Boneheaded, Allegedly Corrupt College Ref Uses “I Was Joking” Defense

Hilarious gag may have cost Arizona a game.

Public enemy number one. Stephen Dunn / Getty Images

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CBS Sports reported last night that Ed Rush, a former NBA ref who is now the supervisor of officials for the Pac-12 conference, offered $5,000 or a trip to Cancun to anyone who called a technical foul on Arizona coach Sean Miller, who presumably Rush does not like.

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The offer was made before the Pac-12’s conference championship tournament in Las Vegas earlier this month. And what would you know, Miller was given a technical at a critical moment in a subsequent game that his team would lose by two points to UCLA.

CBS’s source is an anonymous official, but get this: The Pac-12 conference acknowledges that Rush put the bounty on Miller’s head…but they’ve already decided it’s all good — and that Rush gets to keep his job — because he was just joking.

Put another way, Ed Rush made a “joke” that, even if it was a joke, undermined literally the only job goal that referees need to achieve: impartial judgment. This “joke,” according to CBS’s source, directly influenced the outcome of a basketball game. Not the biggest deal in the world, compared to, let’s say, the North Korean nuclear threat, but consider that THE ONLY POINT OF ED RUSH IS TO ENSURE THE IMPARTIAL JUDGMENT OF BASKETBALL GAMES.

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But hey, it’s all good, and Ed Rush can keep managing the officiating for Arizona basketball games, because hahahahaha that Ed Rush and his jokes.

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If only that excuse always worked.

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Ronald Martinez /Allsport / Getty Images

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CORRECTION: Ed T. Rush is the former NBA referee involved in the Pac-12 scandal; the former NBA referee mentioned in a lawsuit against Michael Jordan was Eddie F. Rush. An earlier version of this item confused the two. (4/2/13)

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