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Report: Arizona’s Sean Miller expected to be subpoenaed in trial

(Mike Christy/Arizona Daily Star via AP)

A formal NCAA inquiry has already begun to delve into head coach Sean Miller and the Arizona program’s involvement in the college basketball corruption trial currently underway. That, according to Yahoo! Sports, could complicate things for Miller, who is expected to be subpoenaed in the trial of former agency runner Christian Dawkins.

During a Tuesday press conference, Miller said he couldn’t comment on the investigation.

Arizona has been linked from the beginning to the FBI investigation that led to recent plea bargain agreements by former college basketball assistant coaches, including former Wildcat assistant Emanuel “Book” Richardson.

Dawkins will not take a plea and is set for an April trial.

There’s a strong expectation that Miller will be subpoenaed to appear at the trial, potentially within the next month. He could be one of many coaches, as all the coaches who were captured on wiretap with Dawkins are at risk of a subpoena. Part of the defense’s theory is expected to be based on showing Dawkins wasn’t bribing coaches. “My obligation here is to defend my client,” Haney said in a phone interview, “not protect coaches who violated NCAA rules.”

During the trials so far, transcripts of FBI wiretaps included Dawkins’ mentions of working with the Arizona staff. Phones linked to Dawkins and Miller made contact at least 13 times over a course of several months in 2017, ESPN reported.

“(Former Arizona assistant Joe Pasternack) told me verbatim he will help us get all the Arizona players, so put his feet to the fire,” one of Dawkins’ texts read when revealed in the first trial.

According to Yahoo! the nitty gritty of their interactions will put pressure on Miller as the NCAA investigates him in its own search for recruiting violations.

“Sean Miller is really in a box,” said a person familiar with the details of the case. “I don’t see how he can testify and it would stay consistent with his past statements. And I don’t see how he can keep the University of Arizona without exposure.”

Miller was under the most scrutiny a year ago, when an ESPN report said a wiretap caught the UA coach discussing an impermissible payment to then-recruit Deandre Ayton, who was playing his freshman year for the Wildcats at the time. The head coach left the team for five days before returning to defend himself.

The University of Arizona, after a Board of Regents meeting, put its support behind Miller, who said in his first statement that he never spoke to Dawkins until after Ayton committed in February 2016.

“Any reporting to the contrary is inaccurate, false, and defamatory. I’m outraged by the media statements that have been made, and the acceptance that these statements were true,” Miller said.

“I have never knowingly violated NCAA rules serving as head coach,” he said. “I never have and I never will.”

The Arizona Board of Regents most recently held a special meeting regarding Miller’s status in January after the first round of the trial involving agents and officials involved in grassroots basketball.