‘Current climate’ leads prized point guard brandon williams to reopen recruitment arizona wildcats basketball tucson.com signs of concussion toddler

With a win over last-place Cal on Saturday, March 3, the Arizona Wildcats are free to snip nets celebrating another Pac-12 regular-season title and say goodbye to their seniors — and NBA draft entries — while soaking up some more McKale Center love.

The last member of what was initially projected to be a top-5 Arizona recruiting class in 2018, Los Angeles point guard Brandon Williams said on Twitter he was reopening his recruitment because of the “current climate” surrounding the UA program.

Meanwhile, Arizona Board of Regents chairman Bill Ridenour said he doesn’t know what will happen as the federal investigation continues to unfold. Despite that, the board decided to back UA President Robert C. Robbins’ decision to keep Miller as Arizona’s coach.

Ridenour said Robbins faced a difficult decision after ESPN reported that Miller allegedly discussed paying Deandre Ayton $100,000, citing sources familiar with government evidence.

ESPN has corrected the timeline of the reported conversation three times but says it stands behind the story.

“I think what we had, or what Dr. Robbins faced, was an ESPN story that was pretty much third-hand hearsay,” Ridenour said. “Allegedly, someone heard a tape of Coach Miller talking with (agent Christian) Dawkins, and they talked to somebody and that person talked to somebody and eventually it got to ESPN. …

“We’re not allowed to listen to the tapes. There are no transcripts of the tapes. So what you have is hearsay at this point. So what do you do if you’re President Robbins? Do you fire somebody based on hearsay? That would have probably been the easier thing to do.”

“When all was said and done, we found at the present time we were very comfortable supporting President Robbins,” Ridenour said. “You were forced to deal with it and go into great detail and try to figure out what happened rather than throw up your hands and say, ‘Let’s just start afresh.’ My personal option is that that wouldn’t have been the right thing to do. We don’t know what’s going to happen.”

Robbins told the regents that there are continuing discussions on Miller’s contract, Ridenour said, but officials won’t necessarily change the language about firing for cause. That section states Miller is owed only his base salary but does not specify whether it is through the length of the contract (2021-22) or to the date of termination, a difference of about $10 million.

Ridenour said it is “very clear” that the UA would have to pay only to the date of termination in a for-cause situation, but he added there could be mitigation clauses in contracts such as Miller’s that would offset any buyout by the amount the employee earns in a new job. The board championed mitigation clauses in contracts that were eventually awarded to UA football coach Kevin Sumlin and ASU football coach Herm Edwards.

Miller’s current contract says for-cause termination can include, but is not limited to, demonstrated dishonesty, substantial neglect of duties, substantial inability to perform duties, felony conviction or conviction of a misdemeanor “involving moral turpitude.”

Ridenour said that the University of Arizona’s reputation is “paramount on our thoughts.” While Oregon students waved $100,000 checks and ridiculed the Wildcats in front of ESPN’s far-reaching cameras last Saturday, Ridenour said the enthusiastic response of McKale Center fans on Thursday showed another side of public opinion.