The FBI will issue subpoenas to Arizona head coach Sean Miller and LSU head coach Will Wade for April’s federal basketball corruption trial, Yahoo Sports reports.
As Pat Forde, Pete Thamel and Dan Wetzel write, “Preliminary notifications have been sent out to representatives of both Arizona basketball coach Sean Miller and LSU basketball coach Will Wade.
Both coaches have been associated with Christian Dawkins, an intermediary for NCAA athletes that who was found guilty of multiple felony fraud charges in the first basketball corruption trial in October. Dawkins, Adidas executive Jim Gatto and former Adidas consultant Merl Code were all found guilty of fraud at that time.
The upcoming trial is set for April 22.
Here’s what you need to know:
Timeline of Events for Miller
On Sep. 26 of 2017, Wildcat assistant Emanuel “Book” Richardson was arrested on federal bribery and fraud charges. Richardson pled guilty to the bribery charges.
Miller denied his involvement a week later in a public statement.
“As the head basketball coach at the University of Arizona,” he said Oct. 3, 2017. “I recognize my responsibility is not only to establish a culture of success on the basketball court and in the classroom, but as important, to promote and reinforce a culture of compliance. To the best of my ability, I have worked to demonstrate this over the past eight years and will continue to do so as we move forward.”
Mark Schlabach of ESPN, citing FBI wiretaps, alleged in Feb. 2018 that Miller discussed a $100,000 payment to secure the commitment of Deandre Ayton, a top-5 NBA pick last summer with the Phoenix Suns.
Michael McCann of Sports Illustrated refuted that initial report, citing that, “relevant FBI wiretaps in the investigation did not begin until 2017—months after five-star recruit Deandre Ayton had already committed to Arizona in Sept. 2016.”
“I have never knowingly violated NCAA rules while serving as head coach of this great program,” Miller said in March 2018. He repeated that he “never paid” a recruit or anyone around them to attend Arizona. “I never have, and I never will.”
Arizona went on to win the 2018 Pac-12 regular season and tournament championships. Ayton led the way, seizing conference player of the year honors after notching 20.1 points and 11.6 rebounds a game. The Wildcats lost in the second round of the NCAA Tournament to Buffalo 89-68.
Timeline of Events for Wade
Wade entered the scope of the investigation during last October’s trial after wiretaps discovered a conversation he had with Dawkins surrounding the recruitment of Balsa Koprivica, now a center for Florida State.
Gatto’s attorney Casey Donnelly read a transcript of that conversation at last October’s trial.
“Would you want Balsa?” Dawkins asked.
“Oh, the big kid?” Wade responded.
“OK, but there is other [expletive] involved in it,” Wade said. “Wait, I’ve got to shut the door … I can get you what you need, but it’s got to work.”
Wade deflected the allegations at SEC Media Days a few weeks later, stating that he “was surprised” by them and “has never, ever done business” with Dawkins.
Wade was also named in a Yahoo article in February 2018 that suggested the NCAA was looking into his recruiting tactics at VCU, his previous stop before taking the LSU job in early 2017. VCU’s internal investigation found no wrongdoing.
The Tigers sit atop the SEC at 12-2, tied with Kentucky and Tennessee. They are a projected No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament a year after making the NIT.
Update: Wade addressed the news at Monday’s media availability.
“I really haven’t been following at all, that closely. I’ve been focused on our team,” Wade said. “I learned about it, like I said, just before I walked in here.”