Arizona basketball under investigation

Avianna Hoppes, sports editor

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The University of Arizona men’s basketball team is under investigation after reports surfaced that former assistant coach Emanuel Richardson paid players to come play for the school. Richardson supposedly paid superstar Deandre Ayton. Ayton was offered 100,000 dollars to sign with the Wildcats. Head coach Sean Miller is also being investigated because he directed Ayton towards Richardson to deal with the money. There were also reports of 20,000 dollar bribes to a few other recruits.

This is not the first time that Richardson has been suspected of bribery, as he was previously arrested by the FBI in 2017 for bribes and other corruptions in college basketball. He has since pleaded guilty to the multiple charges.

“I believe that the coach who pleaded guilty should go to jail for his crime,” said Jim Marando, a math teacher.

Richardson received the bribe money through grants from a sports agent named Christian Dawkins.

Although the school has denied any wrongdoing, the NCAA could hand out punishments if the program is convicted. Past sanctions by the NCAA for similar crimes have included probation for an entire season, and a ban on postseason play.

“I think the punishment might be a ban from the tournament for a couple of years,” said Ian Smith, a senior.

After spending 1.4 million dollars on legal fees, the team is trying to move past this incident. Fans might argue that the team’s 15-12 record and bottom-half conference ranking is because of stress from the ongoing investigation.

“It’s affecting their season because a lot of recruits didn’t come because they thought they were going to get in trouble,” said Matthew Macdonald, a junior.

Despite their struggles this season, the future looks bright, as four of the top 100 recruits have signed with Arizona, including two five-star recruits.

The bribe seems like it was not worth it, as the Wildcats had quick end to their 2017-2018 season, getting upset by Buffalo in the first round of March Madness. The NCAA will be unable to punish Ayton, as he has since moved on from the University (he is still in AZ) , being selected as the number one overall pick by the Phoenix Suns in 2018.