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Report: Former UA coach said he paid high school coach recruiting Alkins

FILE - In this Oct. 10, 2017, file photo, former University of Arizona assistant men's basketball coach Emanuel Richardson leaves Manhattan federal court in New York. (AP Photo/Larry Neumeister, File)

Former Arizona basketball assistant coach Emanuel “Book” Richardson told undercover agents he paid $40,000 to a high school coach who could help then-recruit Rawle Alkins remain academically eligible, according to a report from Yahoo! Sports.

Yahoo! Sports learned of the June 2017 conversation between agents and Richardson in a previously unreleased transcript of a conversation recorded by the FBI.

Richardson said he questioned the cost and resisted paying at first, trying alternate means to complete Alkins’ transcript. But he returned to the coach because, “He had the school seal, and the great thing about the seal that he had, the school, and Bishop Ford closed down in Brooklyn, so you can’t investigate. … So, when the NCAA says I need to see the coursework and all — the school’s closed.” Richardson declared that the coach’s plan to alter the transcript and get paid for it was “ingenious.”

Richardson, who is currently serving three months in prison, is charged with “taking approximately $20,000 in cash bribes from athlete advisers in exchange for using his position to influence Arizona basketball players on his team to retain the services of the advisers paying the bribes,” according to court documents. Richardson pleaded guilty to the charge in June.

The sentencing is a result of an FBI investigation into illegal practices in recruiting throughout the college basketball landscape.

According to Yahoo! Sports, Richardson told the undercover agents of his payments to the high school coach as an example of how complicated recruiting practices — and impermissible payments by NCAA rules — can be. The two agents were posing as financial advisers who told the assistant coach they would provide money to him in exchange for pushing Arizona players to them once they went pro.

NCAA investigators are aware of the alleged $40,000 payment Richardson discussed. An August email from the lawyer representing another fired former Arizona assistant coach, Mark Phelps, references enforcement officials questioning his client about the payment. Yahoo Sports viewed an email from attorney Don Jackson to NCAA enforcement reps that said, in part: “Based upon the questioning [from NCAA enforcement], it appears that the former staff member [Richardson] was implicated in a $40,000.00 transaction with the high school coach.”

Richardson had mentioned in previously unveiled conversation transcripts that he was paying Alkins’ cousin $2,000 a month.

Arizona head coach Sean Miller has all along denied involvement in Richardson’s recruiting practices. His attorney declined comment to Yahoo! Sports.