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Arizona men's basketball program self-imposes one-year postseason ban

Arizona men's basketball program self-imposes one-year postseason ban
Arizona men's basketball coach Sean Miller and the Wildcats will conclude their season March 6 against in-state rival Arizona State following the postseason ban. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 29 (UPI) -- The Arizona men's basketball team has self-imposed a one-year postseason ban, the school announced Tuesday.

The university's decision comes as a result of an NCAA probe stemming from a 2017 federal investigation into corruption in college basketball and recruiting within the sport.

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ESPN and The Athletic reported in October that Arizona had been hit with nine NCAA violations, including five Level I offenses. According to the outlets, Arizona was charged with a lack of institutional control and failure to monitor, and men's basketball coach Sean Miller was charged with a lack of head coach control.

"The University of Arizona is self-imposing a one-year postseason ban on the UA men's basketball program as a proactive measure in its ongoing NCAA enforcement process," the school said in a statement.

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"The decision is an acknowledgement that the NCAA's investigation revealed that certain former members of the MBB staff displayed serious lapses in judgment and a departure from the university's expectation of honest and ethical behavior. It is also in accord with the penalty guidelines of the NCAA for the type of violations involved.

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"This decision reinforces the institution's commitment to accountability and integrity as well as serving the best long-term interests of the university and the men's basketball program."

Former Wildcats assistant coach Emanuel "Book" Richardson pleaded guilty to one felony count of conspiracy to commit bribery in January 2019. He admitted to accepting money to steer Arizona players to aspiring sports agent Christian Dawkins and financial advisers close to him.

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There were more allegations involving former player Rawle Alkins, and Arizona indefinitely suspended former assistant Mark Phelps in 2019 because of an alleged NCAA rules violation.

"The decision to self-impose a postseason ban was extremely difficult, as we recognize the impact that it has on our current student-athletes," Arizona athletic director Dave Heeke said in a statement. "We will continue to cooperate fully with the NCAA enforcement process and continue to support the hard-working young men in our men's basketball program."

Arizona moved to 7-1 after its home win over Colorado on Monday. The postseason ban includes the Pac-12 tournament, meaning the Wildcats' season will end March 6 against in-state rival Arizona State.

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"I understand and fully support the university's decision to self-impose a one-year postseason ban on our men's basketball program," Miller said. "Our team will remain united and aggressively compete to win a Pac-12 championship."

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Earlier this season, Auburn announced it was self-imposing a postseason ban for the 2020-21 campaign.

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