Already knee-deep in of one of the ugliest weeks in college basketball history, Pac-12 coordinator of officiating Ed Rush announced his resignation on Thursday afternoon.
ESPN’s Andy Katz reported the news on Twitter:
The Pac-12 then confirmed the news through its official website. Here's what Rush had to say to the public, through the press release:
I would like to thank the Pac-12 for giving me the opportunity to lead a group of officials who are working so hard to make the Pac-12 the best officiated conference in college basketball...My first and highest concerns have always been the integrity of the game of basketball and the honor of the craft of officiating. While I am proud of what we have accomplished, my decision to resign reflects my strong desire to see the Pac-12 officiating program continue to grow and thrive.
CBS Sports' Jeff Goodman first reported earlier in the week that Rush was being investigated for targeting Arizona head coach Sean Miller.
According to Goodman's report, Rush offered money (eerily similar to the New Orleans Saints' bounty allegation) to prompt officials at the 2013 Pac-12 tournament to take Miller out of the game via technical fouls:
Rush, according to a source within the Pac-12 officiating group, told a group of referees on the Thursday of the Pac-12 tournament in Las Vegas that he would give them $5,000 or a trip to Cancun if they either "rang him up" or "ran him," meaning hit Miller with a technical or toss him out of the game. Rush then reiterated during a Friday morning meeting, according to one referee in attendance, that officials should take similar action against Miller if he did anything on Friday in the Pac-12 semifinals against UCLA.
Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott stood behind Rush earlier in the week (via ESPN). Scott and other conference officials concluded that the remarks made were not a "fireable offense" nor a breach of ethics, and that an internal investigation concluded that Rush was joking with fellow officials.
After Miller received a questionable technical foul in Arizona's Pac-12 semifinal loss to UCLA and the subsequent announcement of Rush's resignation on Thursday evening are put together, it would appear that Scott's comments were no more than a Band-Aid to the situation at hand—a growing trend in college athletics.
Rush was hired to his now former position in May 2012. Previously, he was the director of officiating for the NBA from 1998 to 2003.
If you'll remember, Rush came under fire from Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban in 2001 (via the Dallas Morning News) when he infamously stated that he wouldn’t hire Rush to manage his Dairy Queen, much less be the head of NBA officiating.
After this scandal passes, Cuban’s harsh words might become the calling card of Rush’s officiating career.
The announcement comes on the heels of Rutgers basketball coach Mike Rice Jr. being fired for inappropriate practice behavior on Wednesday. Even with the 2013 Final Four still to play and a magnificent 2012-13 season already in the books, it has been a dark week for college basketball.