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Arizona basketball: Pac-12 head expects Miller, conference to have good relations

2013-06-04T00:00:00Z 2013-06-07T20:45:15Z Arizona basketball: Pac-12 head expects Miller, conference to have good relationsBruce Pascoe Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
June 04, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said he has "no question or concern" about the conference's future relationship with Arizona Wildcats coach Sean Miller now that a league-commissioned report about basketball officiating has concluded.

On a teleconference call with reporters to discuss various Pac-12 issues Monday, Scott said there will be changes in the conference's basketball officiating structure but declined to specify them. The conference is seeking new leadership with officials coordinator Ed Rush having resigned in April after the conference said he improperly tried to prod officials into more closely monitoring Miller during the Pac-12 Tournament in March.

The report by Ice Miller LLP was issued to Pac-12 school presidents over the weekend detailing the Rush allegations as well as Miller's postgame conduct following a March 15 semifinal loss to UCLA.

Miller was found to have yelled multiple profanities at official Michael Irving immediately after the UCLA game and yelled more profanities in view of a Pac-12 Networks staffer in an MGM Grand Garden Arena hallway. Among the comments Miller made in earshot of the staffer (Miller said he did not know a staffer was present) was that the Pac-12 was a "cheating" conference.

The report expressed concern that Miller used the term, but Scott declined to comment on his reaction.

"The report speaks for itself," Scott said. "It was a very comprehensive independent objective analysis of the facts, and there's nothing else I want to add to it."

Scott said the report "confirmed" the findings of the Pac-12's own internal investigation, which found that Rush's comments were inappropriate but not intended to be taken seriously, and that the $25,000 fine handed Miller for his conduct after the UCLA game was justified.

Miller opted to pay the fine rather than meet with Scott and Rush, and declined to comment during a news conference last month. Miller also declined comment through a UA spokesman Monday.

However, Scott expressed optimism Monday that the relationship can be repaired.

"I'm looking forward to spending time with Sean before the season and making sure he has a chance to engage with the new leadership with our new basketball officiating program once we have that established," Scott said. "I have no question or concern about the great relations we're going to have going forward."

Arizona athletic director Greg Byrne also declined comment, issuing only a brief statement in which he said he and Miller "remain hopeful that this report will lead to improvements in our officiating program."

When asked how UA games would be handled in the future and whether Irving would work any of them, Scott declined to be specific.

"I'm looking forward to having great relations with coaches, athletic administrators … it was one of the reasons why I thought it was so important that the independent review was commissioned by the executive committee," Scott said. "The relationship with our schools and coaches is of utmost importance.

"By having an independent review, it was my hope and expectation that it allows everyone to turn the chapter and put the issues that happened in Las Vegas behind us, and allows us to start fresh with two critical components - an independent review about what happened that confirmed the findings of our internal investigation. (Also), Ed Rush resigned so we'll have new leadership and structural elements."

The Ice Miller report said the Pac-12 could have given Miller an opportunity to respond before he was fined and given him more than an hour to decide whether he would pay it or face alternative sanctions. Scott said there would be changes in "communication protocol" but declined to say if a different disciplinary structure was in order.

"The report speaks for itself," he said, when asked about the Ice Miller suggestions. "Talking about the program as we move forward, with new leadership and new communication protocol, we're completely looking forward and not in the rear-view mirror."

On StarNet: View the full Pac-12 tournament report at: azstarnet.com/pdf

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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