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.
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.