University of Arizona basketball coach Sean Miller addressed the media for the first time since last Friday's explosive ESPN article which claimed that the ninth-year coach discussed a $100,000 payment to now-freshman center Deandre Ayton.
Miller’s statement, which he gave during a press conference at Arizona’s McKale Center, relays that he intends to fight the allegations, saying he’ll coach the team’s final regular season games, against Stanford tonight and Cal on Saturday.
A fiery Miller called the allegations, “inaccurate, false and inflammatory,” saying he’s never violated NCAA rules, nor offered money to a player in his coaching career.
Miller thanked Arizona fans, as well as first-year President and Director of Athletics Robert C. Robbins and Dave Heeke.
Arizona hosts Stanford tonight at 8 p.m., with a chance at capturing at least a share of the Pac-12 conference championship with a win.
Here is Miller's complete statement:
Good afternoon. Let me begin by saying I regret all the negative attention that has been focused on our program and the difficult position that this has created for President Robbins, Dave Heeke, the Arizona family and especially our players and their families. I appreciate very much all the support I’ve received during this difficult time, thank you to everybody. While I have done nothing wrong, I am responsible for our men’s basketball program, and I am sickened that we are in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons.
Contrary to what has been written this past week, we do our very best to run a clean program at the University of Arizona. I have done that since the first day that I stepped on this campus. Compliance with NCAA rules is extremely important to us, and we work hard to create, maintain and monitor a culture of compliance within our program.
I have never knowingly violated NCAA rules while serving as head coach of this great program. I have never paid a recruit or prospect, or their family or representative to come to Arizona. I never have, and I never will. I have never arranged or directed payment or any improper payment to any recruit, or prospect, or their family or their representative, and I never will.
I also understand that there is an ongoing federal investigation, and because of this, I cannot do anything that could compromise the integrity of this investigation. However, on this point, I cannot remain silent in light of media reports that have impugned the reputation of me, the University, and sullied the name of a tremendous young man, Deandre Ayton.
Let me be very, very clear. I have never discussed with Christian Dawkins paying Deandre Ayton to attend the University of Arizona. In fact, I never even met or spoke to Christian Dawkins until after Deandre publically announced that he was coming to our school. Any reporting to the contrary is inaccurate, false and inflammatory.
I’m outraged by the media statements that have been made, and the acceptance by many that these statements were true. There was no such conversation. These statements have damaged me, my family, the university, Deandre Ayton and his incredible family. The only attempted corrections by the original source of the media statements are still inaccurate and completely false.
I also want you to know that the one time that someone suggested to me paying a player to come to the University of Arizona, I did not agree to it. It never happened, and that player did not come to the University of Arizona.
Out of respect for this ongoing investigation, the privacy of the student athlete and his family, I’m not going to share more details concerning this matter.
I appreciate more than anyone can realize Dr. Robbins and the university carefully considering this matter and acting upon facts. I have been completely open and transparent, and I look forward to coaching this outstanding team as we seek to capture a Pac-12 regular season championship this week.
I now intend to turn my focus to basketball, and our players and this team. I once again want to express my thanks to all of those who have supported me, and this now completes my statement on this matter.