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Why BYU senior forward Yoeli Childs is ‘first casualty of NCAA’s new NBA draft rules’

BYU’s Yoeli Childs poses for pictures at media day in Provo on Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Last Friday, it was announced that BYU forward Yoeli Childs had been suspended for nine games at the start of the 2019-20 season for an “impermissible” hiring of an agent before submitting the correct paperwork to the NCAA after declaring for the 2019 NBA Draft.

NBC’s college basketball writer, Rob Dauster, wrote about the punishment and why he thought it was too harsh.

Taken at face value, Childs is the first victim of the the new NCAA rules, and to be clear, he wasn’t the only person that was confused. The NCAA is in the midst of a transition. There are new rules in regards to the process. ... There were smart people in the basketball world that were wondering whether or not the undrafted players that attended this year’s NBA Draft Combine were eligible to return to school this year. I was one of those smart* people, and they are not eligible to return.

*(Debatable.)

Childs had to navigate this process without a head coach to guide him. Dave Rose and BYU parted ways while this was playing out. That’s a tough spot to be in.

And it’s also worth noting that Childs was one of the bigger surprises of the early entry deadline. He seemed destined to stay in the draft, and it would be easy for a cynic to say that Childs realized his mistake — he wasn’t invited to the combine — and decided to use the new rules as a way out.

Either way, some sort of punishment probably had to happen. Rules are rules, and intentional or not, Childs broke those rules. But after Childs paid back all of the impermissible benefits — with interest — and with the added complications of going through this new process without a coach to guide him, nine games seems particularly harsh.

The NCAA has to do something, but considering the mitigating circumstances here — and the fact that the NCAA should want to incentivize players like Childs coming back to school — docking him 30 percent of his senior season is too much when suspending him for three games would have accomplished what they needed to accomplish.