TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) - University of Arizona Director Dave Heeke stopped short of saying the NCAA and criminal probe of the basketball program led to Coach Sean Miller’s dismissal. He said what he described as a combination of circumstances on-court and off-court led to the move.
For more than three years allegations serious enough for criminal charges against one assistant coach have hung over the University of Arizona Men's Basketball program and led to questions about UA Men’s Basketball as a whole.
The FBI arrested former assistant coach Emanuel “Book” Richardson on charges of accepting a $20,000 bribe to steer a player to an agent. Richardson pleaded guilty and spent three months in prison.
Another former assistant coach, Mark Phelps, was placed on leave after he reportedly tampered with a recruit's transcript and paid for a plane ticket for a student-athlete.
The NCAA views a head coach like the captain of a ship---responsible for everything that happens under his command--- so questions were raised about Sean Miller from the moment the scandal broke.
Last October, the University received an official notice of allegations from the NCAA. UA did not make the list public.
Last December the University of Arizona banned itself from one year of post season play because “.... former members of the MBB staff displayed serious lapses in judgment and a departure from the University’s expectation of honest and ethical behavior.”
Sean Miller timeline
Last month a court forced the University to reveal those formal NCAA allegations against the Men’s Basketball program.
Five of the allegations claim the most serious violations of NCAA rules. One charge names Coach Sean Miller for not promoting compliance within the basketball program because he didn't monitor assistant coach Book Richardson's dealings---the ones that landed Richardson in federal prison.
The NCAA has not ruled on penalties for the program here. That could be an issue for any new coach to deal with.