- Associated Press - Friday, April 5, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Former Pac-12 Conference coordinator of officials Ed Rush says he was just trying to “lighten the mood” in a tense locker room when he “jokingly” made offers of $5,000 or a trip to Mexico for any referee who called a technical foul on Arizona coach Sean Miller during the league tournament.

In his first interview since reports surfaced of the incident that forced his resignation, Rush told The Associated Press on Thursday night that the comments were “absolutely, 100 percent said in jest.” He believes the remarks were leaked out by officials who were unhappy with his overall handling of the Pac-12 program and wanted to tarnish his reputation.

Rush said he made his remarks at the “wrong place, wrong time, wrong audience.”