Pac-12 coordinator of officials Ed Rush resigned Thursday after he reportedly gave incentive for any official who called Arizona coach Sean Miller for a technical foul during the Pac-12 men's basketball tournament last month.
"My first and highest concerns have always been the integrity of the game of basketball and the honor of the craft of officiating," Rush said in a statement. "My decision to resign reflects my strong desire to see the Pac-12 officiating program continue to grow and thrive."
The Pacific 12 Conference investigated the comments made by Rush in meetings with referees about but Commissioner Larry Scott announced earlier this week that he had determined no punitive action was necessary. He has yet to comment on Rush's resignation.
CBSSports.com reported that Rush, a former NBA referee, told Pac-12 referees twice at the conference tournament at Las Vegas in March that he would give $5,000 or "a trip to Cancun" to any referee who "rang him up" or "ran him," referring to giving Miller a technical or ejecting him from a game.
"He was emphatic about not dealing with (Miller)," an unnamed referee told CBSSports.com. "He made that perfectly clear."
Scott told CBSSports.com on Monday that he reviewed Rush's comments and said Rush was joking.
"We have concluded that while Rush made inappropriate comments that he now regrets during internal meetings that referenced rewards, he made the comments in jest and the officials in the room realized they were not serious offers," Scott said Monday. "Following our review, we have discussed the matter with Rush, taken steps to ensure it does not happen again, and communicated our findings to all of our officials."
Referee Michael Irving whistled Miller for a technical with 4:37 left in a Pac-12 semifinals against UCLA after he complained about a double-dribble call on Arizona point guard Mark Lyons. The Bruins went on to win the game 66-64.
The Pac-12 reprimanded Miller and fined $25,000 for confronting a referee afterward and also for his behavior toward a conference staff member. Miller contended that he merely repeated to the ref that the ball was touched on the disputed call.
Until Thursday, Rush had refused to comment other than to tell CBSSports.com: "Larry's made a statement. I'm in concert with what he said. We're going to move on from there."
The story had many coaches and referees wondering if Rush's comments had compromised the Pac-12's officiating even if Rush was joking.