Sean Miller receives ovation in return to Arizona sideline

Arizona head coach Sean Miller and Allonzo Trier (35) in the first half during an NCAA college basketball game against Stanford, Thursday, March 1, 2018, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP)

Sean Miller returned to the Arizona Wildcats sideline for their game against Stanford. It also marked Miller’s return for the first time since an ESPN report implicated him in the FBI’s wide-ranging pay-for-play investigation.

In the wake of ESPN’s report, Miller was replaced by assistant Lorenzo Romar for Arizona’s road loss to Oregon, but returned Thursday night to a more sympathetic home crowd. As Miller emerged from the tunnel before tip-off, an already pumped crowd responded with a deafening ovation.

Earlier in the day, Miller held a news conference in which he vehemently refuted ESPN’s report. Miller also professed his innocence and vowed that he had “never paid a recruit or prospect.”

According to ESPN’s Mark Schlabach, the FBI allegedly recorded the Arizona head coach on a wiretap discussing a $100,000 payment for DeAndre Ayton with ASM agent runner Christian Dawkins during the spring of 2017.

A report on Friday by Sports Illustrated corroborates Miller’s account.