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NCAA Basketball Arizona WildcatsPac 12 Basketball

Arizona Head Coach Sean Miller Targeted By Referee

Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

For the Arizona Wildcats, the phrase “The referees were out to get us,” was actually a legitimate statement.

Pac-12 coordinator of basketball officials and former NBA referee Ed Rush has been investigated for allegedly offering payment to other referees to penalize Arizona head coach Sean Miller.

Rush, allegedly, offered Pac-12 tournament referees $5,000 each or a trip to Cancun if they hit Miller with a technical foul or threw him out of the game. He then told referees again in a meeting on Friday that officials should do the same if Miller did anything during Arizona’s match up with UCLA in the Pac-12 semifinals.

In a statement made to CBSSports.com, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said that Rush was speaking jokingly, and regretted his statements to the referees in the meetings.

In a call made during Arizona’s game with UCLA, Miller was called for a technical foul following a double-dribble call made on one of his players. Miller maintained that a UCLA player had touched the ball, and he tried to tell that to referee Michael Irving. UCLA went on to win 66-64, eliminating the Wildcats from the conference tournament.

Miller wasn’t very pleased with the call after the game. He was then fined $25,000 by the Pac-12 for his comments for confronting a game official after the game had concluded, and for acting inappropriately toward a Pac-12 staffer.

The Pac-12 appears to be standing beside Rush, but it’s obvious he needs to be fired. Sources have said that Irving was in the room when Rush made his comments, or “jests” as the Pac-12 describes it. Miller is a good coach, and has once again made the Pac-12 relevant in the national basketball conversation.

John Engel is a college basketball writer for Rant Sports, and also works for ESPNLA 710 AM radio in Los Angeles. Follow John on Twitter: @engelsportsguy.