An investigation was launched on PAC 12 head of officials and former NBA referee, Ed Rush, following comments he made in reference to Arizona head coach Sean Miller in meetings with PAC 12 refs.
As reported by CBSSports Rush allegedly told a group of officials at a PAC 12 tournament in Las Vegas on Thursday that he would give them $5,000 and a trip to Cancun if they either “ring [Miller] him up” or “ran him”, meaning either hit him with a technical or toss him from the game. Then on Friday according to one of the refs in attendance Rush reiterated during a morning meeting saying that refs should again take similar action for the Friday game vs UCLA. The ref in attendance stated
“He was emphatic about not dealing with him (Miller),…He made that perfectly clear.”
All this of course comes in light of a controversial technical called against Miller in the game vs UCLA. Referee Michael Irving was confirmed to be in the room at the time the bounty was made on Friday, and later called the technical against the coach with 4:37 left on the clock.
UCLA won the game 66-64, and Miller was upset about a double-dribble call on point guard Mark Lyons, arguing that a UCLA player had gotten his hands on the ball before Lyons picked it up. Miller emphatically claimed that he received the technical because he stated ‘He touched the ball’ over and over again, Miller was then fined $25,000 for confronting a game official after the game concluded.
An anonymous source stated that the technical call is something out of character for Irving:
“That’s not Michael (Irving)’s mentality as a ref,..He’s a really good ref and manages situations without using technicals. It was absolutely because of what was said in the meeting. There’s no doubt in my mind. It’s a bad position to be put in. As a basketball referee, it’s a horrible position to be put in by your supervisor,…If you don’t do anything, you probably won’t get any good games down the road — or you may not get any games at all. That leaves us in a tough spot.”
The ref then continued
“He’s a bully,…He just bullies everyone. That was his whole tenor of the meeting on Friday. We’re all afraid of him. He’s the most respected basketball officiating person on the West Coast and he’s been given all the juice.”
After the investigation PAC 12 commissioner Larry Scott issued the following statement :
“Based on the review, we have concluded that while Rush made inappropriate comments that he now regrets during internal meetings that referenced rewards, he made the comments in jest and the officials in the room realized they were not serious offers. Following our review, we have discussed the matter with Rush, taken steps to ensure it does not happen again, and communicated our findings to all of our officials.”
Bad situation all around even if the PAC 12 won’t levy any punishments on Rush, his comments, even if just in jest were wholly unprofessional and may have been even costlier than he could’ve foreseen.