It’s been nearly 17 months since news first broke that a handful of college basketball assistant coaches, as well as agents and apparel company executives, had been arrested as part of an FBI bribery investigation. Since then several of those implicated have pled guilty to various charges, including former Arizona Wildcats assistant Emmanuel ‘Book’ Richardson.
The NCAA looked like it was waiting for the entire process to play out before getting involved in any way, though that appears to have changed.
According to Yahoo! Sports’ Pat Forde, Pete Thamel and Dan Wetzel, the NCAA has begun a formal inquiry into possible violations stemming from the federal investigation. And Arizona is high on the list of schools that will be getting looked at, the report states.
The Yahoo! story focuses on Arizona, Wildcats coach Sean Miller and the program’s connections to Christian Dawkins, a sports agent who has already been found guilty in one federal bribery trial and faces a second trial in April. The report states Miller could be one of several college coaches subpoenaed to testify in that trial, which would potentially make public alleged wiretapped conversations involving Miller.
“Sean Miller is really in a box,” an unnamed source told Yahoo! “I don’t see how he can testify and it would stay consistent with his past statements. And I don’t see how he can keep the University of Arizona without exposure.”
Richardson’s guilty plea also figures to play a role in any NCAA inquiry into Arizona, as recent legislative changes make it easier for a head coach to be penalized for the actions of his staff.
Miller has denied any wrongdoing, a statement he initially made in March and has repeatedly referred to when asked since then about developments in the scandal. He is set to meet with reporters on Tuesday as part of his weekly media availability.