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Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel and Pete Thamel, and Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde discuss the situation at Arizona with head basketball coach Sean Miller, and the schools upcoming decision on whether or not to keep him, despite being the target of an NCAA investigation.
DAN WETZEL: Pete, you did a tremendous story on Yahoo Sports. The basketball coaching carousel, which I thought was very well done, while researched, different stuff. So let's go through a couple of these. OK? Who's getting fired?
Who's taking over? Question number one on the Pete column, has Sean Miller coached his last game at Arizona? Now, they're 17-19 overall, 11-9 the PAC 12, but that's got nothing to do with it. They self banned themselves from the NCAA basketball tournament.
Because they are-- you know, these schools, they care about the student athlete. Unless it's not that good of a team and they don't care. And we'll kneecap these guys. And if it was a good team, they'd be wailing at the NCAA for punishing innocent-- innocent players.
But when they're not that good, no problem. We don't care about you. Miller has been a-- you know, has never made the-- never made the Final Four kind of famously. Had some good Arizona teams all fell short. Has not won an NCAA game since the Federal investigation went public.
Although, you know, we'll see how they would've done last year when it got canceled. But your thoughts on this one. We know what Pete thinks. We'll start with you, Pat.
PAT FORDE: Yeah. The Miller Arizona thing is-- I mean, I think if you had asked all of us in late 2017 and much of 2018, whether Sean Miller would still be the coach in March of 2021, we would have said no. But Arizona has by golly, they've stood by their man. Although, nobody is sure why.
But we don't know for sure what the NCAA has charged him with. We're going to find out soon it looks like. The ESPN filed a suit to get the notice of allegations, which Arizona has refused to release. A judge in Arizona Superior Court this week said, you can't keep hiding the NOA.
So hopefully we're going to get that. I've heard potentially as early as next week and we'll see what's in it and what the charge is against Sean Miller. But they're on a-- they're on the hook right now. Do we extend him? Do we get rid of him?
What do we do? To me, I don't-- Again, I don't understand why they have kept him this long, but they have and there's apparently a split amongst people who are involved in making this decision. And we'll see which way this thing comes down. I will still-- I'll be surprised if Sean Miller is the coach in Arizona in 2021- '22. Although, this case, like every other NCAA case, may still be dawdling along at that point.
PETE THAMEL: I don't think Sean Miller will be back, but I wrote in the comments 50-50 and I do believe that. Like, the board is going to have to get together and say, we're giving this guy an extension and go through. And then Sean Miller would have to sit back and say, I'm willing to, like-- when these sanctions come down, like, get fired and take the perp walk. You know, which for-- this clearly has impacted Sean Miller. If you look at him physically, he looks tired, he looks worn. Like, the NCAA investigation does more in taking a toll on a person in a program than the actual sanctions often do. And that has clearly happened to Sean Miller.
You have constant phone calls with lawyers. There's constant worrying. There's constant doubt. You're constantly fighting demons. This has clearly caught up to him personally in that way.
He just looks worn out. And so-- but, to last four full seasons through all this takes an unbelievable amount of fight and you almost have to convince yourself that nothing happened. Right? So you spend that long doing it. It's hard to just walk away from that fight.
He only has one year left on his contract. You know, you can say, OK, he'll go work for Van Gundy or go work for Billy Donovan, the guys in NBA he's closest to, but they still have great positions, et cetera. To do that, the NBA is at its all-star break. So it's not like he's just going to join one of those teams.
It probably wouldn't happen for a few months. So like, some of those logistics are a little bit foggy. So I feel like in the next week, 10 days, maybe less, we'll have a little bit of clarity on what happens next with Sean. It's always great theater there. It's certainly-- it's certainly been more compelling than the product on the floor.