Arizona basketball: Rift between Miller, Pac-12 began in Jan.

2013-04-22T00:00:00Z 2014-08-01T11:32:52Z Arizona basketball: Rift between Miller, Pac-12 began in Jan.Bruce Pascoe Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
April 22, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Arizona athletic director Greg Byrne and Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott declined comment Sunday after a USA Today report further detailed tension over the controversy involving Ed Rush and Sean Miller.

Rush resigned as the Pac-12's officials coordinator on April 4 after saying he jokingly offered his officials money or travel if they issued a technical foul on or ejected the UA coach during the Pac-12 tournament, while Byrne and Scott appeared to battle behind the scenes.

According to documents obtained by USA Today, the conflict began in January, when Scott wrote a letter of reprimand to Miller for confronting an official after UA's Jan. 10 loss at Oregon and warned that Miller would face "enhanced penalties" in any further incidents.

After UA lost 74-69 at UCLA on March 2, Miller asked for a review of the officiating. Byrne later wrote that Rush's response to that request was "condescending" and that he didn't have confidence that Rush would constructively listen to UA's concerns in the future.

The Pac-12 has said that Rush used inappropriate tactics to prod his officials into monitoring coaches more closely before UA played UCLA on March 15 in the Pac-12 tournament. Miller was assessed a technical, which resulted in two late free throws during UCLA's 66-64 win.

After the game, Scott said, Miller confronted an official and later "ripped into" a Pac-12 official in a hallway at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. Scott fined Miller $25,000 for those actions, and USA Today reported that Byrne requested a refund of Miller's fine.

Scott agreed to waive the fine if Miller apologized to the staffer he verbally attacked, met with Scott and Rush by the end of April, and if UA developed a plan to "work with coach Miller on his conduct."

Miller apologized to the staffer but didn't believe a meeting with Rush and Scott was "in my best interest," according to USA Today.

In a March 26 memo obtained by the newspaper, Scott said Miller had not shown "any signs of contrition," and said he was troubled by an impression that Byrne condoned Miller's behavior.

Byrne forwarded the memo to UA president Ann Weaver Hart, who responded to Byrne by writing: "We need to let this go now. You did your best."

While Byrne declined to comment Sunday, he referenced the events on Twitter when he said, "President Hart has been extremely supportive."

Scott told the Star via text message that he would not comment further while the Pac-12 is conducting an independent review, which is expected to be completed before a conference board meeting in June.

Rush, who has questioned both a turnover call and a technical foul that preceded Miller's postgame behavior on March 15, said earlier this month that he unsuccessfully tried to reach the UA coach.

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Pac-12 basketball standings

  Conference Overall
Utah 6 1 0 0.857 16 3 0 0.842
Arizona 6 1 0 0.857 18 2 0 0.900
Stanford 5 2 0 0.714 14 5 0 0.737
Oregon State 5 2 0 0.714 13 5 0 0.722
Oregon 4 3 0 0.571 14 6 0 0.700
UCLA 3 4 0 0.429 11 9 0 0.550
Colorado 3 4 0 0.429 10 8 0 0.556
Washington 3 4 0 0.429 14 5 0 0.737
Washington State 3 4 0 0.429 9 10 0 0.474
Arizona State 2 5 0 0.286 11 10 0 0.524
California 1 6 0 0.143 11 9 0 0.550
USC 1 6 0 0.143 9 10 0 0.474

AP Top 25

Pac-12 basketball schedule

Teams Date Time
USC at
Oregon State
1/24 55-59
Washington State at
1/24 58-90
Arizona State at
1/24 70-89
Washington at
1/25 56-77
Oregon State at
Arizona State
1/28 6:00 pm
Oregon at
1/28 8:00 pm
Stanford at
1/28 9:00 pm
Colorado at
1/29 7:30 pm
Utah at
1/29 8:00 pm
California at
Washington State
1/29 9:00 pm
Oregon at
Arizona State
1/30 6:00 pm
Oregon State at
1/30 8:00 pm
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