Sean Miller has not made any public comments since an FBI investigation led to the arrest of Arizona Wildcats assistant coach Book Richardson for illegal behavior on the recruiting trail, and one question being asked around college basketball right now is, “how much did Miller know about Richardson’s actions?”
But a couple renowned college basketball pundits have come forward in Miller’s defense.
First, it was ESPN analyst Jay Bilas.
“I know Sean Miller to be a man of great honesty and integrity,” he tweeted. “I don't believe for a second he knew of any improper behavior.”
Then another ESPN analyst, the legendary Dick Vitale, shared similar sentiments.
“Have known Sean Miller for many years and I would be shocked if he was aware of his assistant cheating,” tweeted Vitale, who has been with ESPN since 1979.
The common response to those thoughts are, “how did Miller not know what his assistant of 11 years was doing?”
“Should know but trust me many times they don't,” Vitale responded.
He then added: “Many parents have no clue what their kids are doing, yet many say that coaches should know what their staff and players are doing! Tough to do!”
It’s extremely noteworthy to mention that Miller was not implicated in the FBI’s complaint.
That said, even if Miller did not know what Richardson was doing and had no role in the matter, it probably wouldn’t completely absolve him or the Arizona program from responsibility.
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.”
“The coach can show that he or she promoted an atmosphere of compliance and monitored his or her staff."
And while Vitale backed Miller, he certainly wasn’t happy with the recruiting allegations described in the FBI’s complaint.
“Read this sleaze that took place in recruiting for (Arizona),” Vitale tweeted. “Absolutely sickening!”
Follow Ryan Kelapire on Twitter at @RKelapire