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ABOR to meet Thursday to discuss Sean Miller’s contract

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Sounds like this saga will be ending soon

NCAA Basketball: Northern Arizona at Arizona Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Board of Regents will meet Thursday at 2 p.m. to discuss the future of Arizona Wildcats basketball coach Sean Miller, it was announced Wednesday.

Here is ABOR’s full announcement (bolding is mine):

Pursuant to A.R.S. §38-431.02, notice is hereby given to members of the Arizona Board of Regents and to the general public that members of the Arizona Board of Regents will meet on Thursday, March 1, 2018 at 2:00 p.m. at the board office, 2020 North Central Avenue, Suite 230, Phoenix, Arizona 85004. It is expected that one or more members of the board will participate via conference call.

The board will convene in executive session pursuant to A.R.S. § 38-431.03 (A) (1), (3) and (4) for legal advice and discussion regarding University of Arizona men’s basketball and the multiple-year employment contract for head men’s basketball coach.

Pursuant to A.R.S. §38-431.02 (H), the board may discuss and take action concerning any matter listed on the agenda.

Pursuant to A.R.S. §38-431.03(A) (3), the board may convene in executive session during the meeting to receive legal advice regarding any matter listed on the agenda.

The agenda may be amended at any time prior to 24 hours before the board meeting.

Estimated starting times for the agenda items are indicated; however, discussions may commence, or action may be taken, before or after the suggested times. Any item on the agenda may be considered at any time out of order at the discretion of the board chair.

It is anticipated the meeting will adjourn at 3:00 p.m.

Anne Ryman of AZCentral wrote that the meeting “is listed only as ‘executive session,’ meaning it won’t be open to the public and the regents aren’t expected to take action on Miller’s contract.”

Miller has been away from the team since Saturday after an ESPN report alleged FBI wiretaps have the UA head coach discussing a $100,000 payment with former ASM employee Christian Dawkins to secure the signing of prized freshman Deandre Ayton.

Ayton and his family have denied any illegal activity, while UA’s outside counsel strongly defended Ayton, saying there is “not a shred” of evidence that suggests he broke any NCAA rules.

Miller said in a statement that he is confident he will be “vindicated.”

One ABOR member, Jay Heiler, an attorney and former journalist, told bizjournals.com that he has some concerns about the validity of ESPN’s story.

“Speaking for myself, as a former editor and prosecutor, the ESPN story published regarding the continuing investigation may not have been worthy of publication and in any case was deficient in its sourcing and context as the basis for immediate decision,” Heiler said. “Efforts have been under way since to address that deficiency and proceed accordingly.”

247Sports reported Wednesday that Miller’s lawyers and the University of Arizona were in “deep negotiations” Tuesday regarding his future.

Here is what Josh Gershon and Evan Daniels wrote (with an interesting detail that I bolded):

Lawyers of both Arizona head coach Sean Miller and the University of Arizona spent Tuesday in deep negotiations regarding Miller’s future with the school, sources told 247Sports. By the end of Tuesday, the sides had yet to reach an amicable agreement regarding options for Miller to return to the sideline. Miller missed practice yet again on Tuesday.

Negotiations have continued into Wednesday, and as of this report he’s not expected to be at practice today, sources told 247Sports.

Lorenzo Romar coached Saturday’s game at Oregon, and has led practice this week.

Based on 247Sports’ report, it sounds like Miller could be returning (though when is unclear), but with some conditions that protect the University, such as a reduced buyout. Under his current contract, Miller would be owed roughly $5.15 million if fired without cause.

“The board doesn’t have to vote to fire a coach,” tweeted Ryman. “The contract is between the university president and the coach. The regents approve the contract terms when a coach is hired.”


Follow Ryan Kelapire on Twitter at @RKelapire