Arizona finally released Friday the notice of allegations it received from the NCAA, and the charges include an alleged Level I violation against embattled coach Sean Miller and an overall institutional control charge against the program. In total, the program is charged with five level I violations, according to the Arizona Daily Star, though three of them center on alleged misconduct by former assistants.
The Wildcats already took the step of self-imposing a postseason ban for the 2020-21 season, meaning the Wildcats won’t compete in next week’s Pac-12 Tournament or be in contention for an NCAA Tournament bid. But the depth of the alleged violations could warrant additional penalties as the program’s case goes through the Independent Accountability Resolution Process (IARP).
It was expected that the Wildcats would be facing multiple level I violations after the NCAA first launched an investigation into the program in 2019 following former assistant Emanuel “Book” Richardson’s arrest as part of the FBI’s sting on corruption in the sport. But Friday’s revelation of the school’s notice of allegations provides more specifics.
The Daily Star reported that the notice of allegations includes a charge of recruiting misconduct against Richardson and former assistant Mark Phelps, who are accused of arranging a false transcript for two recruits. The NOA also alleges that Richardson accepted bribes to steer players toward an agency and that Phelps lied to investigators about asking a player to erase a message about an impermissible alone.
As for Miller, the 12th-year Arizona coach is hit with a responsibility charge for failing to demonstrate compliance. The institutional lack of control charge also reflects on his leadership of the program.
Miller addressed the situation following the school’s announcement of the self-imposed postseason ban in December.
“I understand and fully support the university’s decision to self-impose a one-year post season ban on our men’s basketball program,” Miller said at the time. “Our team will remain united and aggressively compete to win a Pac-12 championship.”
The Wildcats last appeared in the NCAA Tournament at the end of the 2017-18 season and lost in the first round. They ended the 2020-21 season with a 17-9 (11-9 Pac-12) record. With a NET ranking of 47, the Wildcats would likely be on the NCAA Tournament bubble right now if eligible for the event.