Friday, September 29, 2017 1:00 am
Miller believes IU is in the clear
Hoosiers in middle of $53 million deal with Adidas
CHRIS GOFF | The Journal Gazette
BLOOMINGTON – Archie Miller still hasn't coached a game for Indiana, but it's a different job now than it was Tuesday morning.
That's when college basketball fell under a dark cloud of bombshell allegations. The FBI announced that four assistants from major-conference coaching staffs were arrested as part of a two-year investigation into bribery and other corruption.
Given the nationwide scope of this investigation, Miller voluntarily addressed it Thursday in his opening remarks at IU's media day.
“I'm as surprised as anyone, just like 99 percent of the basketball world, about what's going on,” Miller said. “I've had very little information other than what you guys have, so I'll probably stay away from commenting on the actual facts.”
Additional arrests might be coming, and more programs might be involved, but Miller expressed confidence Indiana won't be one of them.
“I've met with (IU athletic director) Fred (Glass) multiple times, and we've talked about a lot and have no reason to think Indiana's involved in anything right now,” Miller said. “We're focused on the task at hand, which is running this program, and it was clearly defined on Day 1 (with) the expectations of doing things the right way.”
In 2015, IU announced that it had agreed to an eight-year, $53 million extension with Adidas, one of the more lucrative apparel contracts in collegiate sports. Adidas executive James Gatto, head of global sports marketing, was arrested as part of the FBI investigation and is accused of laundering large sums of money to the families of athletes.
Miller was asked if the Hoosiers' connection to Adidas is cause for concern. His answer again referenced a conversation with Glass.
“I think our relationship with Adidas over the course of not only his tenure but my short tenure has been great,” Miller said. “We look forward to continuing it. We have no reason to believe anything else.”
An FBI complaint painted a picture in which sports agencies and shoe companies exerted their greatest influence on players they perceived as NBA-bound prospects.
According to an IU spokesman, no Hoosier from the past decade has reached the NBA and signed an endorsement deal with Adidas.
However, Tuesday's news did hit close to home for Miller in another way. His brother, Sean, is the coach at Arizona. The FBI alleges an undercover agent paid $20,000 in bribes to Arizona assistant Emmanuel Richardson.
“When it comes to Arizona, very prideful there with my family,” Miller said. “I've been able to talk to Sean only one time very briefly to add my support.”
As for the Hoosiers, whose first practice of training camp is today, Miller said it's “business as usual.”
“I think everyone's probably taken a step back and is obviously a little bit reserved or a little bit guarded,” Miller said. “As you look at your own players, you have to remind them to do things the right way. I don't have any reason to believe they're not.”
Because Miller believes IU won't be caught up in the federal investigation, his players are free to focus on camp getting underway.
“The best way to go about that is to make everyone realize you don't get to your end goal in September,” senior Robert Johnson said. “You have to work every day as far as practice, weight lifting, conditioning. You just try to get the most out of everything.”