Sean Miller is adamant that he has done nothing wrong and the University of Arizona is standing behind him.
The Arizona head coach denied knowingly violating any NCAA rules during his tenure with the program at a press conference on Thursday and ripped ESPN, though did not mention them by name, for publishing a story that alleged he was involved in securing a recruit through improper benefits.
I have never paid a recruit or prospect or their family or representative to come to Arizona. I never have and I never will, he said. I have never arranged or directed payment or any improper benefits to any recruit or prospect or their family or representative and I never will.
Hours after Millers statement, University of Arizona President Robert Robins and Director of Athletics David Heeke decided that Miller will remain the programs head coach.
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ESPN reported on Friday that Miller was caught on an FBI wiretap with former ASM Sports employee Christian Dawkins discussing a $100,000 payment to secure recruit DeAndre Ayton.
However, Sports Illustrated reported on Thursday after Millers four-minute press conference that a source told them the FBI wiretap investigation did not begin until 2017, months after Ayton committed to Arizona in September 2016.
If true, Aytons recruitment would not have been an issue and would explain why the university cleared him and said not a shred of evidence suggests he accepted improper benefits.
Miller did not hold anything back in lambasting the ESPN report during his statement.
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I cannot remain silent in light of media reports that have impugned the reputation of me, the university and sullied the name of a tremendous young man, DeAndre Ayton, he said. Let me be very, very clear: I have never discussed with Christian Dawkins paying Deandre Ayton to attend the University of Arizona. In fact, I never even met or spoke with Christian Dawkins until after DeAndre publicly announced he was coming to our school. Any reporting to the contrary is inaccurate, false and defamatory.
Im outraged by the media statements that have been made and the acceptance by many that these statements were true. There was no such conversation. These statements damaged me, my family, the university, DeAndre Ayton and his incredible family. The only attempted corrections of the immediate source of these statements are still inaccurate and completely false.
ESPN said in a statement it stands by its reporting.
Miller did not mention ESPN by name in his comments Thursday and did not take questions after making his statement, the statement read. ESPN stands by its reporting on Miller and the FBI investigation.”
Sean Miller on FBI tape talking $100k payment to recruit: report
Miller said that only once during his time at the University of Arizona did someone approach him about playing a player to commit to the school.
I did not agree to it. It never happened and that player did not come to the University of Arizona, he said. Out of respect for this ongoing investigation, the privacy of that student-athlete and his family, I am not going to share further details concerning this matter.
After the report surfaced on Friday, Miller decided it was in the best interest of his team to not coach the next day against Oregon.
Miller said his focus is now back on the team and does not plan on addressing the controversy again.
I have been completely open and transparent and I look forward to coaching this outstanding team as we look forward to capture the Pac-12 regular season championship this week, he said. I now intend to return my focus to basketball and our players and this team. I once again want to express my thanks to all of those who have supported me and this now completes my statement on this matter.