The panel convened in the Independent Accountability Resolution Process (IARP) issued its Public Infractions Decision in the University of Arizona case. Former University of Arizona men’s basketball coach and current Xavier University head coach, Sean Miller, avoided sanctions, but the University of Arizona will serve three years of probation, which will end in 2025.
A portion of Arizona’s case revolves around former assistant men’s basketball coach Emanuel “Book” Richardson. An FBI investigation revealed that Richardson accepted $20,000 in bribes from an agent, which Richardson used to direct players to the agent’s services. Richardson served 90 days in a federal correctional institute after pleading guilty to one count of bribery.
Another former assistant coach, Mark Phelps, is also a part of the panel’s decision after loaning $500 to a prospective student-athlete, then attempting to cover up the violation.
The panel’s decision encompassed both the men’s basketball program and the swimming and diving program, finding that an assistant coach for the swimming and diving program “conducted impermissible tryouts and provided preferential treatment to prospective student-athletes.”
As a result of each assistant coach’s conduct, the panel found that Richardson committed multiple Level I violations, and Phelps committed a Level II violation and multiple Level III violations. At the same time, the assistant swimming and diving coach committed multiple Level II and III violations.
Each assistant coach received a show-cause penalty. If the coach is still an NCAA coach, the show-cause penalty requires the coach’s employer to appear before a committee every six months and detail how the coach has complied with the NCAA rulebook. For Richardson, the show-cause penalty is ten years. For Phelps, it is two years, and for the assistant swimming and diving coach, it is one year.
Both head coaches of the programs avoided sanctions due to the panel finding that the head coaches “promoted an atmosphere of compliance,” including overseeing the assistant coaches. However, the institution received a Level II violation due to the lack of education regarding NCAA rules amongst its athletic staff.
The panel accepted most of the self-imposed penalties against the men’s basketball program, including the 2021 postseason ban, but also added a seven-week recruiting communication ban for the current year. Additional penalties include vacating wins from seasons when the conduct occurred.
The swimming and diving program received several penalties, including one-weeks suspensions for off-campus recruiting and communications and a reduction in the number of official visits for the current academic year.
The institution will be on probation for three years, beginning on Wednesday, which will include seminars on NCAA rules and providing prospective student-athletes with information about the probation and violations.
As one of the last Independent Accountability Resolution Process is nearing its end, the Division I Board of Directors decided to eliminate the IARP. A big reason why the Division I Board of Directors voted to eliminate the IARP is the length of time it takes to reach a decision. Arizona’s case is a prime example. Much of the conduct occurred in 2017, and none of the individuals remain with the university. Thus, a more efficient process will be coming soon.