ESPN's Mark Schlabach reported Friday that Federal Bureau of Investigation wiretaps revealed UA men's basketball coach Sean Miller discussing a $100,000 payment to Ayton with a sports agent, in order to lure the prized recruit to Tucson.
Arizona freshman Deandre Ayton, a candidate for college basketball's player of the year, has played in 29 games and will likely play the rest of the season because he is said to be eligible to do so. Just before that game, a lawyer representing the Ayton family released a statement saying his clients were "outraged and disgusted" by the allegations against the Arizona freshman.
The breaking news, which (again) proved false, came in the form of an announcement - not a sourced report. Miller did not coach Saturday night against OR, but Ayton was ruled eligible, scoring 28 points with 18 rebounds in an overtime loss. Not a shred of evidence has been adduced suggesting otherwise, which federal investigators and NCAA officials have acknowledged. I can say with confidence that DeAndre Ayton has abided by all applicable rules and regulations and is fully eligible to participate as a member of the Men's Basketball team.
Paul Kelly is the Boston attorney hired as outside counsel for the University of Arizona to investigate the FBI matter. In a statement Saturday, Miller said he and UA determined it was best that he not coach the game, but said he is "confident" he will be "vindicated".
Ayton, a 7-foot-1 center who was born in the Bahamas, eventually committed to Arizona and has since become one of the nation's best players, averaging 19.6 points and 10.9 rebounds and considered a high-lottery pick in this year's National Basketball Association draft.