Sean Miller is done.
If Friday night’s bombshell report from ESPN’s Mark Schlabach is to be believed, the FBI intercepted wiretapped phone conversations of Miller discussing paying $100,000 for five-star recruit Deandre Ayton. Given the existing connection at Arizona in the FBI’s investigation into corruption in college basketball, it’s time for Miller to go.
The opening of Schlabach’s piece is a dagger to the heart of Arizona basketball:
FBI wiretaps intercepted telephone conversations between Arizona coach Sean Miller and Christian Dawkins, a key figure in the FBI’s investigation into college basketball corruption, in which Miller discussed paying $100,000 to ensure star freshman Deandre Ayton signed with the Wildcats, sources familiar with the government’s evidence told ESPN. According to people with knowledge of the FBI investigation, Miller and Dawkins, a runner working for ASM Sports agent Andy Miller, had multiple conversations about Ayton. When Dawkins asked Miller if he should work with assistant coach Emanuel “Book” Richardson to finalize their agreement, Miller told Dawkins he should deal directly with him when it came to money, the sources said. The telephone calls between Miller and Dawkins were among 3,000 hours of conversations intercepted from Dawkins’ phone by the FBI.
Even if Ayton didn’t wind up getting paid to go to Arizona, the fact that Miller was willing to make it happen should be enough to banish him from campus.
The Wildcats are currently 22-6, ranked 14th in the nation and could be a sleeper pick to make a run in March. None of that matters right now. If the school is proactive and dumps Miller immediately, the NCAA might look favorably on the athletic department. If, instead, Arizona tries to let things play out, you can bet the McKale Center will resemble a smoldering pile of rubble in short order.
After the Rich Rodriguez scandal, this is the last thing Arizona needed. But now that it has happened, the school’s administration needs to act decisively. The Sean Miller era will be coming to an end soon enough anyway. Best to do it now and hope the program somehow survives.