Arizona Wildcats head coach Sean Miller was reportedly the subject of an FBI wiretap where Miller was allegedly discussing payment for getting star freshman big man DeAndre Ayton to Arizona. Miller has not only opened up and denied any of the discussions happening but a new report says Mille might not have actually been talking about paying Ayton.
Sean Miller made it clear on Thursday at a press conference that he will fight the allegations and denied any sort of payments for players scheme.
“I have never paid a recruit or 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 any recruit or prospect or their family or representative and I never will.”
But beyond this new press conference by Miller, there is a pair of reports that also say the recording might not have actually caught Miller discussing anything to do with Ayton because the timelines don’t match up with Ayton’s enrollment to Arizona.
Evan Daniels of 247 Sports reported the following.
A source told 247Sports that Dawkins (who had his phone tapped by the FBI) and Miller had calls intercepted between the timeframe of June 19 of 2017, through Sept. 25.
Sources say that the U.S. Attorney’s office notified multiple parties who had conversations with Dawkins that their phone calls had been recorded specifically during the dates of June 19, 2017 and Sept. 25, 2017.
The fourth-ranked player in the 247Sports Composite, Ayton signed with Arizona on Nov. 10 of 2016. He arrived on campus on June 10 of 2017, according to a source. Ayton began orientation on June 19.
Michael McCann of Sports Illustrated also reports something similar.
…a source familiar with the college hoops corruption investigation confirmed with SI that the details of a wiretapped phone call involving Miller were inaccurately reported in a story by ESPN that said Miller “discussed paying $100,000 to ensure star freshman Deandre Ayton signed with the Wildcats.”
According to the source, relevant FBI wiretaps in the investigation did not begin until 2017—months after five-star recruit Deandre Ayton had already committed to Arizona in Sept. 2016. This account is consistent with reporting by Evan Daniels of 247Sports. The recruitment of Ayton, therefore, would have not been at issue in an intercepted phone call that occurred in 2017. To that end, the source told SI what Miller clarified for the first time Thursday: Ayton is not the player on whose behalf former ASM Sports employee Christian Dawkins allegedly sought a payment from Miller, and Miller never pursued paying or made any payments to a recruit associated with Dawkins.