Arizona coach Sean Miller will not coach when the Wildcats play Oregon on Saturday after a damning report suggested he had conversations about a payment for a recruit. Associate head coach Lorenzo Romar will coach in Miller's place.
The news was first reported by the Arizona Daily Star's Greg Hansen.
"I believe it is in the best interest of our team that I not coach the game tonight," Miller said in a statement. "I continue to fully support the University's efforts to fully investigate this matter and am confident that I will be vindicated. For now, my thoughts are with our team. They are a great group of young ment hat will support each other and continue their pursuit of winning a Pac-12 championship."
On Friday night, ESPN's Mark Schlabach reported that the FBI wiretaps showed that Miller had multiple conversations with former ASM Sports employee Christian Dawkins about a $100,000 payment to secure the commitment of star freshman DeAndre Ayton.
Dawkins was arrested in the fall for his role in facilitating multiple improper payments and benefits to recruits. Ayton will play against Oregon.
According to Schlabach, Dawkins asked Miller if he should go through former Arizona assistant Emanuel "Book" Richardson to finalize the payment, but Miller told Dawkins to go directly through him.
Richardson was one of four Division I assistant to be arrested by FBI agents after the agency's multi-year investigation into rampant corruption and bribery in recruiting.
After Richardson's arrest and Arizona's implication in the FBI's first wave of findings, Miller put out the following statement:
"As the head basketball coach at the University of Arizona, I recognize my responsibility is not only to establish a culture of success on the basketball court and in the classroom, but as important, to promote and reinforce a culture of compliance. To the best of my ability, I have worked to demonstrate this over the past eight years and will continue to do so as we move forward."
Ayton is Arizona's leading scorer with 19.6 points and 10.9 rebounds for Arizona, which is in first place in the Pac-12. A Bahamas native who moved to the U.S. to play high school basketball, Ayton was the number four overall recruit in the class of 2017, per 247 sports.