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Arizona Daily Star (Tucson)
An hour after Arizona won its season basketball opener Friday at McKale Center, former UA assistant track and field coach Craig Carter told ABC's "20/20" that, "Hey, people mess up."
Carter is accused of stalking, assault with a dangerous weapon and other charges connected to his relationship with a former UA shot-putter.
People mess up? That's what he said.
An hour earlier, Arizona played NAU minus two assistant basketball coaches and two players. All have been suspended for various off-court issues.
Yes, people mess up.
Unlike Craig Carter, UA basketball coach Sean Miller has learned when to shut up. For the last two years, he led the league in "no comment" replies to questions about suspended players Elliott Pitts and Allonzo Trier. It's only November, but Miller is probably ahead of his previous "no comment" pace.
It's not a good look, but more and more it is defining the UA basketball program. The stigma of impropriety isn't likely to go away no matter how many games the Wildcats win.
Have you ever heard of a college basketball team with two suspended coaches?
Miller's latest "no comment" capped one of the most embarrassing weeks in Pac-12 basketball history. Former UA assistant coach Josh Pastner was linked to a Tucson man who provided money, shoes and airline tickets for two Georgia Tech players. Three UCLA players were arrested in China for alleged shoplifting, after which Pac-12 Networks analyst Bill Walton apologized "on behalf of the entire human race."
And No. 10 USC opened the season Friday minus an assistant coach and a key player, both suspended because of the ongoing FBI investigation into corruption.
College basketball has become a game of risk-takers.
As long ago as the 2011 Final Four, NCAA executive director Mark Emmert told reporters: "The single biggest concern that I have among the threats to the collegiate model is simply the threat to integrity. I have heard concerns expressed by people all around the country about the integrity of intercollegiate athletics right now, that people are seeing things that they don't like and that I don't like and that many people are concerned about."
Now, in the fall of 2017, Emmert's words ring true. So far, the only answer we've received is "no comment."
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