The Pac-12 has been so provincial and so soft for so long that it was inevitable a coach like Arizona’s Sean Miller would pay for the sins of his predecessors.
Miller will pay for the behavior of former UCLA basketball coach Steve Lavin, who in 2001 said Pac-10 referee Craig Grismore “is the worst official in the country” and made throat-cutting gestures toward Grismore during a UCLA-Oregon State game.
Lavin’s punishment? A toothless probation with no games missed or fine assessed.
Miller will pay for eight years of sideline theatrics and referee baiting by former Arizona football coach Mike Stoops, who was never reprimanded or punished by the league, and by those such as Stanford’s irascible Jim Harbaugh, who never received anything more than a wrist slap for acting like a madman.
Miller will pay for UCLA coach Ben Howland’s tantrum in Saturday’s Pac-12 title game, when he became so steamed that he tore off his jacket and threw it into the bleachers. (An ESPN technician measured Howland’s jacket-toss at 15 feet 2 inches.)
Finally, after decades of anything goes on the sidelines — after Cal coach Mike Montgomery was merely reprimanded for shoving one of his players last month — the Pac-12 has made a stance.
It fined Miller $25,000, an unprecedented figure industry-wide, for his critical reactions to referees and to a Pac-12 functionary after Friday’s loss to UCLA.
Read more in Tuesday's Arizona Daily Star.