The University of Arizona received its long-anticipated Notice of Allegations from the NCAA this week related to the FBI scandal, and it alleges nine total charges of misconduct, five of which are Level I allegations, according to a report from The Athletic.
Level I charges are the most serious in nature in the NCAA rulebook, and among the five charges against UA at that level include lack of institutional control, failure by the university to monitor and lack of head coach control against basketball coach Sean Miller. Arizona this week acknowledged it had received a Notice of Allegations but it did not divulge its contents.
The nine total allegations in the NOA are the most levied by the NCAA against any school involved in the FBI scandal to date, a notable development because it is not the first school to be hit by the governing body related to the scandal. Oklahoma State, Memphis, NC State, LSU and Kansas are already dealing with their own cases, and those are being funneled through the new Independent Accountability Resolution Process (IARP). The Athletic reports that it obtained the details of the NOA after Arizona’s counsel requested that its case, like those others, be referred to the IARP.
Former Arizona assistant coach Book Richardson is at the center of the NCAA’s case against the school. He was one of 10 assistant coaches who was arrested by federal prosecutors when the basketball scandal alleging coaches exerted their influence to steer certain players to financial advisers came to light in 2017. Richardson later pled guilty in federal court to accepting bribes for his role in the deal and served a prison sentence last year.
Reports have suggested Miller’s involvement stems from being caught on an FBI wiretap in which he was heard discussing a payment to former five-star prospect and ex-Arizona star Deandre Ayton prior to his commitment and signing with the Wildcats. Miller was held out of one game in 2018 after those reports surfaced and has not faced further punishment, though the head coach control charge is significant.
The NOA’s arrival starts the clock in what may be a long battle between the blueblood school and the NCAA. UA has 90 days to respond to the allegations set forth by the NCAA, and the NCAA will then have 60 days to formally address that response.