TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Sean Miller’s job will not be on the line during an Arizona’s Board of Regents meeting Thursday, Nov. 1, according to a report from AZ Central.
On Monday, ABOR announced it would discuss the latest status of the Arizona Wildcats men’s basketball program. The decision came just days after three men were found guilty of fraud in first trial in the national college basketball corruption scandal.
The board said it would meet in executive session at the Arizona State University downtown Phoenix campus for “legal advice and discussion regarding University of Arizona Men’s Basketball.”
Regent Bill Ridenour told AZ Central no one should “read anything into the fact we schedule a special meeting" and the group will have more meetings about the Arizona program in the future.
Thursday’s meeting follows the latest from a scandal and FBI investigation surrounding the program, ever since former assistant coach Emanuel “Book” Richardson was arrested in September 2017 and indicted by a federal grand jury on multiple criminal charges, including conspiracy to commit bribery and wire fraud.
On Oct. 28, 2018, ESPN reported a prized college basketball recruit’s handler reportedly made dozens of calls to various college basketball coaches.
During Brian Bowen II’s recruitment in the late spring of 2017, his father agreed to accept $100,000 from Adidas to ensure that his son signed with Louisville. The recruit’s handler, Christian Dawkins, also made and received calls with phone numbers associated with at least two Division I head coaches -- Arizona’s Miller and Creighton’s Greg McDermott, the report released Sunday night stated.
In a story released Oct. 26, ESPN’s Outside The Lines provided links to 22 wiretapped conversations from the recently concluded trial, including several related to testimony that implied connection to Arizona’s program.
A federal jury in Manhattan found the former Adidas business manager Dawkins, former Adidas executive James Gatto, and amateur league director Merl Code guilty of fraud charges on October 24, 2018. The trial centered on whether the men’s admitted efforts to channel secret payments to the families of top recruits luring them to major basketball programs sponsored by Adidas was criminal.
Evidence presented by the government during this month's trial revealed Dawkins also claimed to be closely associated with Rawle Alkins, who was a two-year starting guard at Arizona before turning pro after this past season, the ESPN report stated.
Dawkins wrote that he planned to pay Alkins $2,500 per month from September 2017 through April 2018 -- when Alkins was still playing for Arizona -- plus $30,000 in travel expenses for his family. He also wanted to give Labossiere a four-year deal to work as a manager for his sports management company.
No proof of evidence regarding payment to Alkins by Dawkins was presented during the federal trial.
Miller has denied involvement in the scandal that has shook up the college basketball world, standing by his statement released March 1, 2018, explaining that he has “never knowingly violated NCAA rules while serving as head coach of this great program. I have never paid a recruit or prospect, or their family or representative, to come to Arizona.”
Tucson News Now reached out to the University of Arizona for comment on Sunday’s ESPN report.
Gatto, Dawkins and Code left court without speaking to reporters, though one defense lawyer indicated there would be an appeal. Sentencing was set for March 5.
Two more college basketball corruption trials loom large in the next year.
Besides former Arizona assistant Richardson, the defendants include Chuck Person, a former associate head coach at Auburn who played for five NBA teams over 13 seasons, and also former assistant coaches Tony Bland of USC and Lamont Evans of Oklahoma State.