he bribery and corruption case enveloping college basketball could roil Arizona and USC, the teams at the top of the Pac-12 standings.
ESPN, citing unnamed sources, reported that FBI wiretaps intercepted telephone conversations between Arizona coach Sean Miller and would-be agent Christian Dawkins in which Miller discussed a $100,000 payment to ensure Deandre Ayton signed with the Wildcats.
Ayton, a 7-foot-1 freshman from the Bahamas, paces Pac-12-leading Arizona with 53 blocked shots and averages of 19.6 points and 10.9 rebounds. He is expected to be one of the top picks in the NBA Draft.
Arizona’s Emanuel “Book” Richardson and USC’s Tony Bland were among four major-college assistant coaches fired after they were arrested and charged in the bribery and corruption case. Richardson and Miller had a longtime association, having worked together for 10 seasons at Arizona and, previously, Xavier.
Expense reports obtained by federal authorities from ASM Sports, a high-powered agency that represents professional basketball players, detail payments to people close to USC stars Chimezie Metu and Bennie Boatwright in February and March of 2016, when they were freshmen.
The records indicate Boatwright’s father, Bennie Sr., received about $2,000 and Metu or his adviser, Johnnie Parker, got at least $2,000. Yahoo Sports first reported the information Friday, having reviewed hundreds of pages of documents under a court protective order that connect more than 25 players and 20 schools to alleged payments that could violate NCAA rules.
NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a statement Friday the allegations, “if true, point to systematic failures that must be fixed and fixed now if we want college sports in America.”
Yahoo said Friday that the documents obtained in discovery during the investigation link other current players including Michigan State’s Miles Bridges, Duke’s Wendell Carter and Alabama’s Collin Sexton to potential benefits that would be violations of NCAA rules.