UA HOOPS

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.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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