The obvious assumption upon learning BYU transfer Michael Loyd Jr. had a previously undisclosed history of minor legal trouble is that this is why the school opted to part ways with the promising guard last month.
Trouble is, BYU is insisting Loyd kept any legal issues hidden from the school and none of the coaches knew anything about it.
According to a Salt Lake Tribune report, Loyd amassed seven speeding tickets in the past 26 months and had also been cited for driving on a denied license and failure to show proof of insurance. Court records show he was also charged in January 2009 with possession of a controlled substance (marijuana) and unlawful possession of alcohol by a minor.
Even minor issues like these might be enough to run afoul of BYU's honor code, but assuming we can take school officials at face value, the coaching staff was as blindsided by this as anyone. Instead, it continues to fall back on its previous explanation that Loyd was in "good standing" with the school academically and in relation to the honor code but was kicked off the team as a result of other issues pertaining to "accountability" and "responsibility."
The truth is we'll probably never know why BYU forced out a redshirt sophomore guard who averaged 24.6 minutes in the final seven games last season, scored 26 points in a first-round NCAA tourney win and seemed poised to become a breakout star.
Last week, Loyd said academics were a factor, but insisted that if it were up to him he'd have returned to school. Sources had previously told the Salt Lake Tribune that Loyd didn't fit in at the school, citing his piercings and trademark Mohawk haircut.
Whatever the reason, the whole story is a sad one. Loyd sacrifices a year of eligibility unless he opts to finish his career at a Division II school, and BYU loses a fan favorite who would have been an integral part of next season's team.