Wednesday, September 11, 2019
Public record from the trial of former agent employee Christian Dawkins and former Adidas consultant Merl Code this spring includes the transcript of the previously unreported conversation. In it, Richardson makes multiple references to paying $40,000 to have Alkins’ transcript amended so the highly recruited guard would be eligible to play his freshman college season in 2016-17.
In the transcript, Richardson did not say where he got the money. He cited the payment as an example of the difficulty handling the demands of recruits, their families and those around them.
“So, again, is it something different each year?” Richardson said, generally referencing having to financially support recruits’ families. “It is. Like I said, $40,000 to do that was totally extreme. If I had the chance to do it all over again, I would not do it. I'd try to barter something. I'd give blood. I'd give semen, something.”
It’s unknown why the conversation was not used as evidence or played in court earlier this year. The 1,500-word transcript of the discussion between Richardson, Dawkins, financial adviser Munish Sood and undercover FBI agents Jeff D’Angelo and Jill Bailey includes Richardson speaking openly about arranging a payment of “two grand” every month to Alkins’ cousin, who he said moved to Tucson with him.
D’Angelo and Bailey were posing as financial advisers who were willing to “provide … a pot of money each year,” as D’Angelo said on the transcript, to Richardson for use in recruiting in exchange for him steering Arizona players to them when they turned professional.
Academic fraud and payments to a player’s family are potential Level I infractions, the most serious on the NCAA’s scale of violations. Court testimony and evidence already implicated Arizona in numerous other potential violations, with the future of the program and the college coaching career of Sean Miller hanging in the balance as the NCAA follows up in the wake of the federal investigation. Miller has maintained he had no knowledge of or involvement in any potential violations within his program.
Steve Thompson, attorney for Sean Miller, declined comment. Arizona officials did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Richardson currently is serving a three-month sentence at the federal correctional institute in Otisville, New York, after agreeing to plead guilty to a federal funds bribery charge unrelated to the alleged payments to Alkins’ family or his coach. Richardson was not available for comment.