Doug Haller of the Arizona Republic, our Gannett partner, interviewed Ed Rush, who resigned as the head of the Pac-12 men’s basketball officials Thursday. Here is Haller’s story:
Michael Jordan had a disagreement with Ed Rush during the NBA Finals in 1996. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images Sport
By Doug Haller
Ed Rush admits he made a mistake. The former Pac-12 Coordinator of Men’s Basketball Officiating said something in jest at the wrong time in front of the wrong audience. In the end, it cost him his job. On Thursday, amid national criticism, Rush resigned.
“When I finally realized that all this noise was really kind of getting in (Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott’s) way of doing business I said to him, ‘If this ever becomes a situation where it’s very difficult for you to manage … I’ll move on,” Rush told azcentral sports. “We talked about it, and it just seemed like the right time.”
This week, CBSSports reported the Pac-12 had investigated Rush for targeting Arizona coach Sean Miller during the Pac-12 Tournament. According to the report, Rush held a meeting and offered referees $5,000 or a trip to Cancun for giving Miller a technical foul or ejecting him.
The next day referee Michael Irving hit Miller with a technical foul after a controversial play with 4:37 left in a semifinal contest against UCLA. The Wildcats lost by two points. Miller told reporters after the game that all he did was yell, “He touched the ball,” claiming he used no profanity.
Two days later, the Pac-12 reprimanded and fined Miller $25,000 for confronting an official after the game and for “acting inappropriately” toward a conference staff member.
In a telephone interview, Rush, a Phoenix resident, provided his version of events: