The Sean Miller saga took another twist on Thursday afternoon.
After the Arizona head coach denied ESPN’s initial report and said he would return to coach his team this season in a Thursday press conference, the original story that got Miller into the news retracted an original correction that was put in place. That means ESPN could have new information to back up its original report. They could also be doubling down on its first report from Mark Schlabach.
Last Friday night, the original ESPN report was published that stated Miller was caught on a wiretap by the FBI discussing with Christian Dawkins, a runner for ex-NBA agent Andy Miller, a $100,000 payment that was to be made to secure the services of Deandre Ayton, a top recruit in the Class of 2017 that could be the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. Schlabach then went on SportsCenter and said the calls were made in 2017.
Since that TV appearance, the timeline for the alleged phone calls in the original report has come into question, with ESPN initially issuing a correction that changed some of the dates to 2016. Now that ESPN has gone back to the original timeline in 2017, however, it sets up for an interesting next step for both parties.
Here’s ESPN’s statement on the report, via Deadspin:
Additional reporting confirmed that ESPN was correct in a Feb. 24 SportsCenter video talk back which stated that Arizona coach Sean Miller and Christian Dawkins, a key figure in the FBI’s investigation into college basketball corruption, spoke in 2017. A correction of that report, issued Feb. 25, misstated that the conversation in question took place in 2016. ESPN stands by the reporting of the story on SportsCenter and ESPN digital media.
There has been some speculation that Miller could look to file a lawsuit against ESPN to defend his name. But with ESPN sticking with its original story they might be gathering more information on their own end to defend the original reporting.