Posted April 02, 2013

Report Of Pac-12 Ref Supervisor Ed Rush Offering Bounties Should Lead To Dismissal

NCAA Tournament, Pac 12
Sean Miller

Sean Miller, pictured in his team’s Sweet 16 loss to Ohio State, was reportedly a target of referees during the Pac-12 tournament. (John W. McDonough/SI)

The viability of competitive sport is strongly rooted in its appearance of propriety. While every fan base gripes about calls and there are isolated instances where officials do seem to have an issue with a player or a coach, we still fundamentally believe that the games as a whole are competed on the level. That what we’re watching is legitimately sport, and not a judged competition or sport-based entertainment.

When there is even a perception of taint in the administration of sport, its entire authenticity is brought into question. That’s why the NBA had to root out Tim Donaghy (and claim that he was a lone wolf, as dubious as that may be). That’s why the massive match-fixing investigation across players and officials in soccer is threatening that sport in a number of countries. And that’s why Ed Rush should lose his job as supervisor of the Pac-12′s referees.

In a report published earlier on Monday, CBSSports.com’s Jeff Goodman revealed that the Pac-12 was investigating claims that Rush has been targeting Arizona head coach Sean Miller. Goodman writes that in two separate meetings with league refs during the Pac-12 tournament, Rush offered incentives to issue Miller technical fouls and/or eject him from the game.

The Pac-12 did not deny the conversations happened, issuing a statement that they investigated the situation (apparently after Arizona complained about it, as a school release stated later Monday evening) and that Rush “made the comments in jest and the officials in the room realized they were not serious offers.”

To that, I say: It doesn’t matter. The damage, now that the report has been released, has been done. And as long as Rush remains in his current position, fans of every Pac-12 school will have every right to wonder whether refereeing assignments are being manipulated or whether refs have been given instructions to handle games in certain ways.

The state of officiating in the Pac-12 (and other major conferences) was dicey enough this season to warrant significant discussion. I was at the Arizona State-Colorado game in Boulder, which was one of the worst officiated games I have seen in ages. At the time, it didn’t seem biased. It just seemed totally incompetent and directly impacted how the game unfolded. Now, with this information, every fan who witnesses a game like that, or a dicey call that seems out of context, will have every right to wonder about whether something’s not on the level. You simply cannot run a competitive sports enterprise where conspiracy theories actually can have a basis in reality.

It doesn’t matter if Rush was kidding. It matters whether his staffers think he was kidding, and as you can read in the report, multiple people aren’t buying that excuse. In addition to the refs anonymously quoted in Goodman’s story, there’s at least one NBA observer who isn’t surprised by this, either.

Eleven years ago, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban famously spent a day working in a Dairy Queen after saying “Ed Rush might have been a great ref, but I wouldn’t hire him to manage a Dairy Queen. His interest is not in the integrity of the game or improving the officiating.” Rush, at the time, was the NBA’s supervisor of officials.

Here is what Cuban tweeted today in response to Goodman’s report:

The Pac-12 simply cannot have this. Larry Scott cannot enable this. He’s too savvy a businessman to believe he can brush this under the rug and have Pac-12 basketball operate under a cloud of suspicion. Rush may very well have been joking, but the impact of his words, both on the referees who report to him and to the fans who watch his league, is anything but a joke. The only joke would be if the league does nothing about this.

20 comments
jimymac
jimymac

I think it's time to revisit Coach Knight's statement quite a few years ago on how hopelessly conflicted most the ref's are.

tucsonbballbatch
tucsonbballbatch

I just saw Larry Scott say offering bounties was not a firing offense. lol!  He must be getting paid for this swindle.


PeteWhite
PeteWhite

can anyone say that "the fix" isnt in on some of these games ?  particularly major college athletics? cmon now

Rickapolis
Rickapolis

 I doubt if the NCAA will do anything of substance, but Glockner is right, of course. Rush HAS to be fired. If fans start thinking games are really fixed college sports could collapse in a moment. But I expect a lot of this will be swept under the rug. 

SculptorDad
SculptorDad

In all fairness, Miller deserves it. And I think the writer meant the Arizona-Colorado game. Perhaps Ed Rush was trying to compensate for that travesty? 

joeshine730
joeshine730

Then fire Ed Rush and remove all doubt. Referee are the integrity in the game. Rush is a publicity glory seeking attention getter.

tucsonbballbatch
tucsonbballbatch

Why isn't Rush fired yet? Do his manipulations make someone that much money? Ridiculous. The game and the players and the coaches deserve fairness. Fire Rush!


EliCabelly
EliCabelly

Ed Rush spent years targeting Portland Trailblazers while he was an NBA ref. Any ref squad that he's on or managing is under suspicion and has been for years.

mcp
mcp

Something that no one has mentioned...the ref who called the T on Sean Miller is a law enforcement officer from Los Angeles! So, why was he even allowed to officiate an Arizona-UCLA game? There's a PAC-12 ref who's a cop in Tucson and he isn't allowed to officiate at Arizona games. Why don't the same rules apply across the board? The PAC 12 has already lost a lot of credibility because of questionable officiating in general, and now this comes out. Larry Scott needs to do get rid of Ed Rush immediately and clean house to salvage any credibility that's left.

Starks
Starks

No brainer - fire him - or it looks exactly like the corrupt group of officials they are - trying to cover-up for one of their own.  I wonder if Rush kiddingly suggested $$$ for beating the point spread or jokingly offering $$$ for the over/under. Hey wait a minute - somebody investigate if Donaughy is involved in some way. Take the power away from this officials and NCAA ( a whole different world  of corruption)  and the game will improve.

natikid513
natikid513

uhhh no we dont i think fans realize refs are fixing games its become to obvious

Jabberwock813
Jabberwock813

What is not stated in this article is that in fact, Sean Miller was cited for a technical foul with 6 minutes to play with his team in the lead. A player was cited for a double dribble, when clearly you could see a UCLA player touch the ball as it was being laid up, and came down. The official making the call was not under the basket but on the side trailing the play. He T'd Miller up when Miller repeated 5 times. "He touched the ball." He did not swear, He did not leave the coaches box. He received no explanation, warning or any comment from the official for the T. Two points for UCLA, U of A lost the game by those two points. 

Now it has come out that Miller was advised before the game that the conference officials were targeting him. Oddly, both coaches were specifically warned before the game not to leave the coaches box. Subsequently, a veteran, four time NCAA championship official has resigned from the PAC 12 for differences with the direction of the PAC 12 conference officiating leadership.

AD Bryne was advised by an anonymous PAC 12 official of the bounty on Coach Miller after the game and communicated the issue to Larry Scott. Larry Scott fined Miller $25,000 for following the official after the game asking what he was T'd for, and for making a comment to "a PAC 12 official after the game" in the bowels of the stadium. =Funny, how the head of officials, Ed Rush, made the offer of a trip to Cancun to any official who either T'd up Coach Sean Miller, or ejected him, in two separate meeting's with his game officials, over two different days. Funny, they were the same days the U of A played in the conference tournament.

What a cover up and shame.

Don;t bet on PAC 12 sports folks. Rigged. Tucson media say that national media members have told them there has been some phenomenally off officiating of the games they have observed of the U of A, all biased against the U of A. 

Hey, not trying to whine about officiating, which we had suspected if you watched the conference games. But now this is admitted and acknowledged, a coach lost $25,000, 11 scholarship student ahtletes lost a game they should have won or had an overtime chance to win, and many dollars turned on the results in Vegas Books. 

What a sham. Larry Scott is a businessman. He is clearly not a man of character.


Covey
Covey

@SculptorDad TSK..tsk..tsk sculptor guy. You say "in all fairness", and then talk a bunch of nonsense. Miller had absolutely nothing to do with the officiating of the AZ-Col game. Miller didn't make that call. If you're trying to point the finger at someone, point it in the right direction. THE OFFICIALS! That is what this is all about. Not your pride in your team that lost in the opening round of the Big Dance

SculptorDad
SculptorDad

@Jabberwock813 If the bounty anecdote is true, Rush should be fired after due process. Coach Miller deserved the T; he should have gotten more, UofA would not have won anyway. Karma works!

Bill Johnston
Bill Johnston

@Jabberwock813 An excellent summary of the issues, both by Andy Glockner and Jabberwock813. If Larry Scott doesn't see the harm in Ed Rush's malfeasance and remove him, he should be ousted as well.

Covey
Covey

@SculptorDad @Jabberwock813 Miller never deserved the T to begin with, for what? Questioning a call. By your own logic, Boyle should have gotten a couple T's for his ranting and raving about officiating earlier in the season. It is not fair to specifically target a coach because he gives the ref's "a hard time" about their calls. The whole country does that already. Its not about your hurt feelings about your team losing to AZ in overtime. It's about genuine fairness. But back to your Karma, if it really works, by your own logic again, then that would explain why the Buffs got blown out of the PAC-12 tourney by AZ, and also explain their short lived NCAA visit. Karma Works! Yeah!