Arizona released a statement announcing Phelps will be suspended indefinitely.

By Kaelen Jones
February 07, 2019

Arizona issued a statement on Wednesday announcing that it has "initiated the process" to terminate men's basketball assistant coach Mark Phelps amidst suspending him indefinitely.

"The University of Arizona is committed to the highest standards of integrity and ethical conduct and our commitment to those principles is unwavering," Arizona athletic director Dave Heeke said in a statement, per ESPN. "The decision to remove Coach Phelps immediately is a direct result of that commitment. We strive to compete within the rules of the NCAA and the Pac-12 Conference, and we will continue to cooperate fully with the NCAA. Coach [Sean] Miller fully supports this decision, which we agree is in the best interests of our men's basketball program and the University."

According to Stadium's Jeff Goodman, the belief is that placing Phelps on leave is a step towards Arizona building its case to potentially make a move with head coach Sean Miller as the NCAA begins its investigation into the program.

Goodman reported that the rule violation for which Phelps was suspended involved a fraudulent online course with ex-Arizona commit Shareef O'Neal, the son of former NBA star Shaquille O'Neal. Shareef originally committed to Arizona in 2017, but eventually signed with UCLA.

On Wednesday, Phelps's attorney, Donald Maurice Jackson, said that Phelps was placed on administrative leave based on an unresolved NCAA matter.

Arizona stated that Phelps's suspension is "not related to the federal criminal proceedings in New York or the NCAA's review of the facts underlying the allegations of unlawful conduct," per ESPN.

On Monday, it was reported that the NCAA began its inquiry of Arizona, a questioning which stems from scrutiny over the federal basketball investigation.

Last month, former Arizona assistant coach Emanuel "Book" Richardson pleaded guilty in an ongoing prosecution of the college basketball corruption case.

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