Report: University of Arizona, Sean Miller in contract standoff
The University of Arizona has not made headway in extending head men’s basketball coach Sean Miller beyond the 2021-22 season.
It has also not shown signs it is close to firing him amid an NCAA scandal that is currently being reviewed by the Independent Accountability Resolution Process (IARP) committee.
USA Today’s Dan Wolken in a column published Wednesday added more clarity to the situation, reporting that two sources say the standoff is as stale between the coach and the school as it seems from the outside.
Since Arizona’s season ended March 1 due to a self-imposed postseason ban, it has in essence created a standoff designed to either get Miller to walk away from the last $1.5 million he would be owed if fired or come back next season while the clock runs out on his contract — a situation that practically never happens at the Power Five level.
“There’s no communication at all” between Miller and the school’s administration, one person with knowledge of the matter said.
University of Arizona president Robert Robbins said Monday that Miller remains the head coach and is currently recruiting for next year.
According to the Arizona Daily Star, Robbins said he’d met with Miller since the Wildcats’ year ended with a 17-9 regular season record. Robbins had no update about whether the school would extend or fire the head coach with his contract set to expire after next season.
Wolken’s sources tell him that the meeting between Robbins and Miller was “brief.” The reporter adds that Robbins told Miller he could not get a contract extension approved by the Arizona Board of Regents.
A source “familiar with Miller’s thinking” told Wolken that the head coach believed that Robbins preferred that he ultimately leaves the program.
Miller, however, is not ready to depart Arizona at this point, Wolken is told.
At this point Miller does not intend to resign, according to one of the people, and the uncertainty over his punishment from the NCAA eliminates him from getting hired elsewhere in college basketball during this cycle.
At the same time, the two people told USA TODAY Sports that Miller is conflicted about a 2021-22 season without some kind of signal of support from the school, even a school-friendly token extension that would be easy to get out of.
The school on Friday released the Notice of Allegations it received from the NCAA last fall, which includes five Level I violations. Four involve Miller’s program.
The school released the notice after a judge ruled in favor of a lawsuit filed by ESPN.
Arizona has withheld the allegations for months, which means it has known the extent of the NCAA’s charges. The Wildcats announced mid-year they would self-impose a postseason ban that kept them out of the Pac-12 Tournament and NCAA Tournaments if they had qualified for the latter.