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Miller publicly denies accusations against him - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

Miller publicly denies accusations against him

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Sean Miller denied accusations that have rocked the University of Arizona basketball program.

"I want to make it very clear I have never knowingly violated NCAA rules," he said. "I look forward to coaching, I now turn my focus to basketball."

Miller spoke at a news conference at McKale Center on Thursday afternoon, mere hours before the Board of Regents will discuss his fate.

HERE'S IN-DEPTH REPORTING FROM NEWS FOUR TUCSON AT 4 PM

Miller has been under fire since an ESPN report that said the FBI reportedly intercepted telephone conversations in which he discussed paying $100,000 to ensure star freshman Deandre Ayton would sign with the Wildcats.

The tapes allegedly have Miller talking with Christian Dawkins, a figure in the FBI's investigation into college basketball corruption.

"Let me be very, very clear. I have never discussed with Christian Dawkins paying DeAndre Ayton to attend the UofA," Miller said.

Sources say Dawkins asked Miller if he should work with assistant coach Emanuel "Book" Richardson to finalize this agreement. But Miller is said to have told Dawkins he should deal directly with him when it came to money.

Richardson was fired by Arizona after he was arrested by the FBI in September 2017. He is accused of taking $20,000 in bribes to steer players to Dawkins and another financial adviser.

If convicted, Richardson could face up to 60 years in prison.

The No. 14 Cats face Stanford on Thursday at McKale Center.

Here is Miller's full statement:

Here is Miller’s full statement (he did not take any questions):

"Good afternoon.

“Let me begin by saying that I regret all the negative attention that has been focused on our program and the difficult position that this has created for President Robbins, Dave Heeke, the Arizona family and especially our players and their families.

“I appreciate very much all the support I’ve received during this difficult time. Thank you to everybody.

“While I have done nothing wrong, I am responsible for our men’s basketball program and I am sickened that we are in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.

“Contrary to what has been written this past week, we do our very best to run a clean program at the University of Arizona. I have done that since the first day I stepped on this campus. Compliance with NCAA rules is extremely important to us and we work hard to create, maintain, and monitor a culture of compliance within our program. I have never knowingly violated NCAA rules while serving as head coach of this great program.

“I have never paid a recruit or a prospect or their family or representative to come to Arizona. I never have, and I never will. I have never arranged or directed payment or any improper benefits to a recruit or prospect or their family or representative. And I never will.

“I also understand that there is an ongoing federal investigation. And because of this, I cannot do anything that might compromise the integrity of this investigation. However, on this point, I cannot remain silent in light of media reports that have impugned the reputation of me, the University, and sullied the name of a tremendous young man, Deandre Ayton.

“Let me be very, very clear. I have never discussed with Christian Dawkins paying Deandre Ayton to attend the University of Arizona. In fact, I never even met or spoke to Christian Dawkins until Deandre publicly announced that he is coming to our school. 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. There was no such conversation.

“These statements have damaged me, my family, the University, and Deandre Ayton and his incredible family.

“The only attempted corrections by the original source of the media statements are still inaccurate and completely false. I also want you to know that the one time that someone suggested to me paying a player to come to the University of Arizona, I did not agree to it. It never happened and that player did not come to the University of Arizona.

“Out of respect for this ongoing investigation, the privacy of the student-athlete and his family, I’m not going to share further details concerning this matter. I appreciate more than anyone can realize, Dr. Robbins and the University carefully considering this matter and acting upon facts. I have been completely open and transparent, and I look forward to coaching this outstanding team as we seek to capture a Pac-12 regular season championship this week.

“I now intend to turn my focus to basketball, and our players, and this team. I once again want to express my thanks to all of those who have supported me and this now completes my statement on this matter.”

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