SAN FRANCISCO -- Arizona coach Sean Miller and USC's Andy Enfield on Thursday remained mostly tight-lipped when it came to the federal corruption investigation that involves two of their assistants.
Two weeks after the FBI announced a three-year probe that focused on coaches being paid tens of thousands of dollars to steer some players toward sports agents, financial advisers and apparel companies. Miller and Enfield addressed the situation as a whole during Pac-12 media day, but refused to go into any further detail as it pertained specifically to them and their programs.
Arizona's Emanuel "Book" Richardson and USC's Tony Bland were named in the FBI investigation and appeared in New York this week with Auburn's Chuck Person, Adidas' Merl Code and custom clothier and former NBA referee Rashan Michel, in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge Katharine H. Parker.
"A couple of weeks ago when everything happened, I came out with a statement and today I stand by that statement," Miller said during his opening statement. "As the investigation into these allegations continues, it does so with my support. During this period of time, I'm going to continue to do the things that I've done in the last eight years as the head coach at the University of Arizona with compliance at the forefront. Most important, as it implies to today of making sure that I give our team my undivided attention and our staff's undivided attention so that we can have the best season that we can possibly have."
Miller wouldn't comment on if he's had any communication with Richardson, who was arrested for allegedly taking $20,000 in bribes.
When asked if he knew about Richardson taking bribes, Miller simply said, "I'm going to stand by the statement that I gave." He answered with the same statement when asked if he'd been questioned by the FBI and what responsibility he believed a head coach had when it came to knowing about inappropriate recruiting tactics by assistants within his own program.
Miller also deferred to that statement when asked if he thought prospective athletes felt pressured to take or ask for money to help them with personal and family financial issues and wouldn't comment on any specific change or advice he'd abdicate for if given the chance to address the newly formed Pac-12 task force or the NCAA's new college basketball commission.
Enfield said he wasn't privy to Bland's involvement until the FBI probe broke. Bland allegedly took at least $13,000 in bribe money.
"I found out when everybody else did, but other than that, I can't comment on the investigation -- it's ongoing," Enfield said. "Tony Bland has been with us four and a half years. He's part of our USC program, our USC family, and we all love Tony. It's very difficult on a personal level, it's very difficult on a program level because we all had great relationships with each other. When someone leaves your family, it's very hard on all of us, it's very emotional and challenging.
"We're going to go on and prepare for our season, but we have to get through this part of it."
When asked if he thought it was the head coach's responsibility to know when actions like this take place inside of his program, Enfield, like Miller, declined to comment.
"I'm just not going to comment," he said. "I've been instructed as far as the ongoing investigation."
USC senior guard Jordan McLaughlin said that he'd "never seen anything" as it pertained to improper behavior by Bland.
"TB is a great guy," McLaughlin said. "I'm going to leave it at that."
Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott, who earlier announced the conference's creation of a task force to take look at systematic problems in college basketball, said that while some action has taken place at both Arizona and USC pertaining to the FBI's probe, he wouldn't speculate on what might or might not happen with both programs and he wasn't sure if either's 2017 season would be affected further by the investigation.
"I really don't know," Scott said. "I'm not going to be in the middle of their investigation and I'm aware of what others are looking at."
While Miller didn't dive into the current investigation, he did challenge the idea of stereotyping the grassroots basketball movement that has come under greater scrutiny since the investigation broke.
"I think it's important that you don't judge or stereotype people," Miller said. "Some of the greatest people in our game are grassroots coaches. They've done more for kids who have nothing than anyone in their communities could have ever imagined. Some cases, they've helped hundreds of kids.
"You can't cast the net that wide and just say everybody who coaches outside of high school isn't a good coach or person; that's the furthest thing from the truth. Any college basketball coach can tell you that."
McLaughlin wasn't ready to cast a wide net, but when asked about monitoring AAU circuits, he did say that it can be tough because of the lack of eyeballs on the leagues and teams.
"AAU is kind of different, it's kind of free-flowing," McLaughlin said. "It's not really anybody paying attention to it that much. The college coaches go and watch the players and stuff. Whatever the NCAA or FBI chooses on it, it'll probably help it."
Talk of curbing improper recruiting methods was a popular topic at Pac-12 media day, but some coaches were skeptical about actually being able to stop what Colorado coach Tad Boyle described as "black market" dealings with prospects and coaches.
Colorado coach Tad Boyle was very open about his thoughts on the
Colorado coach Tad Boyle was very open about his thoughts on the
"For years, you sense things that are going on in recruiting aren't right, but you don't know for sure," Boyle said. "I wouldn't be as shocked if the NCAA came out with those kind of allegations or information, but when the FBI is involved, I think everybody's eyes opened up.
"There's programs and coaches that do things right and there's coaches and programs that don't. You have a sense of that, but you don't always know for sure and so obviously there's some light that has been shown on some programs that weren't."
Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak used the analogy that cheating in college sports is kind of like being introduced to a "gateway drug," calling it an addiction for some.
"You're introduced to alcohol, and you have a little marijuana, and next thing you know you're doing cocaine, and before you know it you're on 'Breaking Bad,'" Krystkowiak said. "You think you can get away with something, and then you find out some of the things that are going on around you. I was told by a coach this summer -- and I've made the comment that I thought it was a joke; I realized as I walked away that it wasn't a joke -- 'If you're not cheating, you're cheating yourself.' And I remember going, 'Ha ha,' and then I went, 'Actually, that's probably true.'"
ESPN's Kyle Bonagura contributed to this report.