Friday, October 23, 2020

Arizona Confirms Investigation into Basketball Program Amid Bribery Scandal

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The Arizona Wildcats confirmed the NCAA is investigating the basketball program, according to the Arizona Daily Star‘s Bruce Pascoe.

Yahoo Sports first reported in February the NCAA was looking into the school after Christian Dawkins implicated the Wildcats in the FBI’s case regarding corruption in college basketball.

A jury found Dawkins and two others guilty of conspiring to funnel money to the families of high school recruits in order for them to commit to Adidas-endorsed schools and sign with specified agents and financial planners.

Emanuel “Book” Richardson, a former Arizona assistant coach, agreed to a plea deal with prosecutors after they alleged he received at least $20,000 as part of the scheme.

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According to ESPN.com’s Mark Schlabach, FBI wiretaps captured Dawkins and business partner Munish Sood discussing the recruitment of Deandre Ayton and the steps required to get his signature once his college career was over.

During the trial, Sood testified the group was making payments to Richardson in order “to influence Wildcats players and recruits to sign with their firm.”

Prosecutors also played the recording of a conversation between Dawkins and Richardson in which Richardson alleged Arizona head coach Sean Miller was paying Ayton $10,000 a month during his Wildcats tenure, per Schlabach and Jeff Borzello.

Schlabach had reported in February 2018 the FBI had wiretaps of Miller and Dawkins allegedly talking about a $100,000 payment for the purpose of securing Ayton’s commitment. Miller subsequently denied the allegation.

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