Arizona launches independent investigation into Richardson scandal

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Matt Moreno, Senior Editor
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Tuesday, Arizona was one of the last schools directly involved with the FBI's indictment of college basketball coaches to release a statement. UA assistant coach Emanuel "Book" Richardson was one of four college coaches arrested and charged with fraud, bribery and corruption in the federal case. Eventually, the school did release a statement announcing that Richardson was suspended and relieved of all his duties.

Wednesday evening the school went a step further initiating the process of dismissing the Arizona assistant coach. In his weekly Wildcat Wednesday newsletter athletic director Dave Heeke condemned Richardson's actions and announced the launching of an investigation into the matter.

"After we became aware of the allegations, the university initiated a full internal investigation, which remains ongoing," Heeke wrote. "On Tuesday, Richardson was immediately suspended, and then earlier today, the university initiated the dismissal process against him.

"I want to reiterate. We pride ourselves on fostering a culture of compliance. We have and will continue to have a positive and productive relationship with the NCAA through our compliance programs. These programs afford us the opportunity to engage with our coaches and student-athletes through a variety of tools, including rules education, monitoring, and regular in-person interaction.

"We have not, and will not, tolerate those that operate outside NCAA rules. This is not how we expect our university and this athletics department to be represented, and we assure you that we will continue to prioritize integrity in all that we do."

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Matt Moreno/GOAZCATS.com

In addition to Heeke, UA President Robert C. Robbins also released a statement and reiterated that Arizona has started the process of dismissing Richardson as a coach at the school and announced that there will be an independent investigation into the situation.

"I have directed the University of Arizona to initiate an independent investigation into the alleged actions of Emanuel Richardson and to retain an external law firm to conduct the investigation.

"We also have reviewed the specific factual allegations in the criminal complaint and have initiated the dismissal process against Mr. Richardson.

"The University of Arizona expects everyone who is part of our campus community to adhere to the highest ethical standards of behavior. Arizona Athletics has a strong culture of compliance that begins at the top and extends throughout the organization. Specifically, the Athletics Department has a documented history of strengthening institutional control by being proactive and comprehensive through rules education and program monitoring."

Following in line with the two important UA figures the Arizona Board of Regents also released a statement Wednesday night regarding the situation.

“The conduct alleged against Emanuel Richardson is absolutely unacceptable," ABOR Chair Bill Ridenour said. "To be clear, the Arizona Board of Regents expects our employees and students to act with the utmost legal and ethical behavior.

"Basketball is a beloved sport at the University of Arizona and throughout Arizona. Such illegal – and unethical – behavior is harmful to those we are most committed to serve and educate – the students. It also violates the spirit and purpose of collegiate sport and its essential construct – the student athlete.

"President Robbins and the UA are fully cooperating with the FBI as the investigation continues, and the University’s Athletics Compliance unit has initiated its own internal investigation based on NCAA rules. Richardson was immediately suspended from his position when the University learned of the charges. Further review of his employment contract is underway. President Robbins has full authorization to engage any external resources and undertake any other reviews necessary to assure the integrity and dignity of the UA Men’s Basketball Program.

"We will maintain our responsibility as stewards of the public trust, especially our students, alumni and fans, in the days and weeks to come. The board will receive additional legal advice regarding the federal investigation and the University’s NCAA obligations at its board meeting this week.”

This remains and ongoing and developing story so continue to check the premium message boards for updates on the big story in Tucson.

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