Arizona basketball coach Sean Miller commented for the first time Tuesday on the arrest of Wildcats assistant Emanuel "Book" Richardson, who was charged in a federal investigation into corruption in college basketball recruiting on Sept. 26.
"I was devastated to learn last week of the allegations made against Emanuel Richardson," Miller said. "I have expressed to both Dr. Robbins and our Athletic Director Dave Heeke that I fully support the University's efforts to fully investigate these allegations. As the head basketball coach at the University of Arizona, I recognize my responsibility is not only to establish a culture of success on the basketball court and in the classroom, but as important, to promote and reinforce a culture of compliance. To the best of my ability, I have worked to demonstrate this over the past 8 years and will continue to do so as we move forward."
Miller had not previously commented on Richardson's arrest or the FBI investigation, which focused on coaches being paid tens of thousands of dollars to steer NBA-bound players toward sports agents, financial advisers and apparel companies.
In a statement released Tuesday, Arizona president Robert C. Robbins said Miller has not been charged or accused of any misconduct. Robbins also said the university took the following steps after news of Richardson's arrest:
-- Initiated formal dismissal proceedings against Richardson, who was immediately relieved of his duties
-- Hired the law firm of Steptoe & Johnson LLP to review the federal government's allegations
-- Retained outside counsel to assist the university with the "Department of Justice's criminal investigation, as well as with potential NCAA matters."
"I have briefed the Board of Regents in its oversight capacity and will continue to provide the Board with regular updates," Robbins said. "Should any new information come to light in the coming days and weeks, we will not hesitate to act or to take additional measures to fully address any issues."
Richardson was one of four assistant basketball coaches around the country charged with bribery conspiracy, solicitation of bribes, honest services fraud conspiracy, honest service fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and Travel Act conspiracy. The U.S. Department of Justice said each of the coaches faces a maximum sentence of 80 years in prison.
In the complaint released last week by federal investigators, Richardson was alleged to have taken $20,000 in bribes to help nail down a recruit.
Several Adidas executives were also charged in the FBI investigation. Arizona, however, is a Nike school, receiving payments, equipment and attire to represent that brand.
Another of the men arrested was former agent Christian Dawkins.
In the complaint, Dawkins alleges that a current Arizona player has been paid and is quoted as saying he is "friends" with Wildcats coaches and can attend practice "like I'm on the team."
Richardson has been an assistant to Miller for 11 years. He first worked with the coach at Xavier in 2007 and moved with Miller to Arizona in 2009.