Pac 12 basketball officiating was not at its best during the 2012-2013 season and it didn’t help the league’s national perception when it came out that the head of officiating, Ed Rush, was placing bounties on head coaches during the conference tournament.
If you’re not familiar with the situation, here’s a quick recap. In early April reports surfaced that Rush placed a bounty on Arizona head coach Sean Miller, prior to the Pac 12 basketball tournament, for officials to give Miller a technical foul. That technical foul was doled out during Arizona’s semifinal loss to UCLA even though many thought the action to be undeserving of the punishment, including Miller himself. In his postgame presser Miller defended himself stating that all he said was that, “he (a UCLA player) touched the ball” on a double dribble call on point guard Mark Lyons.
After the reports came out about Rush and the bounty, the head of officiating would go on to resign from his post. In light of all the media reports the league conducted their own independent review and the results of those findings were released on Sunday. The independent review, led by Ice Miller Collegiate Sports Practice, suggested that the Pac 12 took the proper actions to deal with the situation and no further steps are needed.
The Ice Miller review concluded the following:
-Ed Rush’s So-called “Bounty” Statements Were Neither Offered Nor Taken Literally
-Rush’s Pre-game Statements Affected The Officiating of Bench Decorum In The Arizona-UCLA Game
-The Arizona-UCLA Game Was Officiated With Integrity
-The Disciplinary Sanctions Imposed Upon Arizona Coach Sean Miller Were Within The Commissioner’s Authority And Reasonable
So now that the findings have been released what do we make of them? Basically, it’s nothing that we didn’t know before. Rush’s “bounty” offer was not supposed to be taken literally but regardless it’s something that should not be joked about in the first place. Despite the joking matter in which the offer was made it still affected the officials interactions with the Arizona bench, which is completely unacceptable.
Now the conference can move on from the situation and focus on improving the quality of their officiating for next season. Honestly, the officiating can’t get much worse than it was last season when game after game was marred by poor or missed calls.
Hopefully the conference can produce a better product next season so the schools and fan bases don’t have to worry about anything like this happening again.
David LaRose is a College Basketball writer for Rant Sports covering the Pac 12 and the University of Colorado. He’s also a member of the USBWA. You can follow him on Twitter or check out his Facebook page.