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Independent review of Pac-12 officiating at postseason tournament shows conflict

Post by Todd Dybas / The News Tribune on June 2, 2013 at 6:11 pm with No Comments »
June 2, 2013 6:29 pm

Sunday, the Pac-12 distributed the independent review of conference officiating at the Pac-12 Tournament.

You’ll recall this was a result of the Sean Miller/Ed Rush “bounty” dustup, where Rush, in jest, told officials prior to the Arizona/UCLA game that whomever called a technical on Miller would receive cash and a vacation.

A technical was called on Miller with 4:37 remaining in the two-point loss to UCLA when Miller walked onto the floor to dispute a double-dribble call. Miller went ballistic afterward and was fined $25,000 by the conference for his actions in the tunnel following the game.

The Pac-12’s initial investigation into the matter resulted in the conference saying Rush was out of line, but they did not fire him from his post as coordinator of officials. He did, however, resign shortly after.

As a result, the conference, knowing officiating integrity was being questioned more than ever, hired a company to do an independent review of everything that went on.

Here are the key conclusions from that review:

1. “The Coordinator’s So-called ‘Bounty’ Statements Were Neither Offered Nor Taken Literally.” This is what the conference also concluded prior.

2. “The Coordinator’s Pre-game Statements Affected The Officiating of Bench Decorum In The Arizona-UCLA Game”. Interesting aspect here. The review concludes that the technical called on Miller would “would likely not have been called” if not for Rush stating specifically prior that officials should crack down on bench decorum.

3. The UCLA/Arizona game was not the only time Rush mentioned “bench decorum” in his meetings with officials. He also did so after the Colorado/Arizona quarterfinal game, when he spoke about both benches.

4. There are conflicting reports from officials about Rush’s behavior in the meetings. Some say he was professional. Others say he was “ranting” during his postgame comments after the Arizona/Colorado game. Officials recounting the pregame meeting before the Arizona/UCLA game also have varying recollections of Rush’s mentality.

5. An explanation for the varied accounts of Rush’s behavior in the meetings can be found in this graph of the review, which says he had a group with him who liked him since they worked together in the past, and the old guard of the Pac-12 officials who didn’t like him.

“However, during the independent review process, a clear split emerged regarding how the Pac-12’s officials view the Coordinator and his management approach. The Coordinator acknowledges this split. Essentially, the “[Coordinator’s] boys” or “D-leaguers” (identifying Pac-12 officials who also officiate in the National Basketball Development League) are officials thought by their colleagues, the officiating leadership team and the Coordinator to have the greatest affinity and respect for the Coordinator; and the “old guard” or “mafia” are officials thought to consider the Coordinator to be an arrogant authoritarian who “manages by intimidation.”

6. Rush felt, according to the report, that the double-dribble call against Arizona was wrong, as was the technical call on Miller.

You can find the whole report below. Be forewarned there is profane language quoted in the report:

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