College basketball has dominated the news cycle over the past six months and has not been for anything positive. Former Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino was fired for allegedly having Adidas funnel $100,000 to five-star recruit Brian Bowen. Now Arizona coach Sean Miller has allegedly been 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.
The FBI has over 3,000 hours of conversations intercepted from Dawkins’ phone. The wiretaps are pursuant to a months long investigation into illegal payments to players from the shoe companies. Former Arizona assistant coach Emanuel “Book” Richardson has already been indicted by a federal grand jury for bribery, wire fraud and a host of other charges. The FBI investigation resulted in 10 other arrests last September, including four assistant men’s basketball coaches at major college programs.
The Shock Exchange finds it difficult to believe that of all the crimes going on the FBI has nothing better to do than out NCAA basketball. That said, it has been known that colleges buy players. The Shock Exchange had no idea to what degree though. Payments of $100,000 from shoe companies to one player is shocking – and this is the only payment we know of. There were likely more. Secondly, the shoe companies have incentives for players at Arizona, North Carolina or Duke to where their shoes – it’s paid advertising and it’s a drop in the bucket compared to what the shoe companies are making.