Arizona Wildcats head coach Sean Miller looks on after a make basket against the Arizona State Sun Devils on Jan. 25, 2020 at Desert Financial Arena in Tempe, AZ. (Brady Klain/The Republic) (Photo: Brady Klain/The Republic)
The NCAA on Friday issued a Notice of Allegations against the University of Arizona, whose men’s basketball program and coach, Sean Miller, have been targets of a three-year corruption investigation.
The university refused to release the NCAA allegations to The Arizona Republic as required under the state’s Public Records law, saying the denial was “to protect the integrity of the ongoing enforcement process.”
The Notice of Allegations states whether the NCAA has charged the UA with its most serious “Level 1” violations, which can result in bans on postseason competition and other significant penalties.
The Arizona Board of Regents, the governing body over University of Arizona, has scheduled an emergency meeting Monday to discuss the allegations.
Neither the university nor the regents had additional comments.
The NCAA also declined to release the document. “Due to confidentiality rules put in place by our members, we cannot comment on current, pending or potential investigations,” NCAA spokeswoman Emily James said.
The school will have 90 days to respond to the allegations. The NCAA then has 60 days to address to the school’s response before a hearing is set with the Committee on Infractions, where penalties could be imposed.
Miller, who faced allegations in two federal trials following the FBI investigation, was asked about the NCAA notice during a media availability on Thursday.
“I’m not going to comment on anything that is around any investigation. That’s what I’m called to do as a member of our athletic departments, so I’m unable to comment,” he said.
Arizona had been under the NCAA’s microscope since 2017, when assistant coach Emanuel Richardson was among 10 people arrested as part of a federal corruption investigation into college basketball.
According to the FBI complaints made public, the four coaches involved are Auburn assistant Chuck Person, Southern California assistant Tony Bland, Arizona assistant Emanuel Richardson and Oklahoma State assistant Lamont Evans.
Richardson was fired by the university and later pleaded guilty to accepting $20,000 in bribes from aspiring business manager Christian Dawkins. He was sentenced to a three-month prison sentence in 2019.
Miller sat out a game in 2018, after ESPN reported he was heard on an FBI wiretap discussing a $100,000 payment to future No. 1 NBA pick Deandre Ayton, who now plays for the Phoenix Suns.
Miller denied the report and university President Robert C. Robbins announced a few days later that Miller would remain the Wildcats’ coach.
In 2018, Miller agreed to forfeit $1 million if he commits a major NCAA violation or is criminally charged related to his employment, under an amended contract approved by the Regents.
Arizona had one of its lowest-rated recruiting classes in 2018 and the Wildcats went on to miss the NCAA Tournament for the first time in seven years. Arizona rebounded last season with another top-10 recruiting class and was in position to return to the NCAA Tournament before the season was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Arizona’s 2020 recruiting class is No. 5 in the 247 Sports composite.
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