- According to an ESPN report, FBI wiretaps recorded University of Arizona head basketball coach Sean Miller discussing a payment of $US100,000 in order to ensure the signing of a top recruit.
- The news is just the latest to break from the ongoing FBI probe into bribery and corruption within college basketball.
- When an Arizona assistant coach was arrested in September, Miller maintained that he knew nothing of potential bribes regarding recruits to the university.
According to a report from ESPN, the FBI intercepted calls in which Miller spoke with Christian Dawkins, a “runner” for sports agent Andy Miller and a central figure of the FBI’s probe. ESPN reports that Miller discussed paying $US100,000 in order to make sure that now-freshman Deandre Ayton signed with Arizona.
Dawkins reportedly asked Miller if he should contact Arizona assistant coach Emanuel Richardson with regard to receiving the payment, but Miller said it was best to deal with him directly instead. Both Dawkins and Richardson were among the 10 people arrested in September as part of the bribery investigation.
On Saturday afternoon, news came out that Miller would not coach the Wildcats in their game against Oregon later that night.
Ayton is now on the Wildcats and widely considered one of the best players in the country. He is averaging 19.6 points and 10.9 rebounds per game and is being discussed as a potential first overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.
Miller had previously denied any knowledge of Richardson’s alleged bribery to bring players to the team.
“As the head basketball coach at the University of Arizona, I recognise my responsibility is not only to establish a culture of success on the basketball court and in the classroom, but as important, to promote and reinforce a culture of compliance,” Miller said in a statement released in September. “To the best of my ability, I have worked to demonstrate this over the past eight years and will continue to do so as we move forward.”
While it looks like Miller may be the next coach to fall to the ongoing FBI investigation, it’s likely he won’t be the last. According to a report from earlier in February, the FBI has reportedly collected “4,000 intercepted calls and thousands of documents and bank records” throughout the course of their probe.
Arizona is currently ranked 14th in the country, and is projected as a #4 seed in the NCAA Tournament.