Arizona Board of Regents to hold special meeting regarding UA men's basketball

ABOR also met to discuss the topic in November
Posted at 4:56 AM, Jan 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-24 06:56:49-05

The Arizona Board of Regents will hold a special meeting in Tempe on Thursday for "legal advice and discussion regarding University of Arizona Men’s Basketball," per ABOR's web site.

The announcement of the meeting comes after former UA assistant coach Emanuel "Book" Richardson pleaded guilty to a bribery charge following an FBI investigation that exposed corruption in college basketball recruiting. The plea came two weeks after Richardson reportedly reached a plea agreement with prosecutors.

ABOR, along with UA president Robert Robbins and athletic director Dave Heeke, met in November to discuss the future of UA men's basketball following the conclusion of a trial in which three men were convicted of fraud for channeling secret payments to the families of top recruits. During that trial, UA was accused by multiple witnesses of offering, or preparing to offer, money for various recruits.

Also in October, ESPN's Mark Schlabach reported that court documents showed UA head men's basketball coach Sean Miller made or received calls from sports agent Christian Dawkins, one of the middlemen at the center of the FBI investigation.

Richardson was one of four NCAA basketball coaches arrested and charged with felony fraud and bribery in 2017 following the FBI's lengthy investigation. No charges were brought against Miller, but in February, Schlabach reported FBI wiretaps caught Miller discussing a $100,000 payment to prized recruit and current Suns rookie Deandre Ayton. Miller made a statement calling the report false and defamatory, and multiple media outlets went on to question the timeline of Schlabach's report.

Miller received the backing of Robbins and Heeke, and he is now in his 10th season as UA's head men's basketball coach. In April, Miller's contract was amended so that he would forfeit $1 million if he is criminally charged for a crime related to his employment or is found guilty of committing a Level 1 NCAA violation.

"I have no idea what the future will bring, but most important, we are committed to running a program with the highest integrity, that follows not only the letter of the law, but also the spirit of the law," regents chairman Ron Shoopman told the Arizona Daily Star's Bruce Pascoe after the November meeting. "As a board, we are concerned with running a high-integrity program and we will take action on fact, not just because somebody said something. This is a national situation, and we're working through it together."