Tag Archives: Ed Rush

Week 7 Pac-12 Hoops Review

I’d written everything below and was leaving this lead for last. I edited the below (moderately) and still didn’t know what to lead in with and then ice dancing delivered gold:

Leader in the Clubhouse: Teams that shoot 16-30 from the line won’t get mentioned as clubhouse leaders. Later in this segment I will contradict that statement but as I’ve written led every Leader in the Clubhouse section with Arizona speak,  allow me to quote my brother in reference to the Wildcats post-Ashley:

It’s like watching your girlfriend get fat when everyone else looks at pictures of her on Facebook and says she’s hot

Gold. And here’s where I contradict myself and tell you that Arizona State is our clubhouse leader. They beat the aforementioned Wildcats despite their own 15-26 free throw misery. But as both teams struggled from the stripe, it was ASU who gained the win (hardly anyone earned anything in that game). I thought the game was going to boil down to the post play. Kaleb Tarczewski had done a fantastic job keeping Jordan Bachynski from doing anything in three previous match ups. On Valentines, the big Canadian had the game winning disruption as part of his 13 point, 7 board, and 8 block performance. It was his best game against Arizona and only win against Tarc. Also, the Sun Devils did a terrific job of Jermaine Marshalling. Alas, Herb got his signature win, a shower, and to experience a new feeling:

Additionally, now that I’ve given a rare amount of love to the Tempe school, I’d like to note that California garnered a road sweep, Utah won their first road game, and UCLA is back in the top 25.

Biggest Loser: Really difficult to pin anyone to this. I think Stanford sustained the worst or perhaps most damning loss of the weekend as they stood a great chance at beating Washington before not beating Washington. The loss drops them into sixth place which really isn’t all that bad but they were really close to not having to be in sixth place. Beyond that, I’m not soon to pile on USC’s season as it was pretty well known they’d be struggling this year. So, sorry, Cardinal.

What We Learned: Just a short while ago I was ripping this conference. I was quick to get lost in the odd goings on that swept us in the league’s first few weeks particularly with my (our?) high expectations. I mean, look at this:Gw7tuwNBut things are starting to settle out. We’ve seen back-to-back weeks with pretty unshocking results. So what did we learn? Well Jermaine Marshall is tough and can fill the tin. Did we just learn this? A little. But we already knew the guy could score since before he arrived in Tempe. We learned that Utah could win on the road. But we already knew that they were good enough to do it and that USC is really bad. We learned that Stanford continues to struggle in close conference games. But we already knew that as last season they were 2-8 in conference games decided by fewer than 10 points and Johnny Dawkins is just thinking about this season differently. So again, I ask whether we learned anything this weekend? Not really. But sometimes knowing exactly who you are is learning enough.

In Defense Of: The referees. I’ll be honest that I avoided a lot of post-Valentines analysis. I didn’t want to hear an unmutable drone about what the stripes may or may not have missed. And sure, they very well may have botched the close of that game. But there were far too many other components of the basketball contest to harp on the efforts of three gentlemen in a court stormed chaos. That’s result based analysis and I think we can all be better than that. I’m not soon to necessarily defend the stripes, but they can’t be the conversation’s centerpiece. They never should be unless they’re being offered money and trips. Arizona State out uglied the Wildcats on that night. Happy birthday, Arizona. Next game.

The YouTuber: Not linking to a delightfully hilarious or poignant video this week. If you’re from Tucson or went to school there, then you know Eegee’s. It’s a local, caloric legend, namely for the frozen slushees that can spell any hot summer afternoon. My dear friend Lauren has submitted a t-shirt design and NEEDS YOUR VOTES. You’ll have to ‘like’ the Facebook page but you’ll also get to know that Lauren has won Eegee’s for a year. She’s ensured me she’s immune to brain freezes.

Week 2 Pac-12 Hoops Preview

I skipped the first preview and before you fault me that misdeed, note that I was beach side for the Butler family’s twenty-third consecutive Mexican New Years. Behold:Mexico

So yes, I skipped a Week 1 preview to give us 14 Things To Watch including DaVonte Lacy who still isn’t playing and got drunk at 10:15am at a restaurant with just my brother and his girlfriend for the Ka’Deem Carey Bowl. Otherwise known as the Not-Dre-Williams-Doak-Winner-Fight-East-Coast-Bias Bowl. But I’m no longer beachfront. I’m just playing softball games in shorts while the rest of the country bundles up. So Week 2 gets previewed.

Game of the Week: This is easily Arizona’s visit to Pauley Pavilion to battle the Bruins. The Cats haven’t won there since we thought of Steve Alford as that guy who failed at Iowa, going 0-3 last season whether the ball was touched or not. And it’s that losing streak – not Rush-gate – plays a huge factor in this game. There are wildly intriguing statistical components to this game I could get in to (and will) but the narrative here, at least in the Arizona locker, is “We haven’t beaten these guys in a year and it hasn’t even been pretty.” That’s to say that home for the Whiteout, handled in Pauley, and the aforementioned ball touch game were difficult pills to swallow. At this point we can cite something about pissed off for greatness; or is that just an awesome video? And if you’re curious about those stats I’d mentioned, exercise some patience, please. I’ve got a whole ditty on that drafted that’s coming on game day. And one last thought here: I wish the game was on a Saturday so I could’ve gone. I just can’t get to Los Angeles on a Thursday at 6pm.

Game to Avoid: This is most certainly not the spiciest of weekends – no geographic rivalry, no top-25 matchup despite the above flirting with it. Thus, the weekend kind of lends itself to an uninteresting schedule. I can’t call the whole damn thing avoidable because that’s just absolutely not the case. But if you find yourself at a bar watching Indianapolis at New England instead of Cal at Oregon State – the only Saturday game –  I certainly am not going to blame you.

Something to Prove: This thing’s early so ultimately everyone has something to prove, right?  I suppose USC, WSU, and OSU have proven themselves as bottom of the barrel but it is indeed still early – even for them (hey! I’m glass half full guy). Pin pointing one team, however, I’m going to go with the suddenly upstart Utah Utes. They gave the Ducks all they could handle – including the game winning basket – and against Oregon State they took care of business (a characteristic of a good team). They made us all Krystkowiakers (are we going to make that a thing?). But now they hit the road. And while the 2013-14 trip to Washington won’t soon frighten anyone, it’s certainly not about to make anyone comfortable. No road trip will. And when you’re Utah and haven’t played too much outside of the Huntsman Center, well then you’ve got a great opportunity to prove something to us.

And in a shocking new twist: A SECOND SOMETHING TO PROVE! Washington State must prove they can score more than 7 points in four consecutive halves. Or at least more than two field goals (non-football reference).

Something to Lose: I’m afraid I’m going to be picking on these guys all the season long. They’ve already dropped a home tilt to a thinned out Cal team and now they have to play in Oregon? The Stanford Cardinal haven’t been doing themselves too many favors this year. Sure they beat #10 UConn on the road. That was indubitably impressive. Wanna know what’s not impressive? UConn’s 2-2 record since that game. From where I’m sitting (on my couch at 12:51am playing this sweet jam in clothes I worked out in 4 hours ago) the Cardinal will be 1-2 in conference play on Monday. Not the start they were looking forward to. And can you even imagine what a slip up Thursday night in Corvallis would look like?

The YouTuber: This is why someday I want a microphone and an audience.

The Pac-12 Year in HOLY S***!!! (Copying Grantland)

If you’re not familiar with Grantland’s Year in Holy S***!!!, familiarize now. In a swift Bart ride back to my house I was taken out of the stat holes of KenPom and hoop-math and reminded that SPORTS! Watch that Steph Curry highlight reel and tell me you don’t get goosebumps as he drops trey on the Nuggets, turning to their bench before net.

Alas, this is a Pac-12 blog and holy shit happens here, too. We’re about to dive into it. But to further preface this reactionary and sudden expulsion of disbelief; before unveiling the moments that had as out of our chairs, jaws gaping, eyes wide, SMHing all over; prior to that, I’d just like to say that these are the things that have us coming back. Fandom, for better or worse or otherwise, allows us to get lost. Why we stand and shout. Holy shit. Bravo.

Here are a handful of those times from Brad, Ben, Matt, Jason, and me in no particular order.

The McKale Monitor Mishap

Jason of AllBuffs.com– The Monitors at McKale moment game started late for me.  I was in the car in a part of Colorado that severely tested KOA’s claim of “3 countries/38 states” motto.  When I arrived at my destination, not exactly civilization, but a place that does have DirecTV, (luckily the game was on ESPN) I turned on the TV and my first “Holy Shit” moment occurred.  CU was up, by double digits, in McKale, “Holy Shit indeed”.  Over the remaining 15 minutes of the game, the rest of my party arrived, the beers and wine were flowing and then the FT’s started clanking, oh those FT’s. When Mark Lyons made his second free throw with 10 seconds left, I stood up and I didn’t sit down for several minutes.  Sabatino Chen ended up with the ball in his hands with 3.5 seconds left, it wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t designed, it was….. BANKED, but it did go in.  There were high fives and then a “wait a minute, they’re reviewing it”.  It was good, it was definitely good was being echoed throughout the room.  Then it began, the slow walk toward the TV, the room was hushed, the volume was cranked and everybody was gathered around a 52 inch high-definition TV.

Screen Shot 2013-12-18 at 10.02.27 PM

Win probability.

Over and over we watched, angle after angle, hands now ON the TV, “no-it’s out right there, it’s good, the red light isn’t on yet”.  Then it happened……”HOLY SHIT” they called it no good.  F-bombs were dropped; BS’s thrown around and the air had been let out of the room.  I don’t remember the last 5 minutes of the game, all I know was that CU lost, but I will never forget that “HOLY SHIT” moment and that I was in the middle of nowhere, with high-definition TV while the refs  standing courtside were stuck with the standard-definition variety

Adam – I’d watched as my Wildcats made a furious comeback from the most three pointers the Buffaloes would hit in a single game all season. Well, it was going to be the most until Chen happened. Head down dribbling out the clock he heaved it up and you know the rest. I was here with friends and had conceded Arizona’s loss. We watched all of the angles and I even broke things down for my houseguests exactly how, if I were one of the officials, I’d bury my head in the monitor, confirm the call with field goal arms and bolt off the McKale floor. I bolted out of my living room to demonstrate. But when I returned, the officials were waving the whole damn thing off and…HOLY SHIT. Hey, Cats win and Mark Lyons doesn’t give a rats ass about how nice Sabatino’s hair is.

He Touched the Ball x5 and Cancun

Adam – From my Vegas vantage point following the UCLA-Arizona game I had this to tweet which, as you’ll notice, when unreplied, retweeted, or favorited. For shame.

Well then what happened?

AND THAT’S SOME STRAIGHT NOSTRADAMUS ACTION PEOPLE. Anyhow, in our hotel room, we watched that presser another 3-to-fifteen-hundred times because oh my holy shit goodness Sean Miller wasn’t happy. There’s more spice in that presser than an Indian dish. There’s more heat in Miller’s words than a dutch oven under plastic covers. There’s more flame in those eyes than under Ken Bone’s seat. Ask the Pac-12 representative Miller “didn’t” berate but rather who was the closest in proximity as he screamed innocuously down a hallway. And then Goodman’s news broke and maybe this is the true holy shit of it all? We wound up with an officiating scandal that I had to digest in phases. $5k and a trip to Cancun is some watered down Illumanati action. And now replay the presser.

Jahii Drops 40 on The Strip

Adam – Sure it was a career high and sure the Devils needed every one of his double-score scoring output from Carson. That’s undoubtedly some MVP stuff. Carson connected on 16 of his 25 shots inside the Thomas and Mack and that’s a pretty damn efficient 40 points. But wait, there’s holy shit coming. Because the 5’10” Carson made 14 of those 16 shots as layups which basically just says to me that Carson stared down the Rebels and their 7 blocked shots per game to announce to everyone that, “I AM JAHIISUS. I AM SO GREAT THAT I HAVE FORCED HERB SENDEK OF SLOTH PACED OFFENSES TO COMPLETELY BURY THE FOUNDATION OF HIS OFFENSIVE PHILOSOPHY AND THE STYLE IN WHICH HE BUILT HIS CAREER IN ORDER TO KEEP HIS JOB AND LOCAL TALENT. AT LEAST HE CAN NO LONGER LAMENT JAMES HARDEN’S DEPARTURE. I AM JAHIISUS.” And then he beat Marquette in Tempe to secure the first Sun Devil win over a ranked opponent since before Todd Graham was associated with other coaching jobs. Harden, who?

Askia Booker Doesn’t Give a Jayhawk

Ben of Rumblinbuff.com – 

If safeties-free, all-balls performances like 17 points as a freshman in the NCAA Tournament, or a sizzling domination of a non-conference run in Charleston as a sophomore didn’t let you in on the secret, let me clue you in: Askia Booker was born to get buckets.  Important buckets.  Season-defining buckets.

So, when Kansas, dominator of all things Colorado Basketball for generations, makes the mistake of getting into a see-saw affair in the snake-pit-that-Tad-built, who else could CU turn to with the game on the line?  Not Josh Scott.  He’s too smooth, too nice.  Not Spencer Dinwiddie.  He’s too conventional, too ‘efficient.’


No, you need insanity.  You need a player with no conscience, no understanding of the stage upon which he steps.  You need, to be brash, a player who does not give a f***.

Askia Booker does not give a f***.  Askia Booker gets buckets.

And so, 80-feet from the basket, with three seconds left on the clock against that team, the under-recruited dynamo from South LA – off-center goatee, and all – was the player in silver getting the ball.

One dribble, two.  Still too far from the hoop.  Better euro-step to cover some ground.  Square up, leap, let fly.

Watch the gif.  Count the fucks given by Booker.  There are none to be found.  After release, he just stands there, as if waiting for the oncoming train of noise.  Waiting for us, the fans, to realize what he has just pulled off.  He was born to hit that shot.  He was born to euro-step into that shot.

Almost four years ago, Colorado was in a similar situation against the hated Jayhawk.  Clock ticking down, tie game, ball in hand, CU had a shot to stun the #1 team in the land in the time-before-Tad.  In that moment, it was Cory Higgins who was called upon.  Higgins, the program’s co-leader in scoring, wasn’t up to the moment, and air-balled his dance with history.  Looking back, it all makes sense.

Booker is everything that Higgins is not.  Higgins was calm, cool, collected.  Indeed, sophisticated.  James Bond in shorts.  Booker is the junkyard dog, barking at everything in sight.    John McClane in Black and Gold.  Higgins may have been more talented, but Booker has the want, the need to hoop.  The balls to steal headlines from future NBA bonus babies.  The grit to walk across broken glass when needed.

I could twist myself in knots talking about how the game, the win, the shot meant something for Colorado, for Booker.  In the end, there’s nothing but the inbounds, the euro-step, and the pure, un-adulterated brashness of Ski and his moment.

Bucket gotten.

Mike Moser Leaves Las Vegas, Does Not Suffer Nic Cage-like Departure

Matt of AddictedtoQuack.com – Given Oregon’s lack of depth in the front court this season, the addition of a quality player like Mike Moser was definitely a wanted surprise to Duck fans.  Keeping him away from Washington was just an added bonus. Moser brings leadership, talent, and immediate play-ability to a position that was vacated by fan favorite, Arsalan Kazemi. Moser also fits perfectly into Dana Altman’s high-post wheel offense.  His ability to stretch the floor, handle the ball, and pull bigger defenders away from the hoop compliments Oregon’s guard focused offense. To say that Moser joining the Ducks this off season was a Holy Shit moment is putting it lightly.

Just this Dunk

Brad of Portland –  If you were watching that dunk you were like, HOLY-SHIT-KNOCK-KNOCK-WHO’S THERE-BOOOM-SHAKALAKA-F***-YOU-DARREN-SHARPER-HOLD MY DICK! Then you put a hand over your mouth, made a noise like you were watching Kevin Ware shoot a jumper in a regional final, and wept like you saw a double rainbow.

827051630RHJ doesn’t dunk his nigiri in the soy sauce, he slams that shit down so hard he cooks the fish. He is not a role model. Just because he can dunk a basketball does not mean he should raise your kid. Anyone raisin’ that kid is laughing their way to the bank faster than Earl Woods. The rest of us are just wiping our own kid off the Christmas card and sending a photo RHJ posterizing the entire Aggies basketball team instead.

Larry Drew Two’s Icy Veins Meet Icy Shabazz
Adam – LD2’s season in and of itself was a giant surprise. He was the rock his coach couldn’t quite be and the his prima dona wing wouldn’t be. For all the heat he’d taken in leaving Carolina across 12-13 Drew was a leader and it was fun to watch. And then to see those who we cheer for and appreciate succeed is great! So as Drew took that pass and slashed through the lane and hit a fading, elbow jumper to sink the Dawgs and maintaining their spot atop the conference – the conference they’d go on to win – I was impressed and jaw dropped. Holy shit as it were.
But in that gif you’ll notice the sulking shoulders of a neon shoed gentlemen. He’s left handed and was no where near a position to necessarily get a basketball with a waning clock and whining attitude. And yes I just said “whining attititude” which is the same crap my dad would drop on the Blue Rhinos – my 11-and-under baseball team.  Whiny attitude is a phrase reserved for juveniles but that’s about what not getting the ball when you want the ball equates to. It was the moment that perhaps personified everything that we didn’t know but felt UCLA’s season would become. Holy shit did he really just big league his own team off an icy cold buzzer beater? He did, and now it’s Steve Alford’s team (which was a holy shit in and of itself).
Two Teams AND Two Numbers
Adam – With two, citations of the number two, this. But when Oregon visited Pauley on Saturday January 19, 2013 it was the first Pac-12 Conference game featuring two ranked opponents since March 2009. What two words come to mind here? Holy and shit. Four years it took to get to this place and it was 21 vs. 24? And the road team won? Man oh man had this conference hit rock bottom. There would be just one more contest between ranked opponents that season (see: Ball, He Touched the)
What did we miss (lots no doubt)?

Pac-12 and Mountain West join officiating forces (The Book buys in)

At this point it’s old news, if it was ever news at all.

The Pac-12 is partnering with the Mountain West to create an officiating super power in which every call will be made correctly, no officials will ever go to Latin lands or receive compensation for aggressively enforcing bench decorum, and Bobby Dibler is in charge.

So I’ve lent myself to jest but this is indeed a mark of change and progress. It’s the improvement Scott promised and a step towards maintaining the confidence of the conference’s constituents. It’s certainly better than just firing Ed Rush and wiping their hands of the mess. Ice Miller got people off hooks; this officiating program is intended to improve.

And so now take a good look at Mr. Bobby Dibler. This is the last time you should see or hear of BD ever again. Ever.



What we have now is a promise of expanded resources, further materials by which officials can learn, grow, develop, and improve their skillz. If you read the Pac-12’s release, it starts to sound like they’ve built a Hogwarts for stripes. I have no idea what sort of positions were previously filled with regards to Pac-12 officiating but Dibler will now have a Deputy Coordinator (“deputy” seems like the wrong title for a referee), a Technology Coordinator, and Game Graders. Good stuff though I’m pretty certain he already had sufficient Game Graders. Just check any message board post-game.

Understandably, everyone is drinking this Kool-Aid. As will I. The NCAA’s head of officiating, John Adams, had this to say:

Broader regional collaboration between conferences is a positive trend for the future of officiating, the game generally and, in particular, the conferences that participate in them.

Dibler, of course, took a sip:

For our officials, this is a great opportunity to improve their officiating skills, maximize their schedles, and reduce travel.

Big DB also notes that he wants nada to do with emailing Sean Miller or anyone else for that matter:

I look forward to outlining…a clear communications process between all our officials, the conferences, and our coaches.

Larry Scott chimed in but I’m not about to quote him. Not out of spite but because he’s the one with all eyes on him; of course he’s drinking the Kool-Aid. He stirred the instant formula in the pitcher and invited everyone to the party. He did a two-story Kool-Aid bong. He’s on board.

Even the Bible thinks this is a good idea:

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor
– Ecclesiastes 4:9

I mean, what more do you need? Religiously speaking, the Pac-12/Mountain West officiating conglomerate should see great success.

Who’s willing to bet $5k on it?

Pac-12 releases Ice Miller report & we still need a better program

The website of Ice Miller, LLP looks a lot like something a first year computer science major would create…in 1997 (POST UPDATE: I was contacted by Ice Miller on August 2, 2016 and asked to remove the previously posted photo. Below is now their updated logo per their request):ICE-Logo_DARK_GRAY_RGB


This is eons from Web 2.0 but that’s not the point.

The point is that Ice Miller is the legal firm tasked by the “Pac-12’s CEO Group Executive Committee” to dive into the events leading up to and surrounding the clusterbang that became the 2013 Pac-12 tournament. Read the thing here.

To summarize those events:

And now we’re here and Ice has interviewed 42 people, reviewed reports and talked to those reporters, consulted with the NCAA, watched video and read documents to come to the following:

Due to the diversity of reported recollections about the Arizona-Colorado post-Game and the Arizona-UCLA pre-game, a singularly reliable understanding of the events of either meeting cannot be reconstructed.

I’m sorry, come again? Your high priced investigation, two months long and involving the aforementioned efforts resulted in not even an understanding?

Well, allow me mine then.

First of all, I’ve long felt that this investigation would be fruitless. It was and has proven to be an expensive reconstruction of the past that, unless something new was discovered (i.e. Michal Irving sipping Pinas poolside at a posh Cancun all-inclusive), we would all read and get upset again.

It also highlights for me human nature.

Have you ever read A Million Little Pieces? Fantastic read but a tale that got author James Frey into some heat. As it were, he didn’t recount his own life’s history all too well and someone investigated his quickly famed memoir to find holes. They found ’em and Oprah got pissed. Of course this incited a deep questioning of what is memoir and would eventually prompt journalist, David Carr to write his own memoir, The Night of the Gun. Carr had taken particular offense to Frey’s muddled story and sought to tell his own tale of alcoholism and life at rock bottom. His twist? He was going to report on it. Use his skills as an investigative journalist to recount his journey through hell as those around him and involved – on many levels – had seen it.

What he found was that his recollection of things was grossly skewed. One example: He would recall that the moment his twin daughters were born he checked into rehab, sobered up and became the man and father he had always intended to be (that’s to say a good one). The reality he discovered through his reporting, however, suggests otherwise. He spent another 9 months following their birth playing the role of shit father and druggie. At one point leaving his daughters in a running car while he got high in a crack house.

Rock. Bottom.

He would eventually sober up but I encourage you to read the book for yourself. Both of them. Because the point I’m trying to make here is that we create our own realities. We see the world through our own filters and so it makes great sense that Ice Miller found a “diversity” of recollections. That both Frey and Carr perceived their own lives far differently than the rest of the world.

Reading through the report, I’m not surprised that two officials recount Rush as “professional and business-like” and acting not at all “derogatory or demeaning” following the Arizona-Colorado game (evidently when things began to spice up with regards to bench decorum and bribery). That’s what they saw. And three other officials in the exact same room reported Rush as “animated… worked up… pretty aggressive…ranting and raving…and out of control.” Naturally, the other two refs in the room reported something falling between these two “extremes.”

The other exchanges and meetings play out the same way. X officials in the room thought he was funny. X other officials thought he was scary. The remaining officials were picking their noses.

But I suppose it makes good sense that we find ourselves with but a disjointed and inconclusive history considering what Ice was specifically tasked with uncovering:

(i) the occurrence, nature, and impact of certain statements publicly attributed to the Coordinator;

(ii) the integrity of the officiating in the March 15th Arizona-UCLA semifinal game; and

(iii) the conduct of Arizona’s Head Coach after the Arizona – UCLA game and the resulting disciplinary sanctions imposed by the Commissioner.

To which they answered (i) jokes, (ii) kinda, (iii) bad Sean. So as Ice stated, they could come to no understanding. These three answers had already been understood.

I mean, I was there and have to agree with Ice’s thought that, “In sum, the Arizona-UCLA game was fairly, although imperfectly, officiated.”

I’ve also come to understand that it’s clear something was lost in translation. That whether Ed Rush was speaking as a jester or a businessman, the hard reporting is such that even Ice believes:

The Coordinator of Officiating’s statements regarding bench decorum in the pre-game officiating meeting prior to the Arizona-UCLA game prompted greater strictness in the manner with which the officials enforced bench decorum guidelines in the Arizona-UCLA game. But for the Coordinator’s statements regarding bench decorum in the March 15 pre-game meeting, the technical foul assessed against Arizona’s Head Coach during the Arizona-UCLA game would likely not have been called.

Which makes the report’s subsequent paragraph a difficult pill for me to swallow. It’s the section in which Ice says that the game was officiated with integrity. Seems like odd logic. Especially as they continue down a path of discussing how Rush’s pre-game comments indeed held affect on the enforcement of that night’s bench decorum. A point that, really, I have no problem with. If the finding is such that officials were to uphold bench decorum rules and Miller and Howland were justly warned, then whammy T him up. The report makes no bones about Rush’s enthusiasm for the enforcement of this rule.

But what goes perhaps calculatedly unmentioned is the so-called bribing. They cite Rush’s “emphatic” pre-game as the reason for a T that would’ve otherwise gone unassessed. Never mentioning foreign destinations or cash.

And then, of course, there’s my favorite part:

According to the Coordinator’s colleague, the Coordinator’s immediate reaction was, “Oh, shit. That’s not good,” because the technical foul did not appear warranted.

Utter gold.

And that is why Rush quit. Or was squeezed out. Because this isn’t a difficult case. You’re a referee, you can’t even tickle the game’s integrity. Regardless of the diverse recounting or where rules emphasis was placed, someone felt it necessary to blow this whistle as the game’s integrity was now in question.

And now the CEO Group Executive Committee (what kind of name is that?) has their review of the events. They can cite their due diligence in gaining a full understanding of what a joke sounds like, what a joke doesn’t sound like, and how 42 different people thought it was hilarious or otherwise.

But it’s really time for the latter part of what the conference mentioned when announcing this Independent Review. The release notes, “In addition [to the review of events], Ray and Scott expect that the review will contribute to a broader examination of the officiating program.” Ray being CEO Group Chair Edward J. Ray.

Because the only thing to understand from all of this is that it was indeed a clusterbang and as clusterbangs go, fixing is in order. It’s time to review the program, find out how to best uphold the game’s integrity and how to deliver a quality product to the players and coaches. And sure, these silly events resulted in a number of “Oh Shit” moments, but where’s the report on Pac-12 officiating on the whole? Why are refs still pining for games and jumping all over their given seaboard (if not the whole country) to get themselves gigs? Why, sometimes, do they utterly stink? But most importantly, what’s being done to get better?

Ray’s quote in accepting all of this from Ice states that, “The report provides valuable lessons for all parties, which will be incorporated in how we restructure the men’s basketball officiating program and policies.”

One can only hope.

So I’m OK considering the hatchet buried. That’s ultimately what the Pac-12’s CEO Group Executive Committee was buying here. And so long as there is a better officiating product and we all – but namely the players and coaches – believe that there is a fair and just upholding of the law, I’ll buy it, too.

And I leave you with some of my favorite gems from the report:

Ice Miller interviewed the Pac-12 Enterprises junior staff member in-person and knows the person’s identity.

Jim Rosborough – Volunteer Coach, Women’s Tennis

The Head Coach formulated his anti-Pac-12 mindset at the 4:37 mark

It is likely that if the Junior Staff Member had been an experienced college athletics administrator familiar with coaches’ post-game emotions, the Junior Staff Member’s reaction to the Head Coach’s conduct would have been far less pronounced.

The content of Head Coach’s statements fits into two categories, expressions of general frustration (e.g., “Fuck the Pac-12” and, “Bullshit conference”) and expressions about cheating (e.g., “Cheat-

ass conference” and, “Cheating fucking conference”).

Not all five attendees report the same exact offer. Some report $3,000 instead of $5,000 or a cruise instead of a trip to Cancun.

On the Latest in the Pac-12 Officiating Story

In case you missed it, USA Today recently obtained documents surrounding the relationship between the University of Arizona (namely, Sean Miller and Greg Byrne) and the Pac-12 (namely, Ed Rush and Larry Scott).

Here is the article.

It’s an interesting read, one that I enjoyed mostly for its entertainment value. For me it highlighted that no one – regardless of title, fame, or prestige – is above the ridiculousness of interdepartmental communications and corporate speak:

“???? Do not see YOUR point.” – Ed Rush

“I will address his style with him to work on improvement in this area.” – Larry Scott

“…isn’t it part of Ed’s job to be the middle man between the officials and our coaches/programs?” – Greg Byrne

Not a quote but:

There is no indication Miller replied to the e-mail, which he forwarded without comment to Byrne.

In addition to the above nuggets of corporate goodness, we’ve been made privy to Miller’s response to his hefty fine. A penalty, it would appear, Miller had the opportunity to have rescinded if he just played the game a little more.

  • If Miller wrote a letter of apology to an unnamed Pac-12 staff member who was standing in the tunnel when the coach made what Scott described as a “profanity-laced verbal attack.”
  • If Miller agreed to meet with Rush and Scott by the end of April.
  • If the Arizona athletic department would “commit to developing a plan to work with Coach Miller on his conduct and reaction to situations like this, to ensure these incidents do not happen again.”

He didn’t.

Though he did write an apology note to the unnamed staffer which only served to raise the question of whether or not Sean Miller regularly directs tirades “toward a Pac-12 banner hanging in the tunnel area near our locker room.”

It also highlights the fact that I too hope to someday send an apology note with no apology and an accompanying a $25,000 check. Big league.

Now I just wonder what was in that check’s memo field…

EXCLUSIVE: The Ed Rush-Michael Irving Exchange

Video has been released from inside the officials’ meeting prior to the UCLA-Arizona Pac-12 tournament semifinal game. Footage includes intimidation tactics and the controversial comments made by Ed Rush that were later determined to have been made in jest. This footage is exclusive to PacHoops.

The Ed Rush – Michael Irving Exchange
by: pachoopsab


The Rush Interview and Independent Review

“I was trying to make a difference. In the long run, it’s going to take too long to get back to where we were.”

That was the reason Rush resigned and I get that. Beyond that he doesn’t say much in his exclusive frump-off with Shelly Smith. Seriously they look like twins.

In the interview, Rush downplays the entire incident, confirming that what he said was in jest. Additionally, he doesn’t once mention the purveyor of jest, Michael Irving, which I found refreshing considering he’d previously been tossing the official under the bus immediately following his resignation.

As expected, there’s really not a ton to see here but you can watch/listen below.

So while Rush’s interview was the sexy news (and yes, I use the word “sexy” in jest, though it was the more intriguing news) the real news came in the conference’s announcement of an “Independent Review” of the officiating program. This is what I’d been calling for and it’s a step in the right direction. Rush nailed it when he said we’re a long way from getting to a good place – we’ll call it trust – but third parties tend to help in that. Ask any couple in counseling.

And I most certainly appreciated this release above all others from Walnut Creek surrounding The Issue. In this one, the Pac-12 PR team used words like “best possible” and “maintain the confidence of our members.” The latter comment might be my favorite. An acknowledgment that Conference brass let its constituents down. That’s leadership.

Of course this is all pretty language of which action speaks far louder than. But it’s the first action in getting the best officiating product for our favorite game. I’ll buy that during this long road back to trust.


Ed T. Rush is Out. Now the Answer.

Ed Rush has left his post as the Coordinator of Officials with the Pac-12 Conference. It came via official release from the conference late Thursday afternoon (evening if anyone on the east coast pays attention to this stuff) and informed us that Larry Scott had accepted the controversial and rushed resignation.

And the world rejoiced.

I saw tweets of “bout time” and “good” and “HEGONE” and all sorts of celebratory remarks which I’m just not all that in to. Sure I contributed to the dialogue of his dismissal/resignation/firequitting but calling for heads has never sat well with me. As it were, we got the result we wanted.

So now what?

We don’t have much out of Walnut Creek and we likely won’t for awhile. The replacement hunt will be played close to the chest and will be a hire not made in jest.

What we do have from Scott is the release. The one in which Rush’s resignation was announced, accepted, and never really explained. That’s fine. We are owed no explanation and let’s get serious – we all know why this went down. The imperative thing here is that trust is restored. That all of this speak of “integrity” and “honor” and other things Jack Nicholson spouted off about in A Few Good Men is more than lip service and not used as a punchline.

Which brings me to the most important part of Scott’s release: The end.

Scott said a process to select a new officiating coordinator will be part of the overall program review that had already been scheduled for after the college basketball season.

I have no idea what that means. Neither do you. Hell, for all we know, neither does Scott. But he’s the one who will be hiring for this review and it’s a damn important one. Trust, as I said, will need to be reinstalled. Which is never an easy thing if you’ve ever tried getting back together with a significant other. Actually it painstakingly sucks. Work like hell is involved but it can happen. Change must happen.

But I can’t stress enough that the next move is the most important one. The conference can pull the densest PR veil they’ve got over our eyes, I still believe we’ll see right through this. Some transparency, a declaration of change, ought to be forthcoming. I expect to see a new Coordinator settle things down with a defined plan. A new plan. Because things are pretty shaken up already.

Ed T. Rush resigned amidst the swirling upset stirred by his joke and the subsequent coincidental action taken. He’s out and we got what we think we wanted.

But Rush’s departure is not the answer.

Fixing his wake is.

More on the Pac-12’s Stripes

It quickly became the biggest story in the Pac-12 if not the world of sports. Jeff Goodman hit publish and sent dialogue into a frenzy surrounding what’s already considered a crummy slew of Pac-12 officials. Larry Scott and Ed T. Rush have taken heat and addressed it with little more than a handheld extinguisher.

That’s my f****** problem (A$AP Rocky voice).

As you might expect, I spent a good portion of my day discussing the fact that next year TJ McConnell will have four teammates all over 6’8” to dish to and who are projected to play in the NBA; a glorious image in the wake of Aaron Gordon’s commitment to Arizona this officiating situation. It sparked a long debate with a buddy of mine during which I’m not sure either of us was making a concrete point beyond the fact that we agreed Ed Rush had to go.

I was arguing that it just needs to happen. I don’t care the logistics, the buyout, the fallout, the wrongful termination suits, whatever, HEGONE. The more I thought on this and the more I read opinion on the matter, it became increasingly clear to me that Rush’s actions – no matter their intent – we inexcusable and put too many people in compromising positions with regards to their job. Andy Glockner alluded to it, basically saying every call one way or another could and would be rightfully questioned.

The other side of my discussion didn’t disagree with these points. Brad agreed that Rush needed to go but he was diving into the logistics of it; after all, Brad is a lawyer. He was mentioning possible contract buy outs or the review period Larry Scott had referenced in an ESPN interview. Rush most certainly was on his way out, Brad just understood that the PR nightmare this had become was not about to be assuaged by firing the guy 24-hours after the whistle was blown. What’s more, the message had already been sent in support of Rush, citing “jest” and that it “won’t happen again.”

We ultimately never really went anywhere with the conversation because neither of us would really listen to the other.


Brad: NOTYETNOTYETNOTYETNOTYET. Review period/PR Nightmare/Legal jargon

But it did propagate the discourse and the conclusion I’ve come to is that indeed Ed T. Rush needs to be fired.

But it’s not imperative.

Dismissing Rush solves nothing. It’s change for the sake of change and as we’re learning in the wake of Ben Howland’s departure and the subsequent hiring of Steve Alford, such action doesn’t always garner the desired or expected reaction.

Because everything surrounding Rush right now is reactionary. It’s all perception and it’s all message. I whole heartedly believe that there is no corruption in the Pac-12 Officials office but that is today’s perception. The removal of Rush won’t change that and Scott’s comments have done little to assuage these beliefs. As is always the case, action speaks louder than words and measures need to be put into place to ensure players, coaches, managers, athletic directors, PA announcers, popcorn vendors, media, directors of basketball operations, fans, SIDs, grandmothers, second cousins, one-night-stands, and everyone else can rest assured that games are being called fairly and by the best possible and prepared persons.

I do not believe this is resolved via firing alone. Hell, keep him around, it doesn’t really matter that much if there isn’t a significant investment made to ensure the improvement of this program. If Scott is sincere in stating, “I consider the integrity of our officiating program to be of the highest importance…” then he’ll take action.

Firing Ed Rush might make us feel better – a strange acceptance within the worlds of sports and public figures in which the calling of heads is celebrated – but it doesn’t solve anything.

You won’t quite find the direct resolution on these pages. Officiating development is not my area of expertise – come to think of it, I’m not sure what my area of expertise is. But I do know that money, time, and focus speak loudly. That with their powers combined improvement will be made and confidence instilled. Officiating is a tough job and will forever be criticized and chastised. But as Ben Burrows points out in his reaction to this news (and then outlines his actions on this situation) these guys are overworked and overscheduled and are held to little accountability. They’re also, evidently, bullied by their boss. It’s an imperfect craft, officiating a sporting event, but let’s start cutting out variables.

Creating a program that you’re proud of, an officiating corps worthy of upholding the moniker “Conference of Champions,” doesn’t begin with an axe, it starts an action.

Larry Scott, I implore you to take it.