FBI Wiretaps Show Sean Miller Discussed Payment For Ayton’s Commitment

University of Arizona basketball coach Sean Miller [Photo from YouTube]

ESPN is reporting that University of Arizona basketball coach Sean Miller talked about making a $100,000 payment to secure the commitment of freshman DeAndre Ayton. The University of Arizona athletics programs have been rocked by scandals this year.

Ayton was the number four overall recruit in the class of 2017, according to 247Sports. Ayton is Arizona’s leading scorer.

ESPN reported:

FBI wiretaps intercepted telephone conversations between Arizona coach Sean Miller and Christian Dawkins, a key figure in the FBI’s investigation into college basketball corruption, in which Miller discussed paying $100,000 to ensure star freshman Deandre Ayton signed with the Wildcats, sources familiar with the government’s evidence told ESPN.

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 Sean 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.

In September, the ADI reported that Richardson and three other Division I NCAA men’s basketball coaches; Lamont Evans, associate head coach for the Oklahoma State Cowboys, Chuck Person, associate head coach for the Auburn University Tigers, and Anthony “Tony” Bland, and assistant head coach of the University of Southern California Trojans were arrested “for taking cash bribes to deliver star athletes to an adviser or agent.”

The coaches were charged along with Adidas Director of Global Sports Marketing James “Jim” Gatto.

Allegedly, the coaches took cash bribes from athlete advisors, including business managers and financial advisors, in exchange for using their influence over college players under their control to pressure and direct those players and their families to retain the services of the advisors paying the bribes. In the second scheme, Gatto working in connection with corrupt advisors, funneled bribe payments to high school-aged players and their families to secure those players’ commitments to attend universities sponsored by Adidas, rather than universities sponsored by rival athletic apparel companies.

23 Comments

  1. Guess this means March Madness will just be a thought of what could have been – I don’t see Arizona being allowed to participate – I could be wrong with timing being the element, but I’m also going to guess that the UA will in the spirit of we want the good side of the rules violation team, will withdraw the UA team of it’s own accord. NO MADNESS… ugh..

  2. I told my husband from the day the story broke about the assistant coach that there was no way Sean Miller didn’t know what was going on. I have also said that I believe the same crap has been going on with the football coaches and players. AND why isn’t Arizona smarter to put in a clause in their contracts that if ANY illegal activity or convictions occur they lose the severance package money. IT is ludicrous to reward these overpaid jerks for breaking the law. Way to set examples for young people. They learn there are essentially NO consequences for bad behavior or illegal activity except maybe being tied up in court for a few years and unable to travel. ahhh, the country club lifestyle…The NCAA should drop Arizona for at least 5 years if not for a lot longer to set an example. yep, just waiting for the other athletic shoe to drop….or should we change the names back to “sneakers”….

    • Well put “tired…..”
      except a five year penalty would
      be a cruel penalty for those
      athletes who had nothing to do with
      the mess.

      If the allegations about Miller are
      true, then his behavior would be
      considered immoral and unethical, but
      not illegal.

      As far as I know merely discussing committing a
      crime of this sort isn’t illegal.

      That said, if true, the unethical and immoral
      alone should cause an employment separation.

      If Miller’s contract calls for the Golden Parachute
      even if there is malfeasance- then the U of A should
      sue Miller for considerably more than that for
      damages. This would include loss of revenue, and more
      importantly damage to the brand/ reputation, etc.

  3. A line from the old silent movies seems appropriate: He’s more to be pitied than scorned. The pressure to perform is immense. Spend a night inside McKale Center and listen to the fans cheering. If, in fact, Sean did what he is accused of, he will pay a huge price. Personally, it has been my observation from afar that he is a decent man who succumbed to temptation. I’m not saying he did no wrong, but suggesting that we stone throwers should look at our own lives and have some compassion.

  4. There are a lot of good people in UA Athletics, staff and students. Sad thing is they will suffer because of a few greedy scum bags!

  5. FBI has been busy this year, understandable now why they coudn’t take care of the Cruz kid! But hey we can blame the NRA right?

    • Amen. Its time for Miller to hit the road. By the conversation he knew that Richarson was doing and the whole issue was stonewalled by the U of A and the Athletic department. Now the real truth comes out that he knew all along of the payments and did nothing to stop them.

    • I always said there was no way that he didn’t know this was going on as he knew Richardson when they were at Xavier and have said that if he did know it he should be fired and even if he didn’t know it was going on he should have been fired for not knowing. The buck stops with him either way

      • It doesn’t stop with him, Athletic Director Dave Heeke, current UA President Rob Robbins and past UA President Ann Hart should also be held responsible. They all are pocketing/pocketed millions from this and many other misuses of public funds. They should all be fired and in the case of Ann Hart – the millions she pocketed should be clawed back.

  6. You can’t even count the tens of millions of dollars that coaches, athletic directors, players, teachers have stolen from the taxpayers and patrons that support the public education system, all the way from K-12 through the Universities. It’s totally corrupt from the failure to educate, the blatant indoctrination and confiscation of dollars that should be being spent educating our children. Disgusting. It’s not only time to clean house, it’s JAIL TIME.

    Parents, there are many options to educate your kids. The Public system is the worst.

    • Totally different argument. And when we look at your argument we see that Arizona Basketball is a money maker for the U of A. So I disagree with your argument.
      As far as paying students to play, well that’s just corruption. One thing to think about is…if the FBI taped Coach Miller then why wasn’t he indicted with the other coach? i.e. more to the story. Perhaps unethical but not criminal? Not sure. We’ll have to wait and see.

  7. There was no way Coach Sean Miller can deny he is responsible for the Basketball program.

    The University has sold it soul to have a winning program. After millions and millions of dollars ask yourself, how mamy National Championships have we ( U of A) won? How many local student athletes put on the wildcat uniform?

    My sense is that the University of Arizona has been buying performing athletes for years. We need to return to creating student athletes.

    It simple to me winning the game at all cost $$$ is not what sports in public education is not the best use of tax payers money.

    Richard Hernandez

    • Richard – the UofA ‘buying performance’ we need to return to creating student athletes – Sir you don’t ‘create’ students, nor athletes, both are gifts of talent those persons have, and the UofA wants. Its OK for the UofA to ‘give’ a full scholarship which is more than $1,000,000.00 easy and is done often, for “students” that are considered ‘gifted talent’ for a variety of programs and reasons from Medicine to poetry to physics – because they have talent, yes, but they also ‘buff the UofA image of excellence’ so buying them.. and that is what they are doing is ok, but not an athlete because they are dumb jocks? One Mr. Jefferson returned the gift with a huge donation, or what of “Steve Kerr”!!! just a bit of personal success after graduation from the program just to mention two of the old school successes.. with many many following since! You may call it wrong, I think it’s success and ‘professor’ Miller – is an elite member of that professional producing team at UA. They however it seems have been caught breaking basic rules, for which there will be consequence.

      • When Dr. Copeland came to the UA to build the ‘Heart Program’ and the Hospital image into the then young UA school of Medicine – how much was he paid – to bring in all the ‘student doctors’ to become his ‘team of excellence’ in the field… again building the UA, buffing it’s business to world class level and view.. no different than “Wildcat Basket ball, or Alabama Football” – it’s about ‘buff the stuff’ so more will spend to attend. Same game different rules. Maybe it’s time to adjust the rules.

        • How many ‘students’ attend for free, because of the dollars generated by the dollar successful sports programs (not all are self sustaining programs) how much comes from basket ball to the UA in $’s per year.

        • Sounds like you’re justifying corruption for the perceived ‘good’ it brings. Same argument for illegals – the cheap labor they bring. It’s all exploitation.

          Isn’t the UA supposed to be an institution of higher learning, not higher corruption and greed?

      • Steve Kerr, a former hero of mine, has turned into a Trump Hating whacko liberal who can’t keep his mouth shut along with Kevin Durant and Steph Curry.

        • I think your pure as the white driven snow argument is just that… but of course your putting words and intent in my words that don’t exist because you want to hear what you want to hear… as I stated “it appears they are caught in violation of some basic NCAA rules” which means in short term the UofA as a basketball school will be as dead as Pima College – I don’t believe it will bounce back in my life time.. the pooch has been screwed ; that the rules and intent are what they are – its fine if the UofA makes millions on millions in the pure air of Nike – just as the “O” has… but don’t jump to the front of the line. Yeah yeah….

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