Report: NCAA investigating Arizona men’s basketball

The NCAA is investigating the Arizona men’s basketball program, the Arizona Daily Star reported.

The newspaper said a university spokesman confirmed the investigation Friday night following a response to an open records request.

The Tucson-based newspaper said the school declined the request, saying “investigations into the University of Arizona men’s basketball program are ongoing at this time.”

Arizona has been connected to the recruiting scandal in college basketball since the beginning, when former Wildcats assistant Emanuel “Book” Richardson was one of 10 people — and four college assistant coaches — arrested in September 2017 as a result of a federal investigation.

Richardson entered a guilty plea in January to charges he accepted $20,000 in bribes to influence certain Arizona players to hire aspiring agent Christian Dawkins and other financial advisers once they entered the NBA.

Dawkins and Merl Code, a former Adidas consultant, are on trial in federal court in New York for charges related to bribery. Closing arguments are expected to end Monday, with the case then going to the jury.

On Wednesday, federal prosecutors played a recording in a courtroom that suggested Arizona head coach Sean Miller paid former player Deandre Ayton $10,000 a month while in the Wildcats’ program.

In February 2018, when allegations surfaced that Miller was involved with paying Ayton, he vehemently denied it.

“Let me be very, very clear: I have never discussed with Christian Dawkins paying Deandre Ayton to attend the University of Arizona,” Miller said. “In fact, I had never even met or spoke to Christian Dawkins until after Deandre publicly announced that he was coming to our school. Any reporting to the contrary is inaccurate, false and defamatory.”