Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Larry Scott backs Ed Rush
ESPN.com news services
Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott does not believe that coordinator of officials Ed Rush should be fired for telling referees to target Arizona coach Sean Miller during internal meetings before the conference tournament.
"I do not find anything that rises to a fireable offense or a breach of ethics or a breach of the integrity of officiating or the program," Scott told ESPN.com's Andy Katz on Tuesday.
Scott's comment to Katz came one day after the Pac-12 concluded that Rush was joking when he offered a group of officials $5,000 or a trip to Cancun if they hit Miller with a technical foul or ejected him during the conference tournament. The story was reported by CBSSports.com.
Miller was hit with a technical foul during the semifinals of the Pac-12 tournament against UCLA for arguing a late double-dribble call against Wildcats guard Mark Lyons.
Arizona lost the game 66-64, and Miller went on a memorable postgame rant about the technical foul, waving his arms while repeating, "He touched the ball" five times in a row.
Scott told Katz that Miller and UCLA coach Ben Howland received a pregame warning regarding their sideline behavior and also were instructed several times during the game to remain in their respective coaches' boxes.
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"There was nothing individual about Sean Miller in all of this," Scott told Katz.
Howland confirmed to ESPN that he was warned to stay in the coach's box prior to the game.
Scott also said Tuesday that Rush has made "significant" improvements in the Pac-12's transparency of officiating.
"We will decide at the end of the season how we continue with him or not as part of the normal review as part of the coordinators," Scott said. "There was no part of the investigation that would rise to the level of him being fired, so he hasn't been fired."
Rush is no stranger to the headlines. He joined the NBA as a referee in 1966 and rose to the be the league's director of officiating by 1988.
In 2002, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said of Rush: "Ed Rush might have been a great ref, but I wouldn't hire him to manage a Dairy Queen. His interest is not in the integrity of the game or improving the officiating."
Cuban Tweeted on Monday that he was "not surprised" about the Rush story, but did not comment further.
Tim Donaghy, a former NBA referee who spent time in federal prison for his role in betting on NBA games, told ESPN.com's Mike Fish that Rush was "a bully" and said that Rush used to tell NBA officials to "stick it up Mark Cuban's [backside]."
ESPN.com's Andy Katz and The Associated Press contributed to this report.