Ex-Pac-12 ref: I was trying to ‘lighten the mood’

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“Although u never want someone to lose their job, this is a good step for the Pac-12 in restoring confidence in the bball officiating program,” Arizona athletic director Greg Byrne wrote on Twitter following Rush’s resignation.

Scott thanked Rush in a statement for his contributions to the Pac-12 program. In an interview with the AP on Wednesday, Scott defended Rush and noted he carried out many of the items the Pac-12 hired him to do: allow more physical play, put a heavier emphasis on training and accountability, and replace officials whose performance was deemed unsatisfactory.

Both Scott and Rush believe, at least in part, the procedures Rush put in place might have contributed to the leak. Even still, Rush regretted making the comments.

“That was wrong place, wrong time, wrong audience,” Rush said. “See, where I come from, in the NBA, there’s a code that you definitely follow. You never, ever take the conversations in that locker room outside. I learned that code in 1966. Mendy Rudolph taught me that. You talk to the NBA officials, they all follow the code.

“There’s a few guys (in the Pac-12) who didn’t follow that code. They missed that part, and that’s a shame. That’s a very important part of the bond and the profession. Shame on me for not knowing that, but I used poor judgment. So that’s my regret. Other than that, we got after it. We spent a lot of time. We definitely made some inroads in the right direction.”

The conference’s search for a new lead official will be part of its previously scheduled annual review at the end of the month in Phoenix. Rush said he plans to continue working in the NBA Development League in training officials.

“I’m not retiring,” Rush said. “You reach the point where you really want to feel like there’s significance to your work. It’s not the money or the position or the prestige. You have to get up in the morning and know that what you’re doing has meaning.”


Antonio Gonzalez can be reached at: www.twitter.com/agonzalezAP

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