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University of Arizona releases Notice of Allegations for men’s basketball program

Arizona men's basketball lost 63-58 to Baylor University on Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019.
Arizona men's basketball lost 63-58 to Baylor University on Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019.(Source: KOLD News 13)
Updated: Mar. 5, 2021 at 9:04 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Following a records request from KOLD News 13, the University of Arizona released the NCAA’s Notice of Allegations involving the Wildcats men’s basketball team.

The program has been under a microscope for a while, with most allegations relating to recruiting violations, illegal payments to players and involvement in the national bribery scandal that rocked the world of college basketball.

Wildcats head coach Sean Miller has maintained in his innocence and the school has voices its support for the coach, who will enter the final year of his contact next season.

Former Wildcats assistant coach Book Richardson has been at the center of the bribery case. Richardson pleaded guilty to accepting bribes to steer top players toward a sports agent in January 2019. He was sentenced to four months in federal prison in June 2019 and was released in October of the same year.

The NCAA investigated 12 schools after a federal corruption probe in 2017, resulting in the arrests of four assistant coaches, including Richardson.

According to the documents released by the university, the NCAA found enough evidence of wrongdoing to suggest the case be moved to a hearing panel due to Level 1 violations.

That is not new. In October 2020, it was announced the school was facing nine total violations, including five that were Level 1.

Those allegations include a lack of institutional control and failure to monitor by the university; a lack of head coach control Miller.

According to the NCAA”s Notice of Allegations, the following incidents were violations.

  • From March 2016 to September 2017, Richard and assistant coach Mark Phelps helped two recruits by arraigning “false academic transcripts.” Richardson allegedly paid $40,000 for the documents. Both recruits, who were not named in the report, ended up playing for the Wildcats. According to the NOA, this was a Level I violation.
  • Sometime between March and September 2017, Richardson accepted $20,000 in bribes from a sports agent to get a Wildcats player to sign with the agent when he went pro. According to the NOA, this was a Level I violation.
  • In June 2017, Phelps gave a $500 loan to a player to the player could buy a plane ticket to visit a friend or family member. According to the NOA, this was a Level II violation.
  • In July 2017 and January 2019, Phelps told a player to delete text messages that referred to the ongoing NCAA investigation. Phelps also allegedly told the player to provide “false or misleading information” to investigators. According to the NOA, this was a Level 1 violation.
  • In July 2016, Phelps allegedly asked a player to help recruit two athletes. According to the NOA, this was a Level III violation.
  • From March 2016 to September 2017, Miller failed to monitor both Richardson and Phelps. According to the NOA, this was a Level I violation.
  • From October 2018 to September 2019, assistant swimming and diving coach Dwight Dumais helped a booster connect with a swimmer the school was trying to recruit. He also allegedly helped local swim club families get “preferential treatment benefits” and hosted impermissible tryouts. According to the NOA, this was a Level II violation.
  • From November 2018 to September 2019, head swimming and diving coach Augie Busch failed to monitor Dumais and stop what happened. According to the NOA, this was a Level II violation.
  • From March 2016 to September 2019, the University of Arizona failed to “exercise institutional control and monitor the conduct and administration” the men’s basketball and swimming/diving programs. According to the NOA, this was a Level I violation.

The future of the school’s basketball program is still up in the air.

The school has already self-imposed a one-year postseason ban and requested the case been moved to the NCAA’s Infractions Referral Committee.

During the IRC’s Independent Accountability Resolution Process a group of “investigators, advocates and adjudicators” will review the case and hand down punishment, if infractions are found.”

The decision of the committee, which is newly formed, is final and there are no appeal. There is no time table for when anything will be final.

According to Gregg Doyel of the Indianapolis Star, some of the punishments that the IRC can hand down are:

  • A five-year postseason ban
  • Heavy fines and loss of revenue
  • A life-time banishment for coaches
  • Severe reduction in recruiting trips

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