No, this story is not going away. I respect those who contacted former Pac-12 coordinator of officials Ed Rush to get his comments regarding his resignation, but these stories make Rush look even worse.
The Portland Tribune and Arizona Republic are two media outlets that contacted Rush to get his explanation for why he resigned following his bounty on Arizona coach Sean Miller in the Pac-12 tournament. Rush offered $5,000 or a trip to Cancun supposedly in jest to his referees if they gave Miller a technical foul or ejected him.
After these talks between Rush and the referees, official Michael Irving, who attended the meetings, gave Miller an unwarranted technical foul in the waning minutes of Arizona’s 66-64 loss to UCLA in the Pac-12 tournament semifinal game.
In the Tribune and Republic stories, Rush is quoted as saying that Irving made a mistake by calling a technical on Miller. Rush, who has been called a bully by some of his former referees, called out the ref who cost him his job. If Irving does not give Miller a technical, Rush’s comments would not have come to the public’s attention through the story published by Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com.
Doug Haller of The Arizona Republic wrote these two paragraphs in which Rush is critical of Irving’s technical foul on Miller.
First, Rush said the officials made the wrong call. They had whistled senior guard Mark Lyons for a turnover when in fact a UCLA defender had touched the ball, making it a live situation, just as Miller had argued. Secondly, Rush thought the technical foul was whistled too quickly.
“What (Miller) said was correct, but because we had these warnings there was a reaction,” Rush said. “Unfortunately, it was an overreaction and we called a technical foul.”
Rush is critical of that call because it ultimately cost him his job following his bounty joke targeting Miller. He threw his ref under the bus to the media. It’s another example of Rush’s self-serving personality that unbelievably merited a stamp of approval from Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott.
Was Rush critical of Irving’s call before he submitted his resignation? Irving would be the one to let the public know. But he wants to keep his officiating job.
Rush came from the NBA, where he was a longtime ref and coordinator of officials for five seasons. He told his NBA cronies such as former referee Steve Javie that he was on a mission to clean up college basketball and it’s good old boy network. Javie told ESPN that Rush did not like the idea of coaches complaining to the league office and getting their way in the grading process of referees.
That shows a lack of understanding of concerns from coaches on Rush’s part. The NBA is more of a business. It’s the league’s way or else. The college game should allow input from coaches and school representatives about the officiating. There should be an open-door policy. Scott claims the Pac-12 has that policy.
Hiring Rush as the Pac-12 coordinator of officials was a bad move by Scott, who made the bounty situation worse by supporting Rush.
Rush’s most ironic comment was at the end of Haller’s story:
“From my standpoint, I definitely made a mistake,” Rush said. “I said the wrong thing. It was inappropriate. Even though it was in jest, it was the wrong audience at the wrong time. But I come from an orientation where there’s a code. It’s unwritten but it’s pretty dag-gone strong. I learned way back early in my career that whatever goes on in the locker room amongst men, stays there. And if you have an issue, you take care of it within that group. … I didn’t realize that there was at least one (at the meeting) that didn’t know the code.”
Rush is talking about the whistle blower who uncovered the story for Goodman.
Yet after he was forced to resign, Rush called out Irving for his overreaction in giving Miller a technical foul. That’s a no-no to call out a ref like that.
Rush is bad news. Scott’s reputation is forever tainted for supporting this guy.
Site publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner