According to Jeff Goodman of CBS Sports, Pac-12 head of officials Ed Rush is under investigation for apparently targeting Arizona coach Sean Miller during the Pac-12 tournament.
The investigation stems from comments Rush made to a group of Pac-12 officials leading up to the conference. According to Goodman, Rush promised the group money and even a trip if any one of them “rang him up” or “ran him.”
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.
“He was emphatic about not dealing with him (Miller),” the ref told CBSSports.com. “He made that perfectly clear.”
Rush’s comments seemingly worked with official Michael Irving, who was present when Rush made the comments. Irving hit Miller with a technical foul during Arizona’s Pac-12 semifinal game against UCLA after claiming that Miller used profanity. Something that Miller denies.
“The reason I got the technical foul is because I said, ‘He touched the ball. He touched the ball. He touched the ball. He touched the ball. He touched the ball,’” Miller said immediately after the loss. Miller was reprimanded by the Pac-12 and fined $25,000 by the league for confronting a game official after the game had concluded, as well as for acting inappropriately toward a Pac-12 staffer in the hallway of the arena.
“They don’t talk to me,” he said of the officials. “If I cuss and I’m out of control and I’ve been warned, shame on me. When I say, ‘He touched the ball, he touched the ball’ because I thought the two of them could have maybe gotten together and explained that, in fact, he did touch the ball.”
As for Rush, it seems that he has earned quite the reputation since taking of as Pac-12 head of officials in 2012.
“He’s a bully,” the referee said of Rush. “He just bullies everyone. That was his whole tenor of the meeting on Friday. We’re all afraid of him. He’s the most respected basketball officiating person on the West Coast and he’s been given all the juice.”