Sean Miller’s Statement Takes the Fight to ESPN: Is a Lawsuit the Next Step?

As Arizona coach Sean Miller forcibly professed his innocence on Thursday in a statement that affirmed his status with the team, a source familiar with the college hoops corruption investigation confirmed with SI that the details of a wiretapped phone call involving Miller were inaccurately reported in a story by ESPN that said Miller “discussed paying $100,000 to ensure star freshman Deandre Ayton signed with the Wildcats.”

According to the source, relevant FBI wiretaps in the investigation did not begin until 2017—months after five-star recruit Deandre Ayton had already committed to Arizona in Sept. 2016. This account is consistent with reporting by Evan Daniels of 247Sports. The recruitment of Ayton, therefore, would have not been at issue in an intercepted phone call that occurred in 2017. To that end, the source told SI what Miller clarified for the first time Thursday: Ayton is not the player on whose behalf former ASM Sports employee Christian Dawkins allegedly sought a payment from Miller, and Miller never pursued or made any payments to a recruit associated with Dawkins.

This account depicts Miller as complying with both the law and NCAA recruiting rules. The same holds true of Ayton, whose compliance with NCAA rules would ensure that he remains eligible to play for the final month of his freshman year.

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Article source: https://www.si.com/college-basketball/2018/03/01/arizona-sean-miller-deandre-ayton-espn-report

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