Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said today that the conference-commissioned report on basketball officiating “confirmed” the findings of the Pac-12’s own internal investigation.
Speaking on a conference call to discuss various Pac-12 matters after the end of the league’s spring meetings, Scott said was “looking forward” to spending time with Arizona Wildcats coach Sean Miller but offered no specifics about plans to change Pac-12 officiating.
Miller was fined $25,000 for his postgame actions after UCLA beat Arizona in the Pac-12 Tournament semifinal on March 15, and opted to pay the fine rather than meet with Scott and now-departed officials coordinator.
“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.”
When asked how he would handle Arizona’s game in the future, or if he would keep Michael Irving (the official who Miller berated after he received a technical foul against UCLA), Scott responded this way:
“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 with confirmed the findings of our internal investigation. (Also), Ed Rush resigned so we’ll have new leadership and structural elements.”
The 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.
I asked Scott if those were the types of changes he was talking about or if they involved other officiating matters. Here’s what he said:
“The report speaks for itself. Talking about the program as we move forward, with new leadership and new communication protocol, we’re completely looking forward and not in the review mirror.”
I also asked Scott if he had a reaction to Miller’s postgame comment that the Pac-12 was a “cheating” conference (an issue that the report expressed concern about).
“I’m not going to comment further,” Scott said. “The report speaks for itself. It was a very comprehensive independent objective analysis of the facts and there’s nothing else I want to add to it.”
Scott was later asked by the Seattle Times' Bud Withers about the report’s assertion that there were two groups of officials -- one that found Rush difficult to work under and another who were “his boys” – and whether he needed to rectify that.
“I found the report very helpful -- again it confirmed the findings of the investigation … I wanted to make sure we had the benefit of that before we made a decision about the structure (of the officiating program) going forward,” Scott said. It helped “persnnnel matters are associated with that, the type of leaders that we need moving forward,, and how to improve the program. So without getting too specific, the factors (pointed out about Rush) are a lot of what our internal review had brought to light. The report gave some more detail and was very very helpful to me about areas we can improve.”
Scott said he expected he would have “some news” on new basketball officiating leadership in the next couple of weeks. He said the conference is thinking “much more broadly” than about just hiring an individual to replace Rush.
Withers says Miller also didn't come off well in the report.
FWIW, Scott also said on the call that "at this point in time I don’t have any reason to be optimistic about" negotiations with DirecTV.