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Joking or not, Pac-12 coordinator of officials Ed Rush must be fired

So what happens when a questionable call goes against Arizona next season?

Everybody will reference this story, that's what.

And what happens when a questionable call goes Arizona's way next season?

Everybody will reference this story, that's what.

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This story -- the one my colleague Jeff Goodman filed Monday that alleges Pac-12 coordinator of officials Ed Rush offered referees $5,000 or a trip to Cancun in exchange for a technical foul or ejection directed at Arizona's Sean Miller -- will forever shape the way fans view each call made in an Arizona game, good or bad. If a call goes against Arizona, it'll be because officials have been instructed to make Miller's life difficult. If a call goes Arizona's way, it'll be because officials are overcompensating to ensure nobody thinks they're out to get Miller. There's no in-between. That's what this story created.

So why would Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott stand behind Rush?

That's the most baffling aspect of this story.

It's troubling but not surprising that everything with officials might not be on the up-and-up considering we all know what Tim Donaghy put the NBA through. But the idea that the Pac-12 could back Rush under these circumstances is confusing and nonsensical.

"We have concluded that while Rush made inappropriate comments that he now regrets during internal meetings that referenced rewards, he made the comments in jest and the officials in the room realized they were not serious offers," Scott told CBSSports.com.

To which I say, so what?

It doesn't really matter whether Rush was serious or joking when he said what he said. All that matters is that he said what he said, and that college basketball fans now know he said what he said. Consequently, that's the scope through which everything will be viewed going forward, and it's precisely why it's ridiculous for the Pac-12 to go forward with Rush.

The league is just begging for problems.

Why do that?

I've met Larry Scott and recognize him as one of the smartest people working in college athletics. What he's done for the Pac-12 (remember, it used to be the Pac-10) has been amazing, and he, more than most conference commissioners, seems to understand marketing and the importance of public relations, which is why I can't for the life of me figure out how he doesn't recognize what keeping Rush will create for his league.

My guess?

Scott will recognize it in time -- before the start of next season.

If so, I suppose, that'll be good enough.

But if not, I promise, this will be a story revisited time and time again.

Gary Parrish is a senior college basketball columnist for CBSSports.com and college basketball insider for the CBS Sports Network. The Mississippi native also hosts an award-winning radio show in Memphis. He lives in that area with his wife, two sons and two dogs.
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