Former Arizona assistant coach Emanuel "Book" Richardson told undercover FBI agents that he paid $40,000 to a "high school coach" to ensure that Rawle Alkins would be academically eligible to play his freshman season with the Wildcats, transcripts of a 2017 conversation recorded by the FBI revealed, according to Yahoo Sports' Pat Forde, Pete Thamel, and Dan Wetzel.
The transcript was unearthed as a public record stemming from the trial that convicted former Adidas employee Merl Code and former sports agent Christian Dawkins of bribery conspiracy charges in May. It’s unclear why the conversation wasn't used in court.
In the transcript, Richardson also appeared to express regret at paying the hefty sum, which was supposedly made to amend Alkins' academic record in order to give him the 16 courses necessary for immediate NCAA eligibility.
"So, again, is it something different each year?" Richardson said. "It is. Like I said, $40,000 to do that was totally extreme.
"If I had the chance to do it all over again, I would not do it. I'd try to barter something. I'd give blood. I'd give semen, something."
The transcript also revealed that Richardson was planning monthly payments worth $2,000 to an undisclosed cousin of Alkins who moved with the player to Arizona.
In the conversation, Richardson is speaking with Jeff D'Angelo and Jill Bailey, two undercover FBI agents posing as financial advisers who said they would supply him with "a pot of money each year" if Richardson convinced Arizona players to use their financial services following college.
Dawkins and financial adviser Munish Sood were also involved in the discussion. Sood pleaded guilty to bribery and wire fraud conspiracy in August 2018.
Arizona is already under investigation by the NCAA after Richardson was reportedly caught in separate wiretaps telling Dawkins that head coach Sean Miller was making illegitimate payments worth $10,000 to center Deandre Ayton.
For his part, Richardson pleaded guilty to a federal funds bribery charge in January as a result of an unrelated incident. He's currently serving a three-month sentence at a federal correctional institution in Otisville, New York, according to Forde, Thamel, and Wetzel.
Alkins, a former five-star recruit out of New York, played his freshman season at Arizona in 2016-17 and returned to the school for his sophomore campaign. He went undrafted in 2018 but later signed a two-way contract with the Chicago Bulls. He last played for the Houston Rockets' summer league team in July.