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BYU’s Holmoe says ruling on improper benefits imminent

A.D. Holmoe says he doesn’t “see this as a major case” for NCAA.

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Provo • BYU should learn this week whether it will be punished by the NCAA for providing alleged improper benefits to some of its student-athletes, Director of Athletics Tom Holmoe told reporters Wednesday in a far-reaching roundtable discussion regarding the school’s sports programs.

Holmoe said BYU submitted the findings of its own internal investigation to the NCAA months ago after allegations surfaced regarding former director of football operations Duane Busby. The school recently heard from the NCAA that it "is going to review our case in the next couple of days, or something," Holmoe said.

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The athletic director said he doesn’t expect the punishments to be severe.

He said BYU did not suggest punishments, such as scholarship reductions or players missing games, as other schools have done, to the NCAA

"I don’t like to make predictions on what the NCAA is going to do in cases," Holmoe said. "We followed the protocol and procedures. We feel good about what we have done, and I think I can say this: I don’t see this as a major case."

Holmoe declined to say how many athletes were involved in the investigation, or give any names.

"It is a violation of a rule, like so many schools see. We have written it up, and put it in, and are waiting the response," he said. "I hate to use the word "routine," but we have played by the policies and procedures, as expected, and are waiting for an answer."

Holmoe said no athletic department employees were fired as a result of the investigation, including Busby, who resigned in March.

"He resigned on his own. ….We had conversations maybe a year or two previous to that about him moving on to other things. At that time, he had actually talked to me about moving on to another job, or doing something else in his career. So the timing was unfortunate. But he had told me he was moving on the year before," Holmoe said.

More revelations and announcements from Holmoe on Wednesday:

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• BYU’s scheduled six-game football series with Notre Dame is in jeopardy of not being finished. The Cougars have played two games in South Bend, Ind., and are waiting for the Irish to say when they will play in Provo. However, Notre Dame’s scheduling agreement with the Atlantic Coast Conference has thrown a wrench into the plans.

"The Notre Dame series is in question right now, because they changed everything. … But we want that series," Holmoe said, noting that he talks a lot with Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick and that BYU is being patient. He did acknowledge that Notre Dame may end up buying its way out of the contract.

• Holmoe reiterated previous statements that BYU is willing to do whatever it takes to "stay competitive" with schools from the so-called Power 5 conferences when new NCAA governance rules go into effect regarding autonomy of those schools to provide cost-of-attendance stipends and other benefits to student-athletes.

"I think there are some positive results that will come from that for the student-athletes. … I think there are some things that people will have to work out, and work through," Holmoe said, noting he has talked to athletic directors from schools big and small, and "Everybody is wondering what they are going to do."

Holmoe said BYU has been monitoring the possible move to Power 5 autonomy for several years. He does not believe any sports at BYU are in danger of being cut.

"We have a vision of what we are going to do for the time being, as we move forward. But I don’t think there is one school in the country that knows exactly what they are going to do," he said. "You are going to see all kinds of creative ideas."

Holmoe said BYU has already put in a "nutrition center" for its student-athletes with nuts, fruits, bagels and protein shakes.

"Now, you can have anything down there, food-wise, so that changes the direction we are taking that," he said. "Now, we have another plan, and another budget."

• Holmoe said he has spoken to the commissioners of the ACC and SEC after both conferences announced in the spring that their schools had to play at least one non-conference football game a year against a Power 5 program, and that they didn’t consider BYU at that level. He wasn’t able to change any minds.

"They have kept their policy and we are going to continue on to schedule as we want," he said.

So far, Holmoe said there hasn’t been any fallout from those decisions.

"When that happened, it was their business, and I have actually spoken to both commissioners about their policy, and we have had conversations," he said. "I am going to continue to schedule the best I can. We will go after and try to schedule schools from all conferences."

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