Just as the Arizona Wildcats begin turning things around on the court, another off-the-court issue has reportedly popped up. Or rather, the same one that has been lurking in the shadows for more than a year.
Yahoo! Sports is reporting that UA coach Sean Miller has been informed he will be subpoenaed to testify in the April federal trial of Christian Dawkins and Merl Code, who face multiple bribery charges stemming from an FBI investigation into corruption within college basketball.
Miller and LSU Tigers coach Will Wade, whom the story also identifies as being subpoenaed, are among several college coaches whose names have been attached to the FBI probe. None have been more prominent than Miller, who has also been linked to alleged wiretaps involving conversations with Dawkins, a former sports agent, about paying players to attend Arizona.
Such wiretaps could be played in court, opening up Miller for further scrutiny, the Yahoo! report suggested.
Dawkins, former Adidas consultant Code and ex-Adidas executive Jim Gatto were all found guilty of federal fraud charges in a previous trial last fall.
Calls made by Arizona Desert Swarm to UA sports information representatives Daniel Berk and Matt Ensor were not immediately returned.
Miller has been mostly mum about the allegations since making an emphatic statement of denial last March, saying at the time “I have never paid a recruit or a prospect or their family or representative to come to Arizona. I never have, and I never will. I have never arranged or directed payment or any improper benefits to a recruit or prospect or their family or representative. And I never will.”
Arizona is at the center of the FBI investigation not just because of Miller but also former assistants Emmanuel ‘Book’ Richardson and Joe Pasternack. Richardson was one of a handful of college assistants arrested in September 2017 on federal bribery charges, and in January he entered into a plea agreement.
Pasternack, who is now head coach at UC-Santa Barbara, has also been connected to Dawkins but was not arrested.
In early February Yahoo! reported that the NCAA had begun a formal inquiry into Arizona’s program in the wake of the federal investigation. Three days later the school placed assistant coach Mark Phelps on administrative leave and began the process to terminate him, a move that was reportedly due to his involvement in a “fraudulent online course” for ex-commit Shareef O’Neal.
While Miller has remained quiet, news of the NCAA inquiry and the Phelps situation prompted Arizona athletic director Dave Heeke to call an impromptu press conference during halftime of the Feb. 9 home game against Washington State—a game Arizona lost 69-55 as part of seven-game skid, its longest since 1982-83—to reiterate he and the school’s support of Miller and the basketball program.
“I want to be very, very clear about it, we support this basketball program, we support these players, we support this coaching staff,” Heeke said.