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Pac-12: Officiating issue can't be brushed aside

Published April 2, 2013 3:11 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The Pac-12 Conference has a bigger problem than a mildly worded news release could brush aside.

Conference commissioner Larry Scott needs to discipline Ed Rush, his coordinator of basketball officials, beyond merely saying everybody knows Rush was joking in a meeting when he spoke of a $5,000 bounty for a technical foul or other methods of reining in Arizona coach Sean Miller.

As reported by CBSSports.com, the meeting preceded the Wildcats' 66-64 loss to UCLA in the semifinals of the conference men's basketball tournament in Las Vegas.

Sure enough, Miller drew a technical at a critical point in the game, with less than five minutes remaining.

In the news release, Scott said, "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."

But this issue is not going to go away that easily. As Rush, a longtime NBA referee, should know, there's nothing worse in sports than any suggestion of officiating bias.

For the sake of the Pac-12's integrity, Scott must take action to drive home the point that he's taking this situation seriously, even if Rush was just kidding.