The Arizona basketball program appears to be the latest subject of NCAA scrutiny as the college basketball corruption case heads towards an upcoming trial with links to the Wildcats program.
According to a report Monday from Yahoo Sports, the Arizona program is one of several tied to the case where formal NCAA inquiries have begun related to the federal scandal. The to hold off on commencing formal investigations related to the case until the cases went to trial, so this would seemingly indicate the NCAA has been given the go-ahead to commence its own probes independent of the federal investigators.
Arizona coach Sean Miller has survived allegations of potential involvement in the case thus far. Last year, ESPN reported that Miller discussed a $100,000 payment to ensure Deandre Ayton would commit to the program. Miller issued a strong denial about that -- as well as the implication that he may have discussed paying other prospects -- in the wake of said report. Not only did he keep his job but he received full support from Arizona brass. He currently boasts the No. 1 recruiting class in the 2019 cycle.
But his word may be pit against those who know him soon in front of a jury. Miller's longtime assistant, Book Richardson, who worked under Miller for more than a decade, recently reached a plea deal with authorities, putting into question how the NCAA may handle Miller's potential actions in all this. Ex-runner Christian Dawkins, who has already been found guilty in the case, is scheduled for trial once again in April. Federal investigators reportedly have evidence of Dawkins and Miller communicating regularly, which could mean wiretaps of the two could be exposed in the trial. What is on the wiretaps could make or break Miller's tenure in Tucson.
To this point, only one head coach -- Rick Pitino, who simply couldn't survive another scandal at Louisville -- has lost their job as a result of the scandal. Kansas, USC, NC State, Oregon, Oklahoma State, DePaul, LSU, Auburn, South Carolina, Louisville and Creighton have, at one time or another, been mentioned in the case. Assistant coaches named in the case at Auburn, OSU, USC and Arizona all lost their jobs; head coaches at those programs all remain in place.
Time will tell whether Miller survives yet another round of scrutiny in the case, but one thing to watch is whether or not he is called on to testify in Dawkins' case. Yahoo Sports reports there is a "strong expectation" he will be subpoenaed to appear at the trial, which could open the door for other coaches linked to Dawkins in the case.