Arizona Basketball

NOA Out: It doesn’t look good for Arizona with numerous Level I allegations

Arizona men’s basketball coach Sean Miller has been charged with lack of head-coach responsibility and the school and program have been hit with five Level I NCAA violations.

The much-anticipated Notice of Allegations was released on Friday. Surprisingly, most of the information in the document already had been reported by numerous media outlets.

Arizona’s athletics department does not come away unscathed as well. It is charged with lack of institutional control for “failure to establish a culture of compliance within the men’s basketball program.”

According to the report, the UA “compromised the integrity of the investigation” and failing to cooperate.

Sean Miller after a UA basketball game.

The allegations are a laundry list of items that includes improper recruiting inducements, a loan to a player and academic misconduct. They involve former UA assistant coaches Mark Phelps and Book Richardson.

Miller was named in the document for failure to monitor his assistant coaches but was not tied to any of the listed violations.

“Miller failed to demonstrate he promoted compliance by not establishing that compliance was a shared responsibility within the men’s basketball program, not setting clear expectations that his coaching staff comply with NCAA legislation and not require the immediate reporting of actual and potential violations to the compliance staff for an independent inquiry,” the NCAA notice of allegations said.

Ultimately, Miller is in charge of his program.

Dave Heeke (photo courtesy

The report said “two of Miller’s three assistant coaches committed intentional violations involving fraudulent academic transcripts, receipt of cash bribes, facilitating a meeting with an aspiring agent, impermissible inducements and recruiting violations all within an 18-month period. The ultimate responsibility for the integrity of the men’s basketball program rested with Miller and his staff’s actions reflect on Miller as the head coach.”

In the academic fraud situation, it alleges Richardson paid $40,000 to gain access to fraudulent academic credit or transcript for a player. The information was then given to UA and forwarded to the NCAA Eligibility Center to certify the player’s academic eligibility.

In what was new information, the FBI obtained a recording that showed evidence that Richardson discussed paying a high school coach $40,000 to help him secure the eligibility of a player thought to be Rawle Alkins.

If ruled ineligible even years later, UA could conceivably have wins removed – vacated – from the record books. Any and all games Alkins played in while at Arizona.

In an additional academic violation – also already reported – Phelps was to have allegedly arranged “a false or inaccurate academic record” for a potential recruit.

Reports at the time were that Shareef O’Neal was the recruit. O’Neal committed then decommited to UA. He’s now at LSU.

In another Level I charge, Phelps is alleged to have given a player – alleged to be Keanu Pinder through media reports – a $500 loan. He later asked the player to delete a text message to the money and lied to investigators about it. Phelps, who was removed from the coaching staff two years ago, also was given a Level II violation for asking a UA player to help him recruit.

In another Level I violation, Richardson is cited for unethical conduct for accepting $20,000 from a sports agency and in return he’d sway UA players to the agency. Richardson, a longtime assistant under Miller, plead guilty to the charge and served a three-month prison sentence.

Miller was cited for not demonstrating he promoted compliance, specifically Richardson when it involved the sport agency and agent Christian Dawkins.

Now, what does it all mean? Level I violations could result in a one- or two-year postseason ban. But more serious Level I violations could result in longer bans.

In December – and a reason UA won’t be playing in the Pac-12 tournament next week – UA self-imposed a postseason ban.

Arizona is now waiting word from the Independent Accountability Resolutions Process overseeing the investigation.

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