The Arizona-ESPN saga is continuing to heat up, and shortly after Arizona’s Sean Miller vehemently castigated ESPN’s reporting, the Worldwide Leader doubled down on its initial scoop that Miller had knowingly violated NCAA rules.
Last Friday, ESPN’s Mark Schlabach reported that Miller had been caught on FBI wiretaps discussing a $100,000 payment for DeAndre Ayton’s signature. After the report was published, Schlabach went on SportsCenter and said the call took place in 2017, though after Arizona writers and fans raised concerns about the timeline of events, ESPN issued a correction on Feb. 25 and stated that the call took place in 2016. This became an issue, as 24/7 Sports reported that the FBI only recorded phone calls between the relevant parties between June 19, 2017 and Sept. 25, 2017.
ESPN issued another correction today, backtracking on their Feb. 25 correction and reaffirming Schlabach’s initial reporting:
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.
The uncertainty around when exactly the alleged call took place is compounded by the likelihood that Schlabach never heard the recording, and was only made privy to its contents by a source who had. That ESPN has done more digging and felt comfortable flipping a correction could mean that they’ve unearthed more information that confirms Schlabach’s reporting.