We should all take a page from University of Arizona basketball head coach Sean Miller’s book. Allegedly cheat behind closed doors, deny the proof of our wrongdoing when it comes to light, then crack open a Heineken to celebrate titles once the media firestorm clears.

Arizona coach Sean Miller holds up the net after Arizona won the Pac-12 regular-season title, following an NCAA college basketball game against California, Saturday, March 3, 2018, in Tucson, Ariz. Arizona defeated California 66-54. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

The college hoops world was shaken by a Feb. 25 ESPN report suggesting the Arizona Wildcats coach was recorded on an FBI wiretap discussing a $100,000 payment regarding top recruit Deandre Ayton. Days later, Miller publicly denied everything, passionately. On Saturday night, Miller cut down the nets as his Wildcats took the Pac-12 championship in a 66-54 win over Cal.

Miller has probably gotten out of dinner checks, avoiding back taxes and seeing side women, but if these allegations are true, this may be his greatest escape ever.

Arizona forward Deandre Ayton (13) drives against California forward Marcus Lee during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, March 3, 2018, in Tucson, Ariz. Arizona defeated California 66-54. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Rumors can be vicious. We all remember them from high school, but an FBI wiretap is pretty hard to deny. Aside from his huge, blasphemous bribery scandal, Miller is a good coach. His Wildcat teams are generally among the best collegiate squads in the country, and he’s clearly a great speaker and motivator. But now Miller, his school and the entire NCAA will be feeling the heat pretty soon. The question of paying student athletes has long been a sensitive issue for college teams, and this latest incident will only spark a reopening of that topic.

Paying an athlete $100,000 might be a bit over the top, but the NCAA is about to get rocked one way or another. If you’re the investor type, keep an eye out for all the semi-pro leagues that are about to start popping up, and capitalize. College basketball as we know it could be coming to an end. But ask Miller and who knows what type of answer you’ll get. Maybe it’s not. Maybe it’ll survive. Maybe it’ll be better than ever, without one-and-done freshmen athletes and FBI probes. Or maybe this is all much ado about nothing. At least, that’s what Miller is suggesting.


Stephen D. Riley

Special to the AFRO