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Rush Resigns Post As Head of Officials

AP10ThingsToSee - Trainers check on Louisville guard Kevin Ware after he broke his leg during the first half of the Midwest Regional final against Duke in an NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)

AP10ThingsToSee - Trainers check on Louisville guard Kevin Ware after he broke his leg during the first half of the Midwest Regional final against Duke in an NCAA college basketball tournament, Sunday, March 31, 2013, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)

San Francisco — Ed Rush resigned yesterday as the Pac-12 Conference’s basketball coordinator of officials following comments during internal meetings before the league tournament that appeared to target Arizona coach Sean Miller.

Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said in a statement that “I want to express my appreciation for the great contribution Ed made to basketball officiating for the Conference during his tenure, particularly in the area of training and the cultivation of new officiating talent.”

Scott told The Associated Press a day earlier that Rush made an “inappropriate joke” before the Pac-12 tournament semifinals offering a group of officials $5,000 for a trip to Cancun if they called a technical foul on Miller, but that every official interviewed confirmed “nobody thought they were getting a reward.”

The public perception of inappropriate behavior still proved to be too much.

Rush is a former NBA official who also served as the league’s director of officiating. He was a consultant to the Pac-12 before becoming conference coordinator of officials last year.

“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,” Rush said in a statement. “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.”

Officials whistled Miller for a technical foul during the semifinals of the Pac-12 tournament against UCLA for arguing a late double-dribble call against Wildcats guard Mark Lyons. Arizona lost the game, 66-64.

Miller went on a memorable postgame rant about the technical foul, waving his arms while repeating “he touched the ball” five times in a row. Miller was later hit with a $25,000 fine from the Pac-12 for what the conference said was for confronting an official on the floor and acting inappropriately toward a staff member in the hallway.

Scott had said Arizona officials alerted him to Rush’s remarks the night of March 17, a day after the league tournament. He said he launched an investigation into the matter the next day, and he concluded that it was not a “fireable offense.”