Wildcats coach Miller breaks silence following arrest of assistant in bribery scandal

Updated: Oct. 3, 2017 at 5:20 PM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - University of Arizona men's basketball coach Sean Miller broke his silence Tuesday, Oct. 3, a week after his assistant coach was caught up in a national bribery scandal.

In one of the biggest crackdowns on the corrupting role of money in college basketball, Wildcats assistant Emanuel "Book" Richardson was one of 10 men arrested Tuesday, Sept. 26.

Miller released the following statement:

"I was devastated to learn last week of the allegations made against Emanuel Richardson.  I have expressed to both Dr. Robbins and our Athletic Director Dave Heeke that I fully support the University's efforts to fully investigate these allegations.

"As the head basketball coach at the University of Arizona, I recognize my responsibility is not only to establish a culture of success on the basketball court and in the classroom, but as important, to promote and reinforce a culture of compliance.  To the best of my ability, I have worked to demonstrate this over the past 8 years and will continue to do so as we move forward."

Also on Tuesday, UA President Robert C. Robbins offered support of Miller.

"Coach Miller has not been charged with -- nor accused of -- any misconduct and he has been fully cooperative and supportive of our efforts to determine the facts in pursuit of the truth," Robbins wrote on his website. "Based on the facts that we know at this time, we support Coach Miller and intend to provide him with all of the tools necessary to meet our goals and expectations."

Robbins also said the school has done everything it can to assist in the investigation.

"Upon learning of the indictment, we immediately consulted with the Office of the General Counsel and engaged in communications with officials from both the NCAA and PAC-12 Conference," Robbins wrote. "We initiated formal dismissal proceedings against Emanuel Richardson. At my direction, (we) initiated an independent review of the allegations leveled by the Department of Justice. The University has also retained outside counsel to assist the institution with the Department of Justice's criminal investigation, as well as with potential NCAA matters."

UA Athletic Director Dave Heeke also released a statement Tuesday. It can be found below.

Dear Wildcat Family:

As many of you are aware, a member of our men's basketball coaching staff was arrested last week. I was angered and disheartened to learn of the news and its potential impact on the university, our athletics department, and this community.

As a proud and passionate supporter of Arizona Athletics, you deserve to know that we are winning with integrity at all times, and the steps announced today by President Robbins will make sure we are.  As the leader of the Department of Athletics, I expect all of our student-athletes, coaches and staff to act with integrity and character, and I promise that I, along with our staff, will work tirelessly to ensure this department operates with the highest of ethical standards.

I have admired President Robbins' leadership at the university, and this past week, he has exhibited his experience, demeanor and thoughtfulness. We will continue to work closely together as we navigate this issue.

With basketball practice underway, I ask that you join me in supporting Sean Miller, the staff, and our student-athletes as they work towards the start of the season.

READ MORE: UA assistant coach suspended, charged in bribery scheme I UA President, ABOR release statements on basketball scandal I Arrest of assistant coach shows little impact on basketball excitement I Days after bribery scandal breaks, Coach Sean Miller still silent

Richardson, who is facing charges of conspiracy to commit bribery, solicitation of bribes by an agent of a federally funded organization, conspiracy to commit honest services fraud, wire fraud conspiracy and travel act conspiracy, has been suspended by the school.

UA officials have said they will cooperate with the investigation.

Richardson and the other were accused of using bribes to influence star athletes' choice of schools, shoe sponsors, agents, financial advisers, even tailors.

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