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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

COMIC: Rat’s Nest #3
Olivia MoreyFebruary 28, 2024
 

    EDITORIAL: Letting Pac-12’s Rush slide lets down coaches, fans, hurts integrity

    It’s the first week of March 2014. The Wildcats are up 71-70 with three seconds left on the clock. UCLA has the ball, shoots and is blocked by Nick Johnson. As the Wildcats celebrate, the referees call them back and award the UCLA player two free throws. But the block was clean — the announcers and the players all say so. As UCLA hits both shots, the Wildcats are sent home with yet another Pac-12 loss.

    This nightmare could easily become reality next year, if Ed Rush, Pac-12 head of officials, isn’t fired.

    On Monday, CBSSports.com writer Jeff Goodman reported that Rush was being investigated by the Pac-12 for saying that he would give $5000 or a trip to Cancun to whichever ref gave Sean Miller a technical foul or threw him out of the game.

    While Rush and Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott claim that these comments were made in jest, the referees in the room apparently didn’t interpret it that way.

    “If you don’t do anything, you probably won’t get any good games down the road — or you may not get any games at all. That leaves us in a tough spot,” Goodman’s anonymous source said.

    Miller ended up getting a technical foul, and the Wildcats ended up losing by two points. Regardless of the outcome of the game, the mere idea that the head of officials would make such an unprofessional and inappropriate “joke” threatens the integrity of the Pac-12 and college basketball.

    And, as the cherry on top, Scott’s continued defense of Rush makes the conference looks bad.
    For all the effort student athletes put in all year long, to have the game be determined by a head official’s personal vendetta is an insult to their hard work. And to have the commissioner of the conference stand behind the head official on top of that is insulting.

    Ed Rush didn’t just “make a joke,” and if he was trying to, it certainly wasn’t funny. In standing behind Rush, Scott isn’t saying, “Sometimes people say things they shouldn’t,” he’s saying that he doesn’t care about the players and the coaches in the conference.

    Without the players and coaches, Scott and Rush wouldn’t have a job. No one goes to a basketball game to see the referees, after all.

    While fans complained about bad calls all season, they attributed it to human fallibility, and trusted that the officials were trying their best. Now that’s changed.

    This issue is much bigger than Miller’s $25,000 fine for comments he made after the game. It’s bigger than the way it affects how other conferences see the Pac-12, and in effect, Arizona’s ability to schedule non-conference games. It’s big because of the message Scott is sending.

    The NCAA prides itself on the attributes that college athletics teaches its athletes, including hard work, teamwork, fair play and integrity.

    But as Scott defends Rush, that integrity becomes a facade.

    It’s up to the UA to send a message to Scott. President Ann Weaver Hart, Miller, administrators, coaches and students across the conference should be calling for Rush to be fired.

    Not because Rush ruined a basketball game, but because he sullied an organization that is supposed to teach integrity and fair play.

    — Editorials are determined by the Daily Wildcat editorial board and written by one of its members. They are Dan Desrochers, Kristina Bui, K.C. Libman and Sarah Precup. They can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @WildcatOpinions

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