The University of Arizona has officially acknowledged a Notice of Allegations from the NCAA, including five Level I violations—highlighted by a charge of lack of institutional control against men's basketball head coach Sean Miller.
The Notice of Allegations was delivered in October. The school then requested its case be presented to the NCAA's Independent Accountability Resolution Process, which accepted in December. The NOA was released to the public on Friday evening following a lawsuit by ESPN.
Level I represents the most serious violations of NCAA bylaws.
Per Bruce Pascoe of the Arizona Daily Star, those five Level I charges are:
- Unethical recruiting conduct by former assistant coaches Book Richardson and Mark Phelps
- Unethical conduct by Richardson for accepting $20,000 in bribes
- Unethical conduct by Phelps for asking a UA player to delete a text message thread related to an impermissible $500 loan he had provided, and lying to investigators
- Head coach responsibility for Miller for not demonstrating he promoted compliance
- Institutional lack of control for Arizona because of the men's basketball charges and two Level II charges involving swimming.
The two swimming charges include arranging improper tryouts and lack of head coach responsibility.
Richardson previously served a three-month prison sentence for accepting bribes as part of the FBI's investigation into federal corruption within college basketball Using wiretaps, the FBI recorded Richardson alleging payments of $10,000 per month for former Wildcats star Deandre Ayton in 2017.
Pascoe noted Miller stands to lose a $1 million retention bonus if found guilty, though the funds may be returned.
That would be just the start of potential consequences for Miller and the basketball program, which has already self-imposed a postseason ban in late December.
"If a school is found to have committed a standard Level I violation, the NCAA's penalty matrix calls for one or two years of a postseason ban. But an aggravated Level 1 carries a two to four year ban (while a mitigated Level 1 brings either no ban or a one-year ban)."
The program may also have to vacate wins if past student-athletes were found to be ineligible.
There is currently no timeline available for the IARP to rule on Arizona's case.