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NOA Details Charges Against Arizona Basketball

Jason Scott

The University of Arizona on Friday released the NCAA Notice of Allegations against its men’s basketball program, which include five Level I rules violations, according to ESPN.

Head coach Sean Miller is charged with failing to demonstrate "that he promoted an atmosphere for compliance and monitored his staff." Those charges stem from allegations made against former assistant coaches Emmanuel Richardson and Mark Phelps, who were accused of violating the principles of ethical conduct, engaging in preenrollment academic misconduct and/or providing an impermissible recruiting inducement "when they knowingly arranged for false academic transcripts for two then men's basketball prospective student-athletes," according to the notice of allegations. 

Richardson and Phelps specifically were accused of arranging for false or inaccurate transcripts to be created for two prospective student-athletes who otherwise would be ineligible for competition between March 2016 and September 2017.

The Arizona Republic reports that Richardson had allegedly arranged for a payment of $40,000 in order to receive a fraudulent or false academic transcript for a prospect. That athlete ultimately enrolled and competed while ineligible, according to the NCAA. Richardson was also accused of accepting bribes from a business management company in order to steer student-athletes toward its services after going pro. 

Phelps, meanwhile, allegedly loaned an athlete money to purchase a plane ticket. That loan — while reportedly promptly repaid — is not permitted under NCAA rules. Phelps was also accused of asking the student-athlete to delete a text message regarding the arrangement, and of providing the university with false or misleading information regarding his knowledge of the violation.

The NCAA document says that Miller, as the head coach, bears ultimate responsibility for what happens within his program, and that “his staff’s actions reflect on Miller as head coach.”

ESPN and other media outlets had sought the NOA under open records requests, but had been rebuffed. ESPN sued the school in January, and a Maricopa County judge on Monday ordered that the information be released.

 

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