UPDATE: UA will retain Sean Miller as head coach
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - University of Arizona President Robert Robbins and the Arizona Board of Regents announced that Sean Miller will remain as the Head Basketball Coach in a press conference Thursday evening.
Embattled Wildcats head coach Sean Miller gave a statement at an unscheduled news conference early Thursday afternoon to publicly deny the accusations made against him in a recent ESPN article.
"I regret all of the negative attention brought to the program and university by these reports," said Miller. "I have never knowingly violated NCAA rules while serving as head coach of this program."
Miller closed out the conference with a message for his accusers.
"Let me be very, very clear, I have never discussed with Christian Dawkins about the payment of Deandre Ayton and did not even speak to Dawkins until after the recruitment process," said MIller.
The University of Arizona released the following statement on Thursday:
We have decided that Sean Miller will remain the University of Arizona's men's basketball coach.
Media reports last Friday alleged that Coach Miller was caught on a wiretap discussing a payment with a representative of a sports agency regarding one of our student-athletes. Since those reports broke, we have sought to learn everything that we can from Coach Miller about the allegations. As Coach Miller's employer, we acted to investigate these reports.
Earlier this week, we met with Coach Miller at length and asked him direct and pointed questions. He was eager to speak with us and answered every question we asked. At this time we have no reason to believe that Coach Miller violated NCAA rules or any laws regarding the allegation reported in the media. Additionally, he has a record of compliance with NCAA rules, and he has been cooperative with this process.
While some might be tempted to rush to judgment when there is intense public pressure, due process is the bedrock of fair treatment and acting with integrity. With that in mind, we will continue to pursue every avenue of inquiry available to us during an active federal investigation to fully understand the facts. We recognize that investigation is ongoing, and we will continue to be respectful and cooperative through its conclusion. Steptoe & Johnson continues its investigation into our athletics compliance, and we will carefully review and act on its conclusions. We anticipate this report will be thorough and based on facts.
We want to thank our student-athletes for the strength they have exhibited during this challenging situation. We are confident that they will continue to respond with commitment, integrity and excellence. Deandre Ayton, who has been subjected to false, public reports that impugned his reputation, has our full support. We ask that the Wildcat Family rally behind these young men and our coaching staff tonight and throughout the rest of our season.
Robert C. Robbins
Director of Athletics
ABOR released the following statement:
"The Arizona Board of Regents met today to receive further legal advice regarding University of Arizona men's basketball and the multi-year employment contract for head coach Sean Miller.
While intense media interest in this issue has prompted much speculation, ABOR and the UA must act in a deliberative manner rooted in facts rather than conjecture. We owe this to the students, faculty, alumni and Arizona taxpayers we serve.
President Robbins fully briefed the board today on his investigation, concerns and findings regarding men's basketball. Shortly, he will share with you his decision regarding Coach Miller. I fully support his decision and I am confident he has been thorough in his assessment of this situation. I also appreciate Coach Miller's forthright statement to the press today.
As the governing body of Arizona's public universities, ABOR is committed to doing everything possible to uphold the integrity of the institutions we oversee. This pledge extends to collegiate athletic programs, which must adhere to the high standards established by each university. Basketball is a beloved sport at the University of Arizona and throughout Arizona. The integrity of our institutions cannot be compromised.
As a Wildcat, the excellence of the University of Arizona, our student athletes and the success of future generations of students is deeply important to me. The board will remain in close contact with Dr. Robbins as this process continues."
READ MORE: Wildcat Breakdown: The Bribery Scandal I UA fans consider teams future without Miller I Miller, UA release statements in wake of scandal I What former UA players are saying about allegations I UA assistant basketball coach suspended, charged in bribery scheme I Looking for answers in the Book Richardson case I UA fires assistant basketball coach Book Richardson
Miller has been at the center of a national controversy since Friday, when according to ESPN, the FBI intercepted phone conversations between Miller and Christian Dawkins, a key figure in the federal agency's investigation into college basketball.
A source told ESPN Miller reportedly discussed a $100,000 payment to highly sought after player.
Miller reportedly told Dawkins that he should deal directly with him (Miller), instead of assistant coach Emanuel "Book" Richardson when it came to finalizing the agreement.
Miller did not coach the Wildcats in their next game.
ESPN eventually issued two corrections to the story regarding the date of the phone call, casting doubt about its veracity in many people's eyes.
The Wildcats have already experienced at least one negative impact from the story.
On Saturday, the Wildcats lost one of the top recruits in the 2018 recruiting class in Shareef O'Neal.
O'Neal, the son of legendary NBA star Shaquille O'Neal, went to Twitter on Saturday to announce his decision to open up his recruitment.
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