The Pac-12 Conference announced Tuesday it will commission an independent review of all of the officiating and coaching events during and following the conference basketball tournament in Las Vegas this season.
The decision comes a week after Ed Rush announced his resignation as the Pac-12 coordinator of basketball officials. Rush came under fire after a CBSSports.com report revealed he told a group of referees during the tournament he would provide $5,000 or a trip to Cancun if they called a technical foul on Arizona coach Sean Miller or ejected him.
Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott and CEO Group Chair Edward J. Ray made the decision to invite the review. Scott initially supported Rush, saying that his comments, reportedly made on two separate occasions, were made in jest. But the outrage from fans and media eventually forced the conference and Rush to reconsider a future in which the integrity of Pac-12 officiating would be in question with Rush in charge.
“After considering the matter, Commissioner Scott and I agree that an independent review is important to maintain the confidence of our members, and of the public, in the integrity of our competition,” President Ray said in a press release from the conference. “While the review will focus primarily on the tournament, we expect that it will inform a broader examination of our men’s basketball officiating and help us provide the best possible program.”
The Pac-12's executive committee will select experts with no affiliation to the conference to conduct the review and those experts are expected to report their findings to the committee in time for Pac-12 meetings in June.
Conducting the review is a good step toward establishing credibility once again with the public, coaches and the student-athletes. Not taking this step and simply hiring another coordinator of officials would be an indication that the conference didn't take the issue as seriously as it needed to. It will be interesting to see if the review turns up any further damaging information about Rush, officials who work in the conference or the Pac-12 officiating program.