If the BYU basketball team’s 2018-19 schedule follows a similar calendar to last season’s, junior guard Nick Emery will return to the court in time for a Dec. 8 game vs. Utah at Vivint Smart Home Arena.
Emery will miss the first nine games of the season, BYU announced Thursday, after what the school labeled the NCAA’s completion of a “review of the reinstatement request” for him.
Emery withdrew from school in November, citing the emotional effects of a recent divorce, after having played in the team’s exhibition games. BYU had confirmed in late October that it was “working with the NCAA” regarding Emery, in what The Salt Lake Tribune reported as an investigation into extra benefits Emery may have received from a booster, in violation of NCAA rules.
Emery announced this spring via social media that he would return to the school and coach Dave Rose said recently that he was expecting him to play this season, pending the NCAA’s response. Emery will rejoin the team for summer workouts, beginning late June.
The investigation delved into reports that BYU booster Brandon Tyndall paid for travel and gave Emery the use of a new car, The Tribune reported. In October, Tyndall said: “In my opinion, he will be cleared.”
If Emery is available to play against Utah, he would face the Utes for the first time since he was ejected and suspended for punching guard Brandon Taylor in a 2015 game in Salt Lake City, leading Ute coach Larry Krystkowiak to buy out a scheduled rivalry game in 2016. BYU beat Utah last December, when the series resumed in Provo.
Last season, BYU’s 10th game was against Weber State in the Zions Bank Beehive Classic on Dec. 9; the four-team event will pair BYU vs. Utah and Utah State vs. Weber State this year. The NCAA is allowing schools to open the 2018-19 season Nov. 6, four days earlier than last year. The Cougars reportedly will visit Nevada that night; the Wolf Pack are expected to be ranked in the preseason Top 10.
BYU’s other known dates for nonconference games are in mid-December or later – against UNLV, San Diego State and Mississippi State on the road. The Cougars’ other published nonconference opponents are Utah Valley, Utah State and Houston at home and Weber State and Illinois State on the road.
BYU will play two more nonconference games than last season, with the West Coast Conference schedule being reduced from 18 games to 16 in 2018-19.
The Cougar basketball program was “extremely excited” to announce Emery’s return, via its Twitter account.
Emery became the fourth sophomore in school history to score 1,000 points in his career, while averaging 14.7 points over two seasons. He made the All-WCC second team as a freshman. He will have two more seasons to play with former Lone Peak High School teammate TJ Haws, who also will be a junior in 2018-19.