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Pac-12 to commission review of officiating program
College basketball » Joke by official drives independent investigation.


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Officials who were working the California-Utah game next — Verne Harris, Deron White and Dave Hall — also were in the locker room getting ready.

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"I said, ‘The game cried out for a bench warning. It would have been very simple to take care of that. It cried out for bench warnings,’" Rush said in a phone interview with the AP last week. "Another crew was waiting in there, getting ready for the next game. I would say there was a level of tension in the locker room, just because the disappointment that they worked this game, but they didn’t take care of something that was a point of emphasis.

"So in an effort just to lighten the mood, I said to them, ‘Hey, guys. What’s it going to take? Do you think we could give you a trip to Cancun or maybe $5,000? Or who wants what?’ And now they’re all laughing, which is basically what I wanted to do. So I said, ‘I know you guys, you probably want $5,000, you want the money, you won’t take the trip to Cancun. So I’m going around, ‘What would you take?’ At that point, I said, ‘By the way, you know my wife’s not going to go for this. I’m going to have to pull this off the table.’ They all laughed, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah. OK, bud.’ That was it, and I walked out."

The 70-year-old Rush, a longtime NBA referee and the league’s former director of officiating, had been a consultant to the Pac-12 since 2007 before becoming conference coordinator of officials last May. He said he offered his resignation to Scott by phone Thursday afternoon once it became clear it was going to be difficult to rebuild the trust of the coaches, players and public.

Rush said he plans to continue helping the NBA Development League find and train officials.


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