The sordid history of former Pac-12 Coordinator of Officials is finally over.
Ed Rush resigned his position on Thursday after CBSSports.com first reported the accusation of a bounty on Arizona basketball head coach Sean Miller earlier in the week.
Rush claimed that comments were made in jest, but others believed he created an environment of fear.
“Ed Rush doesn’t joke,” one official said. “To say it was a joke is absolutely not true. If he meant it in jest, then he had time to correct it the second day and he didn’t. And the only coach he mentioned was Sean Miller.”
The bounty in question occurred after Arizona’s Pac-12 quarterfinal victory over Colorado on March 14. Rush gave the following recap of the statement to the Associated Press in a phone interview:
“So in an effort just to lighten the mood, I said to them, ‘Hey, guys. What’s it going to take? Do you think we could give you a trip to Cancun or maybe $5,000? Or who wants what? And now they’re all laughing, which is basically what I wanted to do. So I said, ‘I know you guys, you probably want $5,000, you want the money, you won’t take the trip to Cancun.’ So I’m going around, ‘What would you take?’ At that point, I said, ‘By the way, you know my wife’s not going to go for this. I’m going to have to pull this off the table.’ They all laughed, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah. OK, bud.’ That was it, and I walked out.”
Once the news broke that Rush was encouraging “ringing up” or “running” a coach, many felt that the integrity of the game had been decidedly compromised, regardless if it was said in jest.
Several Pac-12 officials spoke up against Rush Thursday when interviewed by ESPN prior to the resignation and none had positive things to say.
“The integrity of the game was being messed with,” one official said. “There is stuff you don’t do. There was no joking about it. He was managing by intimidation.”
“To be labeled like this would be the most uncomfortable thing in the world,” another official said. “People were already saying the Pac-12 has the worst officials and then you think we’re cheating and being compromised? I’ve never seen anything like this. This has been personal, and for him to bring us into that with him was unfair. It was very difficult.”
Fortunately, for the Pac-12 and college basketball in general, Rush is no longer employed and the integrity of the game has been restored. Had Rush not resigned, there would have been a coup among not only the Pac-12 officials but it also would have affected the non-conference schedules going forward as no team would want to play with Pac-12 officiating.
Now that Rush is gone, where does this put Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott after he cleared Rush of any wrongdoing stating his comments didn’t warrant termination as they were said in jest?
“I want to express my appreciation for the great contribution Ed made to basketball officiating for the Conference during his tenure, particularly in the area of training and the cultivation of new officiating talent,” Scott said “All of us at the Conference thank him for his years of hard work, and we wish him well.”
Scott concluded saying that the search for a new coordinator will take place after the college basketball season concludes in Atlanta—I know of two men in New Jersey with college basketball backgrounds that are looking for work.