Eye on the Y: Tom Holmoe says BYU is in a ‘good spot’ amid NCAA investigation over NIL deals

Holmoe noted the NCAA is getting out of policing Name, Image and Likeness deals.

If you were confused how the NCAA is enforcing its Name, Image and Likeness policies, you would probably be in the same boat as Tom Holmoe.

In fact, BYU’s athletic director has a theory the NCAA is giving up on policing individual NIL deals. After all, he reasons, the patchwork of rules across the country makes it nearly impossible to enforce.

“You’d think there would be some type of standardization,” Holmoe said last week. “I think the NCAA is already out [of monitoring NIL].”

And for Holmoe to say that is significant. If you remember, it was just two months ago BYU was at the center of an investigation over its NIL deal with Built Bar.

The local protein bar company made a deal with the football program, giving all 123 players on the team compensation. The walk-ons had their tuition paid for. Scholarship athletes received $1,000.

Experts were quick to question this, mostly because it looked like a classic “pay for play” deal the NIL specifically outlaws. A company cannot pay a player simply for being on the roster. It poses a threat to “amateurism” — the rules that still preside over the NCAA (no matter how tentatively these days).

The NCAA reached out to Holmoe and BYU football coach Kalani Sitake. It asked questions and opened an inquiry.

But now, Holmoe says it is all in the past. The NCAA, he thinks, is satisfied.

“I don’t think the word investigation is right,” Holme said. “The NCAA called us up and asked us a number of questions. We gave them the answers. We feel, at this point in time, we are in a good spot.

“We have been under investigation at BYU in the past for NCAA violations and this doesn’t feel anything like those.”

Of course, the matter is not officially over. But in an era where NIL deals are murky, and the rules are murkier, this is about as clear of an answer as Holme hopes to get.

What else are we watching:

• On National Signing Day, BYU’s main emphasis is on adding depth ahead of entering the Big 12. The program brings in the No. 56 rated recruiting class in the country, according to 247Sports. That is a step up from No. 71 in the nation last year.

• BYU women’s basketball coach Jeff Judkins thinks his team can compete with any in the nation.

• BYU men’s basketball is reeling after two bad losses a week ago — including to a Pacific program that hadn’t won a conference game in 336 games. The going will only get tougher as San Francisco and Gonzaga come to town this week. The question will be: Are lineup changes coming as the calendar turns to February?

Will a new rule about LDS temple recommends impact BYU’s football staff?