CHICAGO - Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said Tuesday there was nothing unethical nor any "breach of integrity" when officials coordinator Ed Rush asked officials to more critically watch Arizona's Sean Miller and other coaches during the Pac-12 tournament.
However, Scott also said during interviews with ESPN Radio and the Pac-12 Networks that Rush's future would be determined after the conference holds its annual reviews with coaches, athletic directors and officials. Rush and the officials work on year-to-year contracts.
"We do a 360-degree review of the (officiating) program - talk to the coaches, talk to the athletic directors and talk to the officials," Scott told ESPN. After that "we're going to weigh what's been the impact of this on Ed's ability to continue, and we will make a decision."
UA athletic director Greg Byrne did not respond to a message Tuesday asking what he would tell Scott; he also declined comment Monday after CBSSports.com first broke the story.
Scott, who was unavailable for comment to the Star, told ESPN Radio that he launched an investigation headed by the conference's director of enforcement after learning of the allegations March 17. That was the same day Miller was fined $25,000 for outbursts following the March 15 Arizona-UCLA game in the Pac-12 tournament semifinals.
Scott told ESPN Radio that the conference spoke with all the officials involved in meetings with Rush on March 14 and 15. The probe found that Rush was trying to prod officials to better corral the emotions of the game and keep coaches in the coaching box.
"What we found was that Ed Rush was being very hard on the officials because he didn't think they were doing the job of containing the coaches; the coaches' decorum was getting out of control," Scott told ESPN.
Rush was "not solely focused on Coach Miller but on several coaches," Scott said. "That started a banter and discussion about 'What do I have to do to get you guys to enforce the rules? … Do I gotta give you a trip or do I gotta give you money?'
"Our investigators asked very pointed questions, and it was clear that no one thought there was a real bounty, that Ed was making a point to emphasize, to try to shock them into being more firm in their approach."
Scott told The Associated Press that "I didn't view that as a fireable offense."
At the same time, Scott said Rush's methods were out of bounds.
"It was completely inappropriate to joke about a topic like this," Scott told ESPN. "If there's any chance to be misunderstood, you just don't go there. You don't leave that open for interpretation. There's so much scrutiny around this. … It's very, very poor judgment."
Scott said Miller has already paid his $25,000 fine, which Scott maintained was for a separate issue involving Miller's confrontation with an official and a subsequent incident with a conference staffer after the UCLA-UA game.
Miller had been called for a late-game technical foul in a two-point loss to UCLA for arguing a turnover call on UA's Mark Lyons. Miller believed a UCLA player jabbed at the ball, making the turnover call incorrect.
Miller said repeatedly during his postgame news conference that he did not swear and noted only that a UCLA player "touched the ball" when he was given the technical foul. But Scott said Miller received the technical foul for stepping out of the coaches' box after he had been warned twice about it.
Scott said Miller's fine was for verbal abuse after the game.
"One was going out on court, getting in the grill of the official, which you don't do after a game in front of the crowd," Scott said on ESPN Radio. "Secondly in the hallway, an innocent staff person standing there, he laced into, ripped into.
"You are role model, a leader of student athletes, you represent your university. We hold these coaches to high standards of behavior. These things Coach (Miller) had quietly been warned about early in the season. There is a high threshold for a coach to be fined."
Miller and Byrne have not commented on Miller's fine or the Pac-12's investigation; Byrne has indicated in statements and via Twitter only that he is "aware" of them.