A week after Arizona Wildcats assistant coach Book Richardson was arrested in a bribery and corruption scandal, head coach Sean Miller finally broke his silence on the matter, issuing this statement through the athletic department Tuesday:
“I was devastated to learn last week of the allegations made against Emanuel Richardson. I have expressed to both Dr. Robbins and our Athletic Director Dave Heeke that I fully support the University’s efforts to fully investigate these allegations.
“As the head basketball coach at the University of Arizona, I recognize my responsibility to not only establish a culture of success on the basketball court and in the classroom, but as important, to promote and reinforce a culture of compliance. To the best of my ability, I have worked to demonstrate this over the past 8 years and will continue to do so as we move forward.”
Richardson, who has been on Miller’s coaching staff since 2007, was suspended by the UA last week, and the UA announced it will be conducting an independent investigation into the allegations.
Richardson was accused of accepting $20,000 in bribes, "some of which (he) appears to have kept for himself and some of which he appears to have provided to at least one prospective high school basketball player,” according to the Department of Justice’s complaint.
Richardson was primarily bribed “to use his influence over the student-athletes he coached to pressure them" to hire former agent Christian Dawkins and financial advisor Manish Sood once they completed college, the compliant says.
Miller was not implicated in the DOJ’s complaint, but NCAA enforcement rules state that "a head coach is presumed responsible for major/Level I and Level II violations (e.g. academic fraud, recruiting inducements) occurring within his or her program unless the coach can show that he or she promoted an atmosphere of compliance and monitored his or her staff,” so he could be punished for Richardson’s actions.
However, Arizona has not had any recruiting violations since Miller took over as head coach in 2009, and he said in his statement that he’s worked to “promote and reinforce a culture of compliance” during his tenure in Tucson.
So whether or not Miller and/or Arizona are punished for the allegations against Richardson remains to be seen, but given the last few words in Miller’s statement — “and will continue to do so as we move forward” — it does sound like he will remain Arizona’s head coach for the foreseeable future (not to mention the statement was issued through the Arizona athletic department, and not Miller’s personal attorney).
Follow Ryan Kelapire on Twitter at @RKelapire