A breaking ESPN report alleges that University of Arizona basketball coach Sean Miller was caught on an FBI wiretap discussing a $100,000 payment to star freshman DeAndre Ayton.
The report alleges Miller was monitored while speaking with Christian Dawkins, one of the central figures in the FBI's investigation into college basketball corruption. The FBI has seized over 3,000 hours of conversations from Dawkins' phone.
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 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 allegation against Sean Miller comes after Emanuel Richardson, an assistant coach under Miller for a decade with both Xavier and Arizona, was arrested by the FBI over the summer. Richardson is accused of accepting $20,000 in bribes and paying a player to commit to UofA. The FBI also says Richardson encouraged Wildcat players to sign with ASM Sports and Dawkins in particular.
Sean Miller has been at Arizona since 2009, and is considered one of the top basketball coaches in the country. His record with the Wildcats is 242-72. He’s captured four Pac-12 regular-season championships and has reached the Elite Eight three times.
Ayton, a 7-foot center, is one of the nation's top players this season. He is averaging 19.6 points and 10.9 rebounds per game, with many NBA experts projecting him as the number one overall pick in this summer’s NBA draft.
Fox Sports 910's Doug Gottlieb shares his thoughts on the news: