Arizona head coach Sean Miller and LSU head coach Will Wade have been subpoenaed in the federal college basketball corruption trial, according to Yahoo! Sports. Both coaches would have to testify when the trial begins on April 22.
Former agency middle man Christian Dawkins and one-time Adidas executive Merl Code will be the defendants when the trial begins. Both men were found guilty on multiple counts of felony fraud charges in an October trial in Manhattan. They will take the stand again in April on felony bribery charges after multiple assistant coaches arrested in the FBI’s initial investigation accepted plea deals.
Miller was expected to be subpoenaed according to a Yahoo! report earlier this month. Arizona was one of the programs at the center of the initial investigation, with assistant coach Book Richardson getting arrested and another assistant — current UC Santa Barbara coach Joe Pasternack — being linked to Dawkins’ agency in emails.
Wade was caught on a wiretap discussing what appears to be a potential payment with Dawkins to recruit Balsa Koprivica, a four-star center who ended up signing with Florida State late last year.
Two active college basketball coaches testifying under oath in a federal trial would be unprecedented. Tapes from the wiretaps could be entered as evidence.
What this means for Arizona basketball
It means Miller’s job is likely in greater jeopardy than ever before.
Arizona is currently struggling through its season at 16-12 overall and 7-8 in the Pac-12. The Wildcats lost almost the entirety of its incoming recruiting class this season in the fallout from the FBI trial.
Miller rebounded quickly with an impressive recruiting class for next season that includes five-star prospects Josh Green and Nico Mannion. Both players remain committed to the program, but its possible they could decommit should Arizona basketball be painted in a poor light during the trial.
Miller has survived so much over the last 18 months just to keep his job to this point. How long will Arizona continue to stand behind its head coach?
What this means for LSU basketball
The Tigers have only made the NCAA tournament once over the last nine years, but are enjoying a breakthrough season in Wade’s second year in charge. LSU is currently sitting at No. 13 in the polls at 22-5 overall and 12-2 in conference.
Wade has done a tremendous job as a recruiter, landing four top 100 recruits in this freshman class. LSU is likely headed towards an top-four seed in the NCAA tournament this year, but Wade testifying in federal court could slow the momentum of the program.
Wade’s recruiting class for next year includes one four-star recruit outside of the top-100 in ESPN’s rankings, as well as one JUCO transfer.
The NCAA will keep a close eye on the trials
The NCAA has yet to levy punishment against any program involved in the FBI trial. Under its new rules, the NCAA no longer has to do its own investigations into rule breakers to hand out a punishment. That means everything that comes out in these trials is fair game.
The FBI investigation has had programs sweating since he was announced. Arizona and LSU will be the latest schools under the crosshairs come April.