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Former UA assistant coach Book Richardson tells NY Daily News he was scapegoated
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Former UA assistant coach Book Richardson tells NY Daily News he was scapegoated

College Corruption

Former UA assistant coach Book Richardson and his former wife, Erin, shown outside a Manhattan federal court in New York, divorced in January.

In a story that also detailed his personal challenges since his October 2019 release from a federal prison, former Arizona coach Book Richardson told the New York Daily News he was made a scapegoat in the federal investigation into college basketball and has declined a second interview with NCAA investigators.

The Daily News reported that Richardson met with NCAA investigators in January but "had no interest" in meeting with them again in June for a "Notice of Allegations" interview even though there was a show-cause order involved. (UA has still not acknowledged receiving an NOA from the NCAA).

The Daily News' Stefan Bondy wrote that "Richardson took his punishment and served his time, but the NCAA is still trying to extract information. Richardson already met with NCAA enforcement in December, leaving him with the impression 'they didn’t just want to get Arizona, they wanted me to give up all of college basketball.'

Bondy also wrote that "Richardson already served his prison time and believes any further conversations or punishments are akin to 'beating a dead horse.' He isn’t interested in cooperating. There’s no job offer or incentive from the NCAA, and Richardson’s against snitching, regardless."

As was the premise of HBO's The Scheme documentary, Richardson indicated he believed that the federal investigation did not turn out to be what it was originally presented as.

At the Sept. 27, 2017 news conference to make public its investigation, and announce it was still continuing, FBI assistant director William Sweeney referred to those operating in college basketball's shadow marketplace when he said "we have your playbook."

Yet three years later, only Richardson, who admitted to taking $20,000 in bribes, and former Oklahoma State assistant coach Lamont Evans have been sentenced to prison though allegations in the case led to the firing of Louisville coach Rick Pitino.

“I do" feel as if I was scapegoated, Richardson told the Daily News. “I do in the grand scheme of things. When they tell the world that you have our playbook, and you only get four Black assistant coaches and two of them go to jail. What playbook did you have? Was that the audible playbook? Was that the freshman playbook? The JV playbook? Which playbook did you have?'”

Richardson has declined interview requests from the Star about the investigation and his subsequent three-month prison stints but told the Daily News he was "helping kids when they got on my campus, yes," and detailed a difficult personal life since his October 2018 release.

The Daily News reported Richardson makes only a $2,000 a month from the New York Gauchos club team and has no health insurance while facing stage 3 kidney disease.

Richardson was also divorced from his wife Erin in January for what the Daily News said was infidelity.

“The one thing I never want to lose in the world was my wife,” Richardson said. "But it’s like, ‘Book, you didn’t act like that.’ But I always thought that. This is my rock. And as she was trying to heal me, I was breaking her.

“I took her for granted.”

Richardson was arrested in September 2017, fired in January 2018 and served a three-month sentence at Otisville (N.Y.) federal prison from July-October 2019.

Since his release, Richardson has moved back to New York and is working with the Gauchos players, as well as doing podcasts for the West Coast Elite-affiliated Silver Waves Media.

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