ESPN retracts an earlier on-air report of Sean Miller's firing


With AP Photos.Arizona coach Sean Miller sat out against OR, a day after ESPN, citing anonymous sources, reported he was heard on an Federal Bureau of Investigation wiretap discussing a $100,000 payment to current Wildcats freshman Deandre Ayton.

In a joint statement earlier in the day, it was revealed that Sean Miller would not coach for the team against Oregon. The Wildcats lead the Pac-12 Conference this season. Ayton told them that he never sought money to commit to the UA, the lawyer said, and committed to Miller because of his family's ties to Phoenix. "This includes basketball and anything else", the statement said.

The other mega report from Friday dealt with players meeting with Andy Miller and Christian Dawkins, who Miller discussed the Ayton payment with. Ayton is expected to play and assistant coach Lorenzo Romar will serve as interim head coach.

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Bilas also demanded Arizona put Miller on administrative leave and bench Ayton until the matter can be investigated fully.

It was a huge surprise that Arizona did not also sit Ayton on Saturday night given the severity of the allegations against him.

Ayton, a 7-foot-1 center who was born in the Bahamas, is considered one of the top freshmen in the country and a leading candidate for national player of the year honors. If Ayton is held out, it'd be another massive blow to Arizona's depth and viability considering that Allonzo Trier is already suspended after testing positive for a banned substance.

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According to Schlabach, Dawkins asked Miller if he should go through former Arizona assistant Emanuel "Book" Richardson to finalize the payment, but Miller told Dawkins to go directly through him.

Late Friday night, former Arizona star Jason Terry called on his alma mater to "clean house", insisting the school has "too much pride, too much tradition to allow outsiders to tear down what we built". Dawkins was one of 10 people arrested in September as part of a wide-ranging FBI investigation into corruption in college basketball. If Miller is gone, it might as well be in Tucson as Arizona's new man in charge.

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