The Pac-12 Conference Head of Officials, Ed Rush, resigned Thursday as a result of the fallout regarding the Sean Miller “bounty” scandal.
Rush told his referees on multiple occasions during the Pac-12 Tournament that if they’re to give the Arizona Wildcats head coach a technical foul or eject him from a game they would receive a trip to Cancun courtesy of Rush or $5,000.00.
The revelation of these comments, led to a massive fire-storm across the Pac-12 conference and the rest of college basketball, especially considering Rush’s connection to disgraced former NBA referee Tim Donaghy.
Rush was the NBA’s director of officiating when Donaghy fixed multiple games that he was later found to have placed bets on. Donaghy served 15 months in prison for his role in the gambling scandal that rocked the league.
The call behind the scandal was a controversial call against Arizona guard Mark Lyons during the Wildcats’ Pac-12 Tournament Semifinal matchup against the UCLA Bruins.
Miller said in the post-game press conference, “he touched the ball” multiple times to the referee before being issued the technical. What seemed like a bad technical foul originally, may have some connection to Rush’s statement. It seems highly likely Rush’s offer had an effect on the call, however the full validity of that has yet to be confirmed.
Of course there’s a fine line between saying something in a joking way, and having some sense of seriousness behind that statement. It has been confirmed by the Pac-12 that Rush said the now-infamous statement on multiple occasions and he said these words about Miller specifically. If Rush had made his comment once and in a more generalized way rather than mentioning specific coaches and bringing up the situation multiple times, Rush would have probably gotten the benefit of the doubt. Due to his multiple missteps, Rush does not receive that.
The Pac-12 referees may need to clean house after this depending on the full fallout of the scandal and the resignation of Rush is a step in the right direction towards improving the conference’s integrity.