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Originally published Tuesday, April 9, 2013 at 4:58 PM

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Pac-12 will conduct independent review of officiating controversy

The Pac-12 will investigate events at the conference's men's basketball tournament last month. Ed Rush, who recently resigned as the Pac-12's coordinator of officiating, offered officials a "bounty" for a technical foul called on Arizona coach Sean Miller.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Hey Bud, I'm calling a foul on this one! I don't know your motivation but maybe you... MORE

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The Pac-12 Conference isn't letting last week's controversy involving former coordinator of men's basketball officiating Ed Rush die quietly.

Tuesday, it announced it would pursue an independent review of the events at the Pac-12 tournament last month, when Rush, annoyed at what he considered a lack of decorum on the bench by coaches in the league, put a "bounty" on Arizona coach Sean Miller.

Rush offered $5,000 or an all-expenses-paid trip to the official who would assess a technical foul on Miller. That happened in the Pac-12 semifinals. But after word spread of Rush's comments — reported to have been made on two occasions — the Pac-12 found he made them "in jest." Nevertheless, Rush resigned last week.

Pac-12 CEO group chair Ed Ray, the president at Oregon State, and commissioner Larry Scott made the latest joint announcement. In a statement, Ray said the review "is important to maintain the confidence of our members, and of the public, in the integrity of our competition."

The Pac-12 executive committee — comprised of Ray, Washington State president Elson Floyd and UCLA chancellor Gene Block — will determine the makeup of the outside group doing the review. Ray says it should provide greater details of the tournament events, but also a deeper look at the league's officiating program. Veteran official Dick Cartmell of the Tri-Cities told The Seattle Times last week he had turned in his resignation due to "personal differences with the direction of the officiating program."

In the announcement, Scott referred to "conflicting media reports" about the Rush incident. While the league concluded that officials who heard Rush didn't take the offer seriously, a matter likely to be addressed by the review is whether officials felt undue pressure to discipline Miller.

Late in UCLA's 66-64 victory over Arizona, Miller was assessed his first technical in more than a year. He was subsequently fined $25,000 for confronting an official afterward, and for his dialogue with a Pac-12 staffer in a hallway after the game.

Bud Withers: 206-464-8281 or bwithers@seattletimes.com

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