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Arizona basketball self-imposes one-year postseason ban for 2020-21

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Washington v Arizona Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Arizona Wildcats announced Tuesday that they are self-imposing a one-year postseason ban for the 2020-21 season, which will keep them out of the NCAA and Pac-12 Tournaments.

The UA says it is “a proactive measure in its ongoing NCAA enforcement process” and “an acknowledgement that the NCAA’s investigation revealed that certain former members of the MBB staff displayed serious lapses in judgment and a departure from the University’s expectation of honest and ethical behavior.”

“The decision to self-impose a postseason ban was extremely difficult, as we recognize the impact that it has on our current student-athletes,” Arizona athletic director Dave Heeke said in a statement. “We will continue to cooperate fully with the NCAA enforcement process and continue to support the hard-working young men in our Men’s Basketball program.”

The Wildcats confirmed in October that they had received a Notice of Allegations from the NCAA. And while they were unwilling to release any details, The Athletic reported they have been accused of multiple Level I violations, which are considered the most severe and can lead to a postseason ban, loss of scholarships, show-cause penalties, etc.

UA’s statement likely alludes to former UA assistants Book Richardson and Mark Phelps.

Richardson was arrested in 2017 and later spent three months in prison after pleading guilty to accepting $20,000 in bribes in exchange for steering Arizona players to sign with agent Christian Dawkins and financial manager Munish Sood.

Phelps was placed on administrative leave in February 2019 and eventually saw his contract expire because of what ESPN reported was a “fraudulent online course” involving former UA commit Shareef O’Neal, an accusation Phelps’ attorney has vehemently denied.

Phelps had previously been suspended without pay for reportedly buying a plane ticket for former UA forward Keanu Pinder.

Head coach Sean Miller has denied ever knowingly breaking NCAA rules and supported the university’s decision to ban his program from the postseason.

The news comes just hours after the Wildcats picked up an 88-74 home win over Colorado, what would have been a quality win for their NCAA Tournament résumé. They are 7-1 this season, their lone loss coming at Stanford.

“Our team will remain united and aggressively compete to win a Pac-12 championship,” Miller said.