Arizona officials’ statements ‘right out of the playbook,’ crisis experts say

According to an NCAA bylaw, head coaches, such as Sean Miller, are “responsible for the actions of all … staff members who report” to him./Mike Christy / Arizona Daily Star

By Bruce Pascoe | Arizona Daily

Seven days after Arizona assistant coach Book Richardson was arrested on federal bribery and fraud charges, the statements flowed in, one by one.

At 3:35 p.m. on Tuesday, UA coach Sean Miller said in a statement from UA’s athletic department that he was “devastated” about the situation and that he realized he was responsible for an atmosphere of compliance.

At 4:36 p.m., UA president Robert Robbins sent a direct email to UA employees to outline the legal teams the school has hired, and to say he supported Miller “based on the facts we know at this time.”

Related: UA officials made a statement with their canned quotes, and it’s not a good one

At 5:10 p.m., UA athletic director Dave Heeke issued a statement through the athletic department saying the university’s move to hire multiple law firms would ensure “we are winning with integrity at all times.”

At 5:21 p.m., Robbins’ address was forwarded to media by the UA’s main campus communications office.

It was a long stream of words that ultimately said pretty much the same thing: That UA is OK with Miller at least for the time being, that it intends to comply with the rules and investigations … and that it wants fans to remain interested in the actual basketball season.

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