible — and drops the hammer on BYU for essentially self-reporting an honest mistake.

It’s obvious that the NCAA is really only good at one thing — counting the stacks of money it makes off of the amateur athletes in their charge. As for the student-athlete’s best interests, that would require integrity, compassion and common sense, attributes completely foreign to the stuffed shirts sitting in their fiefdom in Indianapolis.

There’s plenty of blame to go around for the confusion in Childs’ decisions. It seems to me the agent he hired should have been on top of whatever paperwork is required, but he took the job thinking pro contracts, not about if Childs suddenly decided to return to school. It’s also troubling that this is the second player suspension at BYU in the past two seasons. Last year, Nick Emery was suspended for nine games by the NCAA for accepting more than $12,000 in vacations, meals, golf and cash from boosters.

Emery’s infractions seem much, much more serious than those committed by Childs, yet the suspension is the same number of games.

That hardly seems equitable.

Childs was essentially on his own in going through the process of turning pro since Dave Rose and his staff had all moved on. BYU’s laborious hiring process left a sizable gap between coaches. It makes you wonder how much a director of basketball operations might have helped Childs during this time. And how much blame goes to BYU’s own compliance staff? Where were they during this process? And is it their responsibility to advise even when an athlete has left the program?

Regardless, BYU fans and coaches can stomp their feet and hold their breath until their faces turn blue all they want. The NCAA already turned down any appeals and Childs is essentially going to be sitting through the first third of his senior season.

It’s a huge blow to a team already thin at the post position. BYU has applied for a waiver for Utah Valley transfer Richard Harward (6-foot-11) but I can’t think anyone is optimistic the NCAA will grant it.

BYU hasn’t released its preseason schedule, but it would appear Childs could miss some pretty important games, including three at the Maui Invitational around Thanksgiving. All of those games are opportunities to make a jump in the NET rankings. Once the Cougars hit West Coast Conference play, the only opportunities to increase their NET are against Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s.

A slow start due to Childs’ suspension will probably mean the only entry for BYU into the NCAA Tournament will be winning a WCC Tournament that has been dominated by Gonzaga — and to a lesser extent, Saint Mary’s — for the better part of two decades.

Childs said he refuses to let the NCAA decision ruin what could be a magical season. His will is strong, but the odds will certainly be stacked against the Cougars in 2019-20.

Stil

l a Cougar

Childs is essentially being punished for nine games because he wanted to return to college to earn his degree. By the way, it should be pointed out that Childs could have thrown up his hands because of the NCAA’s ridiculous actions and taken a lucrative overseas offer. Instead, he chose to come back to the school he loves, sit the nine games, support his teammates and finish out his career at BYU. That kind of loyalty is rare and refreshing.

Can’

t stop them

It appears there is little anyone can do to make the NCAA accountable. I would suggest making them drive the roller-coaster ride that is the 2100 North exit of Interstate 15 in Lehi to break their will.

Bad

luck follows

It’s been a tough run for BYU basketball program.

No NCAA Tournament berth since 2015. This spring the program loses Dave Rose, who retired. Some would say that is a positive, but Rose is the school’s all-time winningest coach and provided some amazing highlights in his career. Then Nick Emery retires. Then a prize recruit, Wasatch Academy’s Maddy Sissoko, breaks his hand while on his visit to BYU.

And don’t forget the women’s program. Fresh off a WCC Tournament title and a trip to the NCAAs, top player Shaylee Gonzalez blows out her knee and will miss the 2019-20 season.

Somebody needs to turn around that horseshoe at the Marriott Center Annex. All the luck is leaking out.

Tast

y

If you took an Olympic gold medal and broke it down into edible ingredients, it would taste like this new ice cream cake my wife made for my birthday. I’d share the recipe, but then she’d have to kill me.

No,

it’s all good

Utah football coach Kyle Whittingham and feature running back Zack Moss both told reporters this week that Moss is good to go.

Even though Moss was wearing a cast on his arm.

Other bits of wisdom from Whittingham and Moss: The sky is not blue, there are not 24 hours in a day and the best movie of the year is “A Madea Family Funeral.”

When coaches are asked about injuries, they often fall back on the “Hey, I’m no doctor” defense. We know that and we don’t need a detailed explanation of the injury. But is saying, “Yeah, Zack is hurt but we expect him to be back for the BYU game” really that hard? Does that give away the game plan and put you at a competitive disadvantage? Does that put you in danger of being in breach of HIPAA regulations?

After a closed scrimmage on Saturday, Whittingham greeted the media with, “You guys missed one heck of a scrimmage.”

Seems that Whittingham, who makes millions of dollars a year to coach a game, is having a good time at the expense of a lot of hard-working journalists who are just trying to do their jobs. Not funny, and not cool.

That’s all, but for this: For my birthday, I told my wife to surprise me with something that goes from zero to 250 in five seconds. So she bought me a bathroom scale.

Have a great week.

Follow Darnell Dickson on Twitter @darnellwrites or e-mail him at ddickson@heraldextra.com.

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