College Basketball Fraud Charges

Book Richardson could serve 60 years in prison and pay up to $1.5 million in fines if he’s convicted.

Larry Neumeister / AP Photo

Book Richardson plans to fight his termination by the University of Arizona, even as the suspended assistant basketball coach faces federal bribery and fraud charges that could lead to as long as 60 years in prison and a $1.5 million fine.

Attorney Brick Storts III told the Arizona Republic on Monday that Richardson has filed an appeal with the UA and is waiting to schedule a hearing.

The university suspended Richardson on Sept. 26, shortly after federal agents arrested Sean Miller's longtime assistant at his Tucson home. A day later, UA president Robert C. Robbins announced he had "initiated the dismissal process" against Richardson.

Miller has not named Richardson's replacement, although Austin Carroll has taken an on-court role in recent weeks.

Richardson has been charged with conspiracy to commit bribery, solicitation of bribes by an agent of a federally funded organization, conspiracy to commit honest services fraud, wire fraud conspiracy and travel act conspiracy. Per federal documents, Richardson requested and received bribes from a fledgling sports agent, and used the money to pay a recruit — believed to be New Jersey point guard Jahvon Quinerly — to commit to the UA. In exchange for the bribe, Richardson promised to use his influence to send Wildcats to the agent for professional representation.

The nature of Richardson's case could further delay his planned termination. Storts told the Republic that it would be inappropriate for Richardson to discuss the charges against him in a UA hearing while the federal case is ongoing, meaning the coach could remain suspended with pay for months. Richardson made an initial appearance in federal court earlier this month, with his next hearing scheduled for Nov. 10.

Richardson, who makes $250,000 annually, is technically a “service professional” at Arizona, and the school’s dismissal policy for service professionals afford them a chance to respond before being fired.

Richardson is one of four major college assistant coaches implicated in the federal case. The other three — USC's Tony Bland, Auburn's Chuck Person and Oklahoma State's Lamont Evans — have all been either fired or suspended.