Pac-12 officiating coordinator Ed Rush, formerly of the NBA, has been accused by anonymous sources within the Pac-12 referee circle of targeting Arizona Wildcats coach Sean Miller before the Pac-12 tournament, as first reported by CBS Sports and UA grad Jeff Goodman. As you might already know, Miller was of course called for what he believed to be a bogus technical foul in Arizona's two-point loss to the UCLA Bruins in the conference semi-finals.
Miller blamed the foul for the loss after the game. He was later fined for post-game antics that included inappropriate actions to Pac-12 officials.
Rush, according to a source within the Pac-12 officiating group, told a group of referees on the Thursday of the Pac-12 tournament in Las Vegas that he would give them $5,000 or a trip to Cancun if they either "rang him up" or "ran him," meaning hit Miller with a technical or toss him out of the game. Rush then reiterated during a Friday morning meeting, according to one referee in attendance, that officials should take similar action against Miller if he did anything on Friday in the Pac-12 semifinals against UCLA.
This obviously has caused a stir. Referee Michael Irving was the one calling the technical on Miller despite the UA coach claiming he hadn't used any profanity. There's a decent argument that it was a coaching box warning, which Miller might have been warned about previously, but he was never told why he earned the technical. Both Miller and Ben Howland said after the game there was a known emphasis to be careful of stepping out of the box.
And the league source told CBS that it was out of Irving's character to have a quick trigger, meaning the influence of Rush was certainly at play.
Goodman's CBS colleague, Gary Parrish, believes Rush should be fired.
Yahoo!'s Jeff Eisenberg says that the Pac-12's backing of Rush after the game will further hurt the conference's perception as a poorly-officiated conference.
And at the Seattle Times, Bud Withers noted that veteran official Dick Cartmell resigned and on Monday told the paper he had "personal differences with the direction of the officiating program."
And free to speak his mind because he'll never play another game in the Pac-12, senior Solomon Hill said ...
im waiting for the PAC-12 to reveal its just an April fools joke...— Solomon Hill (@kingxsolo) April 1, 2013