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Sean Miller Vehemently Denies Payment to Deandre Ayton

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Miller held a brief press conference this morning to deny the allegations which surfaced last Friday.

NCAA Basketball: Utah at Arizona Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Sean Miller held a brief press conference this morning where he read a prepared statement emphatically denying that he arranged for a $100,000 payment to Deandre Ayton or any other player.

This is the transcript of his statement. Video of the statement follows, courtesy of Arizona Athletics on YouTube.

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 Robins, Dave Hickey, 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 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 recruiter 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 benefits to a recruit or prospect or their family or representative and I never will. I also understand that there is an ongoing federal investigation and because of this I cannot do anything that might compromise the integrity of this investigation. However, on this point I cannot remain silent in light of media reports that have been impugned the reputation of me the University in 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 publicly announced that he was coming to our school. Any reporting to the contrary is inaccurate false and defamatory. I am outraged by the media statements that have been made in 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 and the privacy of the student-athlete and his family, I’m not going to share further 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 those who have supported me and this now completes my statement on this matter.

Despite Miller’s denial, ESPN is still standing by its story, according to an article about this statement published on ESPN.com.

The Arizona Board of Regents was scheduled to meet this afternoon to discuss the situation.

Something tells me this story isn’t going away any time soon.

Go Bruins!