- Senior college football writer
- Author of seven books on college football
- Graduate of the University of Georgia
The University of Arizona has been charged with nine alleged rules violations, including five Level I charges, the most serious under NCAA rules, following a multiyear investigation of its men’s basketball program, sources confirmed to ESPN on Sunday.
The Athletic, which first reported the number of allegations, also reported on Sunday that Arizona has been charged with lack of institutional control and failure to monitor, and Wildcats coach Sean Miller has been charged with lack of head coach control.
The Athletic reported that it obtained the information from a letter that Arizona’s outside attorney, Paul Kelly, sent to the NCAA requesting that the infractions case be referred to the Independent Accountability Resolution Process (IARP), which was formed to handle complex cases.
On Friday, Arizona officials acknowledged receiving a notice of allegations from the NCAA, but declined to release it or provide details.
A special meeting of the Arizona board of regents is scheduled for Monday.
The Athletic reported that Wildcats women’s swimming and diving coach Augie Busch also is charged with a head coach control violation.
Arizona is the eighth university to publicly acknowledge receiving an NCAA notice of allegations related to information obtained from a federal investigation into bribes and other misconduct in college basketball, joining Kansas, Louisville, NC State, Oklahoma State, South Carolina, TCU and USC.
The NCAA enforcement staff also accused LSU coach Will Wade of either arranging for or offering “impermissible payments” to at least 11 potential recruits or others around them, according to documents obtained by ESPN in August. The LSU case also will be handled by the IARP, along with those involving Kansas, Louisville and NC State.
Sources had previously told ESPN that Alabama, Auburn and Creighton were also under investigation, but none of those schools have confirmed receiving a notice of allegations.
Former Arizona assistant Emanuel “Book” Richardson was one of four former assistant coaches who pleaded guilty for their roles in the federal bribery case. He pleaded guilty to one felony count of conspiracy to commit bribery in a plea deal, after prosecutors accused him of accepting $20,000 to steer Arizona players to certain managers and financial advisers once they turned pro. A judge sentenced him to three months in prison and two years of probation.
During one of the federal criminal trials, prosecutors played a wiretap recording to the jury in which Richardson told aspiring manager Christian Dawkins that Miller was paying then-Wildcats star center Deandre Ayton $10,000 per month while he was enrolled at the school.
Dawkins and Richardson were discussing how to recruit Ayton as a client to Dawkins’ fledgling sports management company.
While talking about Ayton, Richardson told Dawkins, “Sean’s got to get the [expletive] out of the way and let us work.”
“We’ll see how Sean plays it out,” Dawkins said.
“You know what he bought per month?” Richardson asked.
“What he do?” Dawkins asked.
“I told you — 10,” Richardson replied.
“He’s putting up some real money for them [expletive],” Dawkins responded. “He told me he’s getting killed.”
“But that’s his fault,” Richardson said.
During the same recording, Dawkins indicated then-Wildcats guard Rawle Alkins was also receiving improper benefits while playing at Arizona.
“You already know Sean is taking care of Rawle and them,” Dawkins said.
In the HBO documentary “The Scheme,” which was released earlier this year, Dawkins said, “Book was loyal to Sean. Arizona was definitely more open to getting some s— done.”
When director Pete Kondelis asked Dawkins about his conversation with Richardson in which they discussed Ayton, Dawkins said, “I’m being told that Sean is the one financing the Deandre Ayton situation.”
Miller has denied paying Ayton, who was the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NBA draft, or any other player to sign with Arizona.
“I never have, and I never will,” Miller said during a news conference in March 2018.
When Kondelis asked Dawkins about Miller’s comments during that news conference, Dawkins said,
“When Sean Miller had his press conference, I literally thought of Book, and I was like, ‘S—, I mean Sean should have his own like movie agent or a manager, like he should be an actor. That was a very high-level … I was convinced, honestly.”
When Dawkins was asked by Kondelis if Miller was telling the truth, he replied, “When Sean Miller had his press conference and said has a player from Arizona ever received money or did he know anything about a player from Arizona receiving money, did he lie? Yeah, that wasn’t true.”
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