Nick Emery has withdrawn from Brigham Young University and its basketball team amid an NCAA investigation into alleged booster improprieties that had thrown his eligibility into question.
“I have decided to withdraw from BYU today,” Emery said in a statement released Friday evening. “Unfortunately, I am mentally not where I need to be in order to perform in basketball and in school this year. As it has been made known, I went through a divorce this year and it has been really difficult for me. I have confidence that I will come back stronger and better. I have every intention on coming back to BYU and representing Cougar nation on the basketball floor. I thank everyone for their love and support, especially my teammates, coaches and the BYU administration that have been an incredible support system. Go Cougs!”
The divorce Emery refers to in his statement was filed May 30 and finalized Oct. 3, according to court records.
BYU says it began investigating allegations first made in the spring, submitted its findings to the NCAA and awaits a decision from college athletics’ governing body.
The junior guard had practiced and played in exhibition contests until last week, when BYU coach Dave Rose said he would keep Emery sidelined until the NCAA ruled on the case.
Emery started exhibition games for the Cougars against New Mexico and Westminster College, but he sat out Wednesday’s exhibition against Colorado College. He played 18 minutes against New Mexico in late October, scoring two points, and he played four minutes against Westminster on Nov. 1
“Nick’s personal well-being is my number one concern right now,” Rose said in a statement. “He’s going through a very difficult time, and we’ve had a lot of discussions about what he needs to do to be able to move forward. We both feel like the best thing for him is to take time off before continuing with his basketball career. As coaches and his teammates, we want what is best for Nick, and we know he has a great family that will help him navigate this difficult time. We look forward to welcoming him back at BYU soon.”
The Salt Lake Tribune reported last month that among the allegations BYU investigated was Emery’s relationship with Brandon Tyndall, a Cougar Club member and an executive at his family’s travel company. BYU was made aware of allegations last spring that Tyndall may have provided Emery with improper benefits, including use of a car and travel to California and Canada.
“Every single item, he has paid,” Tyndall told The Tribune last month. “Everything has been billed. There has been absolutely nothing given to him. We’re friends.”
Emery, 23, had been a starter for the Cougars since his freshman season. Last year, he averaged 13.1 points and three rebounds per game, a drop in statistical production from his freshman season, in which he averaged 16.3 points and 3.5 rebounds per game.
As of Friday night, Emery was still listed on BYU’s roster online.