Judge: Arizona basketball coach Sean Miller will not testify in federal trial

Apr 19, 2019, 10:00 AM | Updated: 10:02 am

Arizona coach Sean Miller reacts to a play call during the first half of the team's NCAA college ba...

Arizona coach Sean Miller reacts to a play call during the first half of the team's NCAA college basketball game against Oregon on Saturday, March 2, 2019, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Chris Pietsch)

(AP Photo/Chris Pietsch)

Arizona Wildcats head coach Sean Miller will not be required to testify in the latest federal trial over corruption involving college basketball recruiting practices, a judge ruled on Friday.

Law360’s Pete Brush reported that U.S. District Court judge Edgardo Ramos deemed it “irrelevant” that Miller and LSU coach Will Wade allegedly could have paid their players.

Prosecutors have argued against dipping into NCAA amateurism rules that may have been broken by teams like Arizona and LSU because they are not relevant to the corruption charges. The bribery charges are against former Adidas grassroots consultants Christian Dawkins and Merl Code.

Ramos did say he reserves the right to change his mind regarding a potential testimony by the coaches, according to Brush.

While Wade stepped away from the LSU program toward the end of the season, Miller remained in place at Arizona. The Wildcats went 17-15 last season, missing the NCAA Tournament, but this week completed the signing of a five-man recruiting class that’s considered by 247 Sports as the best in the nation.

Five-star prospects Nico Mannion and Josh Green are joined by four-stars Zeke Nnaji, a forward, Terry Armstrong, a guard, and three-star center Christian Koloko.

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.

During the previous trials involving corruption in college hoops recruiting, 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.

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 an Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) 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.

Since last February, ABOR has held several closed-door meetings to discuss Miller’s status amid the trials. The schools has remained supportive of Miller.

Arizona Basketball

Azuolas Tubelis #10 and Kylan Boswell #4 of the Arizona Wildcats and Luther Muhammad #1 of the Ariz...

Stephen Gugliociello

Pac-12 plots points for Arizona, ASU men’s basketball schedule

The schedule for the 2023-24 Pac-12 men's basketball conference season was announced on Thursday, but no firm dates are set yet. 

9 days ago

ACC commissioner Jim Phillips...

Associated Press

ACC moves forward to add Stanford, Cal and SMU

The Atlantic Coast Conference has cleared the way for Stanford, California and SMU to join the league next year, per the AP.

22 days ago

ACC logo...

Associated Press

UNC pushes back on ACC possibly adding Pac-12’s Stanford, Cal

ACC presidents and chancellors are scheduled to meet Friday morning to again consider adding Stanford, Cal and SMU.

22 days ago

United States center Jaren Jackson Jr. and Jordan's Rondae Hollis-Jefferson...

Associated Press

FIBA World Cup: USA Basketball powers past Jordan team led by former Wildcat Hollis-Jefferson

Another game, another blowout for the U.S. at the Basketball World Cup. And now the competition figures to get considerably tougher.

24 days ago

Big 12...

Associated Press

Big 12 numbers: Evolving conference has more schools, students and miles to travel

The Big 12 Conference is bigger than ever before with 14 schools spread across eight states, and those numbers will increase next year.

28 days ago

West Virginia fan Terry Keenan...

Kevin Zimmerman

Big 12 and Pac-12 realignment leads to longer travel but new visits for fans

Fans of Big 12, and those of Pac-12 teams joining it after this season, see travel challenges but are excited to visit new venues and cities.

1 month ago

Judge: Arizona basketball coach Sean Miller will not testify in federal trial