Payments by college sports teams to players have been going on for years. The FBI wants to put a spotlight on it and the University of Arizona men’s basketball team is smack dab in the middle of it. Arizona coach Sean Miller was overheard on an FBI wiretap discussing a $100,000 payment to 5-star recruit Deandre Ayton:
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 Sean 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.
Miller did not coach in the Wildcats’ 98-93 loss to Oregon Saturday night. However, Ayton did play and he looked like a man possessed. The 7′-1″ freshman had 28 points (on 11-15 shooting), 18 rebounds and four blocked shots. Obviously chafing from having his name associated with the FBI investigation, Ayton changed the narrative at least for one night. However, it might not be long before the FBI paper trail catches up to Ayton.