An NCAA investigation into the University of Arizona men’s basketball program has begun, school officials confirmed to the Daily Star on Friday.
Arizona had not previously confirmed that the program was being investigated.
Less than a month after Emanuel "Book" Richardson was arrested and the federal college basketball investigation became public in September 2017, the Star filed a public records request asking for any letter of inquiry or investigation sent by the NCAA.
Arizona responded on Feb. 6 of this year, saying there were no such records. It responded again Friday, saying it would not release communication records with the NCAA because “investigations into the University of Arizona men’s basketball program are ongoing at this time.”
When asked to clarify if the reference to "investigations" included one from the NCAA, a university spokesman later confirmed that "an NCAA investigation is underway."
Of course, by now, it’s of little surprise. The only question was how long the NCAA would wait to start folding evidence from the federal investigation and trials into its own investigation.
New NCAA rules changes last August give its enforcement staff the ability to directly import outside evidence, meaning Richardson’s guilty plea to a bribery charge will likely be acted on.
If Arizona coach Sean Miller is not directly found to have broken NCAA rules, he could be subject to discipline under NCAA bylaw 188.8.131.52, which states head coaches are responsible for the actions of their direct and indirect reports unless they can rebut the presumption of responsibility by proving they actively monitored their reports in an effort to abide by NCAA rules.
Arizona head coach Sean Miller (Photo: Casey Sapio, USA TODAY Sports)
Arizona could also be forced to vacate wins and/or its NCAA tournament appearance in 2017-18 if the NCAA proves any of the several allegations that players from that team improperly accepted money.
In a recorded 2017 phone call played to a federal jury this week, Richardson told former agent-runner Christian Dawkins that Miller "bought" former Wildcats star Deandre Ayton. Richardson was also recorded saying he paid the cousin of former Arizona guard Rawle Alkins about $2,000 a month.
Source: Read Full Article