Pac-12 Head of Officials offers trip to Cancun to T-up UA Coach

Submitted by Bill the Butcher on April 2nd, 2013 at 7:03 AM

CBS Sports has a story about the Pac-12 head of officials offering $5000 or a trip to Cancun to his referees if they T'd up Arizona coach Sean Miller.

Miller was then given a technical in a very controversial spot in a game against UCLA.


The head of officials for the Pac-12 is Ed Rush, who was a long time NBA referee.  You may remember him from his spat with Mark Cuban in 2002.  Where Cuban said that Rush doesn't care about the integrity of the game, and that Cuban wouldn't hire Rush to work at a dairy queen.


This isn't a story about whether or not the incident happened, because the Pac-12 Commissioner acknowledges that this happened.  What makes this story so bad in my mind is the fact that they are sweeping the whole thing under the rug by saying that Rush was joking.  As the article states, there were at least a few officials in the room who didn't think he was joking.  


Anyway here is the link:






April 2nd, 2013 at 7:28 AM ^

Just another non-story being hyped in a slow news cycle. Think about what actually took place. A ref makes a joke involving his craft to other refs. Ya, that never happens in any other industry. Unless the ref who called the technical actually received 5,000 dollars or a trip to cancun there is no reason for this story.


April 2nd, 2013 at 7:41 AM ^

Not buying.  If a coach made this remark, he would be fined and possibly fired for it..  Coaches get fined when they criticize any referee.  Why shouldn't Ed Rush get fined for this, or at least be held responsible for his words and/or actions?

Mark Cuban was right about the Dairy Queen thing.  Rush would give you the wrong ice cream cone, and then steal your money for calling him on it.

Also, while I know it's basketball and not football, this is the same conference whose officials laughed about screwing Bo out of winning his last Rose Bowl.


April 2nd, 2013 at 7:49 AM ^

Warren Buffett owns the chain, but perhaps Cuban wanted the satisfaction that comes with franchise and business ownership?

I just can't imagine Cuban making a Blizzard... I happen to enjoy the Heath Bar Crunch version.


April 2nd, 2013 at 8:39 AM ^

I read this quote, "He was emphatic about not dealing with him (Miller)," the ref told "He made that perfectly clear."

and thought they were meaning that he made it clear to the room not to deal with Miller. The context I guess points to reprecussions if they do not deal with miller.


April 2nd, 2013 at 2:02 PM ^

...several other officials in the room thought he was serious. 

Um, no.

"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," Scott told "Following our review, we have discussed the matter with Rush, taken steps to ensure it does not happen again, and communicated our findings to all of our officials."

That's the coordinator of the Pac-12 that made that finding. A guy who's only bias in the manner is maintaining the integrity of his league. He could have just as easily fired Rush to do that, but the evidence did not warrant it.

This may not be a non-story.  But it isn't a huge deal at all.…


April 2nd, 2013 at 8:19 AM ^

...that this happens more often than all of us would like to believe...sometimes it is fairly obvious that games are completely one-sided with regards to reffing...and now there is some proof as to why this might be going on....hence my knock on basketball compared to football or hockey: if you screw a player on a bad call in basketball the players cannot retaliate whereas fball and hockey players can "accidentally" run a ref over and end his career


April 2nd, 2013 at 10:48 AM ^

First, when was the last time you have ever seen an official's career ended "accidently" over a bad call in hockey? I'd love to see one example in NHL, AHL, NCAA or IIHF/Olympic play; that leaves about fifty years of film to go over, I'm sure one example of a player "accidently" hurting an official that badly won't be hard to find. Second, the league in question would literally have no other option than to ban said player for life, and on top of that it's an assault charge in about twenty states plus Canada, and in most you would be talking about a violent felony carrying jail time.

On top of all that, speaking as an official that's not nearly as good of a skater as the half dozen NHL guys I know, there's no way even a guy like Chara or JMFJ could hit me hard enough to end my skating career while making it look like an accident, and like I said, they're all much better skaters than I am or ever will be.


April 2nd, 2013 at 11:27 AM ^

...i should re-phrase my original post by not saying/advocating a career ending hit...but if you are trying to tell me that refs in football and hockey aren't worried about getting instant payback on a BS call then you sir are also full of BS...the refs rarely control the outcome of a game in both hockey and football when compared to bball where the entire tempo of the game is effected by the reffing...i am simply stating that it is far easier to make a hit look accidental in hockey and football whereas if a player ever came close to doing so in bball an ejection/fine would be sure to follow...and there have been plenty of illegal hits by hockey and fball players where no legal action was taken but careers were ended (eg: Bertuzzi punch)


April 2nd, 2013 at 11:33 AM ^

now current NHL players, I have refereed high school, midget major and junior games that don't have any media scrutiny and had players on the ice both older and bigger than me, and like I said above I know plenty of officials from the NHL, AHL, NCAA, NAHL, ect. I don't know one who is actually concerned about getting purposely hit by a player, especially over a bad call.

To put it in a kind of perspective from my own point of view, if I have 100 "units" of being scared for my physical well-being, about 85 of those go to the puck, maybe 14 go to an actual accidental collision with a player (take four of those for an accident breaking up a fight if I'm a linesman) and one would be a player doing anything intentional. Even saying 1% is probably high, but I won't take this overly complex analysis of something simple into decimal places.

Edit to respond to yours: In Canada, if Bertuzzi had punched an official, he would not have gotten the plea he did on his felony charge. In addition, he absolutely would have a lifetime ban from NHL competition.

Edit 2: The only record I could find of a serious assault on an NHL official was in 1927 which resulted in the NHL's only lifetime ban on Billy Coutu. The NHL lifted the ban so he could play in American minor leagues with the not so implicit instructions that NHL teams would not sign him to any deal.


April 2nd, 2013 at 12:00 PM ^ that if you were to call a unsportsman-like major penalty for a player talking-back to you (as in basketball where a player only has to look at an official the wrong way to receive a technical foul) and then you continued to call another technical/unsportman-like penalty on his coach or other teammates (which obviously doesn't happen in hockey because if players where given majors for swearing the game would be over in 10 minutes, i am simply using this example for arguments sake) that you wouldn't be slightly concerned for retaliation???....and lets say you get nailed by a player and it looks accidental after the aformentioned are saying you would continue to make the so called BS calls even though every player will now be gunning for you since it would be nearly impossible to prove malice???????


April 2nd, 2013 at 12:17 PM ^

In any sport, ever?

The closest I can think of is when the Brown player got hit in the eye with the flag weight and got pissed at the ref. And he was suspended, but not too bad because he was seriously injured and the League knew they shouldn't have had little metal weights on them and switched it to bean bag type things the next year.


April 2nd, 2013 at 12:26 PM ^

The amount of times you see a match penalty for abuse of official get called is roughly the amount of time an official has reason to believe he's in physical danger.

Again, I haven't ever seen one example of a player "accidentally" injuring an official over a call in ten years of officiating, twenty of being a fan or fifteen years of playing. The NHL doesn't appear to have any stories more recent than 1926 and looking online, pee-wee parents are much more of a danger than NHL players. The worst intentional thing I've seen is a player shoving a linesman breaking up a fight. Watch the body language of fighting NHL players as soon as linesman are in the immediate vicinity, it changes quite a bit from when they keep their distance.


April 2nd, 2013 at 12:37 PM ^

...that hockey and football players aren't going after refs every game, but my point is that they don't have to do so...from what i have watched/played in with regards to hockey and football is that the refs have a better respect for the games they officiate vs. basketball refs who tend to get a superiority complex and blow whistles based on momentum and/or the amount of trash-talk/back-talk they receive during the games...the obvious reasoning for this is they (the bball refs) know well in advance that nothing will happen to them so they can continue to operate with their superiority complexes...whereas in fball and hockey refs need to be just as concerned about their safety and have more respect for the players on the field/ not saying that there aren't BS calls in hockey and fball, but there are far less compared to bball and i think a big reason is that bball refs are untouchable both verbally and physically


April 2nd, 2013 at 8:44 AM ^

There is a Ton of money involved. Multimillion dollar coaching salaries, sponsor contributins, tv contracts etc...with subjective officiating you can dramatically change the outcomes. I guarantee Bo had some refs in his day that had enough of his ass chewings that calls went aganst him and probably cost UM some critical games.
On a MIchigan blog, I defy any of you to tell me you've never yelled at the officials at the stadium or on tv over a BS call and thought they did that on's further soiled the validity of big time officiating. When there's proof a head official "joked" about targeting a coach you know it's the cockroach effect.


April 2nd, 2013 at 9:05 AM ^

Once we lose the integrity of the game we have nothing left. I am an official and it blows my mind the number of officials that call biased games or are influenced by the in game situations and coaches. It took me probably 2 or 3 years to hone my skills as an official to where I would truly call an unbiased match (wrestling). Probably 85% of big/important matches are officiated with a bias or have someone/thing influencing their calls, it really is sad for the competitors...


April 2nd, 2013 at 11:15 AM ^

""Following our review, we have discussed the matter with Rush, taken steps to ensure it does not happen again, and communicated our findings to all of our officials." - Larry Scott, in the article

I don't know if I am satisfied with that reply if I am Arizona in particular, and indeed, no team in the Pac-12 really should think that is where it should end. If it is the case, as the story indicates, that officials in the conference feel that their boss is a bully and took him to be serious in his offer of a reward for calling a technical on Sean Miller, then they have serious leadership issues that need to be addressed soon or this story will likely be the one of first things mentioned almost every time there is a questionable call in a Pac-12 game. 


April 2nd, 2013 at 11:56 AM ^

I wish Goodell was the commisioner in this case. Sure he might not go after the zebras as much cause he owns them, but he sure as hell wouldn't take "just kidding" as an excuse.


April 2nd, 2013 at 1:37 PM ^

As someone who has been in these meetings:

Supervisors of basketball officials HATE it when officials let coaches get away with too much. 

That said, officials joke all the time about "whacking" a coach.  Hell, I am sure coaches joke in private with other coaches about officials.  What is joked about in private should stay in private.  The most logical explanation is that Rush was showing/talking about instances where technicals were deserved, but not given. He then probably said the joke.

Some butthurt official who didn't get to advance as far as he wanted decided to take it out on Rush by overblowing the situation.

As for the technical that was given: If you believe that all Miller said was "He hit the ball" and was a saint throughout the game, I have a piece of land to sell ya.


April 2nd, 2013 at 2:26 PM ^

Sway and influence your team in ways it shouldn't?  I can buy the inappropriate joke (something you say maybe in a bar after a game rather than in a team meeting), but when you pick someone out, you're basically saying "this guy deserves different treatment,"  And maybe everyone is THINKING it, but by coming out and saying it in a position of authority, you're adding credence to it. 


April 2nd, 2013 at 3:03 PM ^

Well, I would say it's okay to single somebody out if they deserve it.  I don't follow PAC-12 basketball enough to say if that is true. I'll trust Eddie Rush on that since that's his job.

Yes, I've had supervisors say "Coach X is getting away with too much complaining, we need to stop it."  As officials, we know that doesn't mean we make up technical fouls. That means we don't let things slide. At my level it was basically taught like this:

1. Quiet warning.

2. Visible warning.

3. Tech

If you do 1 and 2, you have totally justified yourself in giving a tech if the behavior continues. That's something we (or atleast I) don't know about the tech that was given. Also, at the higher levels, I'm sure there are different directives in dealing with coaches.

But I wouldn't say we are giving a coach "special treatment."  If anything, it is about ending the special treatment we were previously giving the coach by letting too much slide.


April 2nd, 2013 at 3:33 PM ^

How would we react if it came out after the B10 tournament that the head of enforcement told the officials in a meeting, "I'll give 5000 or a trip to ___ to anyone that gives Beilein a technical," and lo and behold, a referee gives a technical to Coach Belein less than 36 hours later, his first of the season? I know, long sentence, but I don't think our reaction would be, 'nah, this happens all the time, no big deal.'


Also, does anyone know any good Arizona blogs, would love to see their reaction to the news? Or to any good UCLA blogs? I can't see any Pac 12 fans being thrilled at how corrupt their league is.

Ali G Bomaye

April 2nd, 2013 at 6:38 PM ^

A lot of people are saying it's a joke.  Well, it doesn't matter.  A ref has effectively absolute power and absolute responsibility to ensure the integrity of the game, both in perception and in reality.  If a judge before a trial said "man, I hope the defendant gets locked up," it would be an absolute shitshow of a scandal, even if he were joking.