Miller To Remain Coach, Calls News “Inaccurate” “Defamatory”

Sean Miller will remain coach of the Arizona men’s basketball team. He said Thursday that reports he discussed payment to a player were false. (Photo courtesy Arizona Athletics)

By Matthew Tonis and Shawn Moran

PHOENIX — The University of Arizona put on a proverbial full-court press Thursday, discrediting allegations made in a report about Sean Miller’s recruitment of a star player and saying it will retain the men’s basketball coach.

Beginning with a statement in Tucson, Miller insisted he “never knowingly violated NCAA rules,” calling an ESPN report that he discussed a $100,000 payment to a player inaccurate and said he will remain the coach of the Wildcats.

“Let me be very very clear: I have never discussed with Christian Dawkins paying (Wildcats freshman) Deandre Ayton to attend the University of Arizona,” he said to gathered media at McKale Center. “In fact, I never even met or spoke to Christian Dawkins until after Deandre publicly announced he was coming to our school. Any reporting to the contrary is inaccurate, false and defamatory.”

Six days have passed since the ESPN report about Miller’s FBI wiretapped conversation with ASM Sports agency runner Christian Dawkins. The report alleged that on that phone call, Miller and Dawkins discussed a $100,000 payment to land star recruit Ayton. This came just months after the FBI arrested Miller’s former assistant Emanuel “Book” Richardson on bribery charges.

“While I have done nothing wrong, I am in charge of the men’s basketball team,” Miller said. “I have never knowingly violated NCAA rules while being head coach of this great program.”

Hours later, University President Robert C. Robbins and athletic director Dave Heeke reinforced Miller’s sentiment, announcing he would remain head coach during a meeting of the Arizona Board of Regents.

Robbins and Heeke concluded their investigation into the report recently, which is one of the reasons Miller did not coach in Arizona’s most recent game at Oregon. During the process, Miller cooperated every step of the way, Robbins said.

“He was eager to speak with us and answered every question we asked,” Robbins said. “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.”

As part of the university’s investigation, Robbins said he inquired to the FBI about listening to the wiretaps but was denied.

Following Richardson’s arrest in late September, Miller stated that “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.”

Five months after those comments, Miller had to defend himself in front of many media members curious about his future at the university. He stated that he had never met or spoken to Dawkins and that he has never and will never pay a player to attend the University of Arizona.

“These statements have damaged me, my family, the university, Deandre Ayton and his wonderful family,” Miller said.

Miller said that he could not stay silent and that he looks forward to winning a regular-season Pac-12 title and he will coach the team tonight when it takes on the Stanford Cardinal in Tucson.

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13 Comments

  1. Does anyone else find it interesting that FBI has not chimed in on this on whether it is true or not?

  2. I find it awfullly convenient that Trier is ruled ineligible by the NCAA and suddenly Miller is back in the hot seat with this so called news report and then right after his statement and the ABOR supporting him and UA Pres. and AD say they’re behind him that suddenly Trier is ruled edible by the NCAA and it does make one wonder if someone in the NCAA was behind it all? I know it’s a conspiracy theory but it timing of it all is questionable to me

  3. It’s too bad that the Fan Belt Inspectors are so concerned about sports and they let go and ignored numerous warnings about an unhinged individual in Florida who ended up killing 17 innocent school kids. So sad.

  4. This had to be approved by the editor rather than a rogue reporter. ESPN is headed to the bottom and if they are not careful FOX SPORTS will take it all away from them. As of right now they deserve to lose it.

    • “This had to be approved by the editor rather than a rogue reporter. ”

      Absolutely agree. That’s why I think there is something there. If not, ESPN is done.

      • I just don’t think they have the facts right. It may have been Bowen that was offered money but not by Miller. Who did Richardson offer money to, Quinnerly?

        • The word crafting is far too evasive for me to believe. Miller didn’t say the report was wrong, he said it was inaccurate which is probably true, Deandre should not have been brought into it. But Miller didn’t deny having the conversation with Dawkins in this version, he didn’t deny discussing a payment for a player. Robbins and Heeke certainly can’t be believed just like Hart and Byrne can’t be believed. They’re the slave masters, thick as thieves. The millions are going in their pockets.

  5. ESPN may cost the U of A a PAC 12 championship.
    If these reports are false Coach Miller will lose millions of dollars.
    Deandre Ayton must lawyer up an sue ESPN.

  6. The Universtiy of AZ and Sean Miller must file a law suits against ESPN.
    The U of A’s reputation has been assaulted.
    We have lost recruits and will lose a lot more…….

  7. they have interfered with the game, the coach stood out a game, they lost, that mark will remain on the season, ESPN caused that to occur – they should have learned from the Russians that meddling in affairs without fact is dirty business and when you are caught there are consequences. Unless they have a hyper-ballistic nuclear weapon, I’d be guess as this plays out UA, Miller and players named by them will all be lining up for checks of sizable sizable amount. That those at ESPN will be forced to walk in public with their thumbs in their bums saying what dorks we are…. but the lights have now been turned back on for March Maddness, the beer is being bought, the kegs are on the way, T-shirts are being printed, reservations are being made in Las Vegas… the NCAA’s are around the corner and Arizona will be present – with all hands on deck. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh and it’s Friday!

  8. Something is going on somewhere and one can only hope the ESPN gets their asses handed to them on a silver platter. Enough with their bully pulpit of “Outside the Lines” and many other shows like that. Their only mission is to throw dirt everywhere and hope a little sticks. The PC sports network needs to start firing writers and reporters if its proven that their info is even just a little wrong. A little wrong can cost people their jobs and the writers don’t have to worry about a thing. Should work both ways.

  9. “Let me be very very clear: I have never discussed with Christian Dawkins paying (Wildcats freshman) Deandre Ayton to attend the University of Arizona,” he said to gathered media at McKale Center. “In fact, I never even met or spoke to Christian Dawkins until after Deandre publicly announced he was coming to our school.”

    “He stated that he had never met or spoken to Dawkins…”

    Which is it – did he or did not speak to Dawkins?

    “Robbins and Heeke concluded their investigation into the report recently”

    “As part of the university’s investigation, Robbins said he inquired to the FBI about listening to the wiretaps but was denied.”

    An investigation without an investigation. But no worries, the slave masters have all agreed – let the $$$$ keep flowing.

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