Bobby Dibler, Pac-12 Officiating Coordinator, May We Never Hear From You Again

Posted by Adam Butler on October 18th, 2013

Adam Butler of Pachoops.com (@pachoopsab) joins us as a guest columnist for the second straight year. He took in the Pac-12 Media Day on Thursday.

He took to the stage rather unassumingly and consequently didn’t look too many people directly in the eye. I don’t believe it was out of discourtesy so much as what appeared to be an effort to answer the question to the room. And beyond. After all, Bobby Dibler has a lot to answer. He enters his tenure as the Pac-12’s Officiating Coordinator in the wake of one of the more bizarre, if not controversial, stripes situations of recent memory. But as Dibler sees it, that is in the past. He didn’t spend much time on the matter and, as he puts it, “I’m a guy that lives life going forward.” And so forward we will go; with 28 rules changes and a brand new officiating crew. A “cutting edge” alliance as Larry Scott would have us see it – consistent with the mission of a cutting edge conference.

Pac-12 Basketball Officials Had Their Day In the Spotlight on Thursday; May They Never Have Another One (USATSI)

Pac-12 Basketball Officials Had Their Day In the Spotlight on Thursday; May They Never Have Another One (USATSI)

Because when the most glaring sight into your conference isn’t surrounding tournament seeds, but rather the striped gentlemen and trips to Cancun, you have an issue. It was the first question asked. This was likely Bobby Dibler’s most public appearance and should be his last. I don’t want to see him address the media again. You don’t want to see him address the media again. He doesn’t want to address the media again. Those sentiments combined and the feeling is, with the proposed officiating improvements, we can move forward with an agenda where referees are neither seen nor heard; their prescribed place and their preferred place. Yet today Dibler was heard and I appreciated the way he handled it. He repeatedly called this “our game.” He said, “Anyone that intrudes on the integrity of our game… it bothers me.” Last spring’s goings-on bugged Dibler and he’s here to fix it. How?

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Pac-12 M5: 10.14.13 Edition

Posted by Andrew Murawa on October 14th, 2013

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  1. As we ease back into college basketball again, we’re back to Morning Fives every weekday from here until the end of the season. And we picked a good day to start these back up, because there is plenty of news to run down. Since the main preseason storyline is Arizona as the heavy favorite to win the league, we might as well start out with them, as the Wildcats had their annual Red-Blue Game on Saturday, an intrasquad scrimmage that serves as the introduction of the team to the supportive McKale Center crowd. Stud freshman Aaron Gordon put on quite a show, winning the dunk contest and backing that up with 13 points and 12 boards in the scrimmage. His classmate Rondae Hollis-Jefferson also looked good in his first appearance, pouring in 18 points on just 12 shots, and sophomore center Kaleb Tarczewski showed improvement, notching 18 points of his own.
  2. The day before Arizona’s showcase, its in-state rival had its own intrasquad scrimmage up the road, as Arizona State got its season underway. Jahii Carson is always going to be the showcase player on this team, and he was as good as usual, scoring 22 points and showing an improved jumper. But the big story came from newcomer Shaquielle McKissic, who poured in 33 points and made a big impression in his first appearance with the Sun Devils. He showed an immediate rapport with Carson on the fast break, displayed an ability to knock down the three, and impressed defensively, forcing turnovers that led to breaks. In the competition to earn some of the minutes vacated by departing senior Carrick Felix, McKissic looks to be out in front.
  3. The news wasn’t as positive everywhere around the conference this weekend, as on Friday Washington State announced that point guard Danny Lawhorn, a junior college transfer expected to slide right into the lead guard role, had left the school. Lawhorn had already been suspended two weeks ago, not that it matters at this point. Minus Lawhorn, it looks like junior Royce Wooldridge, who had hoped to move back off the ball after he helped fill in at the one last year, will once again need to contribute at the point, while DaVonte Lacy (another guy better suited to playing the two) and freshman point Ike Oroegbu also in the mix.
  4. Minus Lawhorn, head coach Ken Bone’s chances of keeping his job inched down a little, and, as Pachoops’ Adam Butler noted, there are quite a few coaches around the league whose jobs may be in trouble. A main part of the reason why those coaches may be looking for work in the near future is their inability to keep local recruits at home. Butler points to four top-75 2014 recruits from the West Coast who have already committed to play basketball in places other than Pac-12 institutions. While the conference as a whole may be on a bit of an upswing, the failure to lock up your own state’s recruits is never a good sign of future prosperity.
  5. Lastly, way back at the end of last year, the big off-the-court story was Pac-12 coordinator of officials Ed Rush putting out a bounty – whether in jest or not – on Arizona head coach Sean Miller, a “joke” that was made seriously unfunny (well, at least Miller’s post-game comments were funny – how long has it been since you’ve watched the “He Touched the Ball” clip?) after Miller got run in suspicious fashion immediately thereafter. The conference’s immediate response (or lack thereof) to the situation was unfulfilling. But, some steps were made over the offseason to improve the officiating situation in the conference, as the Pac-12 has entered into a partnership with the Mountain West to oversee its officiating, and hired Bobby Dibler as the new coordinator of officials. One of Dibler’s first tasks is to make sure that Miller gets treated as fairly as every other coach in the conference.
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Morning Five: The Morning Of Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on April 8th, 2013

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  1. If you though the Rutgers fiasco was  nearing an end you would be wrong. Honestly, we could do an entire Morning Five just on every story that is going on with this case. On Friday, Tim Pernetti‘s letter of resignation was posted on the school’s official site and outside of the usual apology Pernetti claims that he tried to fire Mike Rice, but was stopped by the school. Obviously the school is refuting that, but as The New York Times illustrates the decision on Rice involved more than just Pernetti. Meanwhile, the people back at Robert Morris, Rice’s former employer, will reportedly look into his treatment of players during his time there as new allegations come out that Rice exhibited similar behavior while at Robert Morris. As for the next coach at Rutgers that remains up in the air as Danny Hurley, who was identified as a favorite for the job, appears to be staying at Rhode Island.  The current rumor is that Rutgers is targeting Ben Howland (they might want to read George Dohrmann’s article on Howland’s time at UCLA first) and Howland is interested. Oh, and Eric Murdock (the “good guy” in the entire mess)? He is being investigated by the FBI for possible attempts to extort Rutgers.
  2. We would not be shocked if several players transferred from Rutgers in light of what has come to light (and even more what has not been revealed), but we are at a loss for what is going on at Tulane where four players including the team’s top two scorers were granted transfers last week and two more are in the process of doing so. Now the team is in flux and the administration has to be asking serious questions about what is going on with the program. Losing four players is bad enough, but now the program must enter damage control mode to prevent other players from transferring and perhaps more importantly keep recruits interested in coming there. The strange thing about this is that the team had a decent season going 20-15 overall and we haven’t heard any rumblings of improper conduct at the school. Still when half of a team transfers you begin to ask questions.
  3. The other big off-court story of last week was the accusation against Ed Rush that he offered officials incentives to call a technical foul on Arizona coach Sean Miller. As we noted in Friday’s Morning Five, Rush stepped down from his post and on Saturday he tried to explain his actions (also available as the full transcript). Rush’s answers are about what you would expect from somebody who said something really dumb whether or not it was a joke. In the end Rush’s problem probably was not the joke, it was his reputation for targeting certain players and teams that made his incentive/joke such a hot button topic.
  4. It may not be quite as nasty as the Rutgers story, which is much more fresh, but the fight between Miami and the NCAA is one of the nastier disagreements between the NCAA and a member institution that we can remember. On Friday, The Miami Herald released Miami’s request to the NCAA asking that it drop the case against the school based on a number of procedural errors (cover letter and full request here). The NCAA responded with its own 42-page letter to Miami saying that Miami is attempting to “deflect attention from the significant allegations that remain in the case”. This may be true, but the NCAA has screwed this case up so much that those allegations/acts are overshadowed by the incompetence of the governing body. The NCAA likes to pretend it has legal authority compelling individuals to testify, but doesn’t want the responsibility of acting like anything more than a kangaroo court.
  5. The NCAA has been taking a lot of criticism from almost every angle, but as Dan Wetzel points out they hit a home run with their idea to bring the Division II and III Championship games to the Final Four. We have seen several amazing finishes over the years from those games, but very few of them live and never in person as the events tend to get relatively few fans as they try to compete with the Division I Championship for fans and that will clearly never work if they are looking for big numbers. So this year the NCAA decided to bring the fans to those games and as an added bonus made the tickets free. With the games being played on the Sunday between the Final Four game days it should continue to bring in quite a few fans exposing them to players and programs that they otherwise would never have seen play in person.
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Morning Five: 04.05.13 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on April 5th, 2013

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  1. If you need a timeline for how the whole Mike Rice fiasco went down Don Van Natta Jr. has a excellent story on it and honestly every side of it seems dirty. In addition to the allegation that Eric Murdoch demanded nearly $1 million–nearly 14 times his annual salary–for his termination after missing a camp hosted by Rice the article also points out that Rutgers Athletic Director Tim Pernetti was likely working out the details on Rutgers move to the Big Ten when the video evidence came across his desk, which probably played a role in his light punishment of Rice at the time. We are sure that more heads will roll as this story unfolds with the most recent one being assistant coach Jimmy Martelli–son of St. Joseph’s coach Phil Martelli, who had his own off-court issues with a former player (see the Todd O’Brien saga)–who resigned for what has been described as similar behavior. Finally, as if you needed any more reason to shake your head at how Rutgers handled this situation Rice will receive a $100,000 parting gift/bonus for having completed the 2012-13 season, which he would not have received if he had been fired when the Pernetti first saw the now infamous tape.
  2. We are not quite sure what to make of Mark Emmert‘s bizarre press conference yesterday ["full" edited transcript here] other that perhaps he was trying to show everybody that incompetence and egoism is not just limited to the administrations of the member institutions, but is also present within their governing body. At this point we do not understand the motivation for the NCAA to keep someone who has presided over repeated failures to even finish what should have been easy cases and managed to act so rashly that many people feel that they were too hard on a school that covered up years of ongoing pedophilia. Replacing Emmert will not fix all of the NCAA’s problems, but it would be a nice place to start.
  3. It took the Pac-12 a little longer than Rutgers to come to its senses after being publicly outed, but Pac-12 Coordinator of Men’s Basketball Officiating Ed Rush resigned yesterday in response to reports that he offered gifts to officials if they would give Arizona coach Sean Miller a technical foul in a game that they did call a questionable technical foul (Miller’s only one of the season) that may have changed the outcome of the game. As we pointed out earlier in the week there was no way that Rush could keep his job and his resignation is nothing more than the conference offering him a way to save face. The problem for the conference is that this will remain an issue as fans, coaches, and players will continue to believe that some officials have a personal vendetta against them and now they have some evidence that it does happen.
  4. This weekend when the announcers try to sell you on some heartwarming story about a family having to pay their way to watch their son play in the Final Four you can soak it up, but remember that it might not be true. Since 1999 the NCAA has had a Division I Student Assistance Fund that allows schools to “assist student-athletes with special financial needs” that are supposed to be academic, but can also be used for clothing and last year Ohio State and Kentucky used it to help bring the families of players to the Final Four. During the 2010-11 academic/athletic year, the NCAA reports that it paid out $66.1 million. As the article points out these funds have been used for a variety of sometimes strange things, but perhaps the more surprising thing is that many families do not know about it and many schools do not use it to help out the families and players (ok, maybe the last part is not that surprising).
  5. Even if you are not a fan of advanced metrics you should be able to appreciate Shane Ryan’s in-depth piece analyzing how many key stats were created and the story behind the individuals who helped create them. Before we read this piece we had no idea how the fragmented recording statistics had been as recently as the Wooden era and should raise questions about any stats that you hear about that predate “The World’s Greatest Stats Crew”. We also wonder if there was nearly as much opposition to the way that they recorded statistics as we see from today’s old guard towards new advanced metrics.
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Fire Ed Rush. Yesterday.

Posted by AMurawa on April 2nd, 2013

It may be the most important story to come out of the Pac-12 this season. More than any game that was played, more than any coach’s hiring or firing, more than the Shabazz Muhammad recruitment or eligibility saga. Because this story gets to the heart of athletics, of fairness, of a level playing field – a conference administrator, singling out a coach for rough treatment. The administrator in question is Ed Rush, former NBA referee and current Pac-12 head of officials, and the head coach in question is Arizona’s Sean Miller. Here’s the heart of the story, as reported by Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com:

Rush, according to a source within the Pac-12 officiating group, told a group of referees on the Thursday of the Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas that he would give them $5,000 or a trip to Cancun if they either “rang him up” or “ran him,” meaning hit Miller with a technical or toss him out of the game. Rush then reiterated during a Friday morning meeting, according to one referee in attendance, that officials should take similar action against Miller if he did anything on Friday in the Pac-12 semifinals against UCLA.

That alone is bad enough. The fact that Miller did, in fact, get rung up on the Friday of that tournament, and the fact that Miller getting rung up potentially cost his team a win makes this story even worse. But what comes next, the response from Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott, makes this whole thing despicable. Because Scott wrote the whole thing off as a laugh, trying to sweep it under the rug as an inside joke. Here’s Scott’s statement:

After Earning A Lot Of Fans Around The Conference, Commissioner Larry Scott Made His First Major Mistake In His Handling Of The Ed Rush Story

After Earning A Lot Of Fans Around The Conference, Commissioner Larry Scott Made His First Major Mistake In His Handling Of The Ed Rush Story

Based on the review, 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. Following our review, we have discussed the matter with Rush, taken steps to ensure it does not happen again, and communicated our findings to all of our officials.

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