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Arizona basketball coach Sean Miller may be directly caught up in the payments to players from an agency.
Per ESPN, wiretaps recorded Miller talking about a payment from agency worker Christian Dawkins to Arizona freshman DeAndre Ayton. And Miller wanted to be very involved with it.
According to people with knowledge of the FBI investigation, Miller and Dawkins, a runner working for ASM Sports agent Andy Miller, had multiple conversations about Ayton. When Dawkins asked Sean Miller if he should work with assistant coach Emanuel “Book” Richardson to finalize their agreement, Miller told Dawkins he should deal directly with him when it came to money, the sources said.
The telephone calls between Miller and Dawkins were among 3,000 hours of conversations intercepted from Dawkins’ phone alone by the FBI.
A Yahoo Sports report Friday morning exposed spreadsheets kept by Dawkins that tracked payments that could potentially violate NCAA rules. Richardson was one of three assistant coaches arrested in the fall by the FBI on corruption charges related to payments to players.
Given there are thousands of hours of wiretapped calls by the FBI, it seems doubtful that Miller is the only college basketball head coach who was caught making potentially incriminating statements while his remarks were being recorded.
Ayton is one of the best freshmen in the country. He’s widely expected to be a top-five pick and the freshman post player is averaging nearly 20 points per game for the Wildcats.
NCAA president Mark Emmert issued a statement regarding the Yahoo report on Friday.
“These allegations, if true, point to systematic failures that must be fixed and fixed now if we want college sports in America. Simply put, people who engage in this kind of behavior have no place in college sports. They are an affront to all those who play by the rules. Following the Southern District of New York’s indictments last year, the NCAA Board of Governors and I formed the independent Commission on College Basketball, chaired by Condoleezza Rice, to provide recommendations on how to clean up the sport. With these latest allegations, it’s clear this work is more important now than ever. The Board and I are completely committed to making transformational changes to the game and ensuring all involved in college basketball do so with integrity. We also will continue to cooperate with the efforts of federal prosecutors to identify and punish the unscrupulous parties seeking to exploit the system through criminal acts.”
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