The Atlanta Sport Report


The Atlanta Sport Report gives insightful analysis and provacative commentary on sport topics that concern sport fans in Atlanta and throughout the sporting world.

A trip to Cancun
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A trip to Cancun

A distinguished former NBA referee, Ed Rush, who was the PAC 12 Coordinator of Officials just resigned. Rush’s resignation comes after reports of a challenge to his officials to place a technical on Arizona Head Coach Sean Miller and the charge came with an incentive of $5,000.00 or a trip to Cancun. The challenge was repeated within a span of 24 hours. 

As chance would happen during the conference tournament Coach Miller was given a technical in a game versus UCLA. Arizona lost the game 66-64. At the time of the technical the comments Rush made were not published but Miller and many observers thought the call by the referee was in error. Miller’s response did not qualify as an action that would require a technical. In fact, all he said was, “he touched the ball, he touched the ball, he touched the ball”, referring to the action by the defender to nullify the refs’ call of a double dribble. Replay of the call verifies the coach was correct. 

To Coach Miller’s credit he had not received a technical the entire year. During his press conference he acknowledged as much and reiterated the play as he and many others saw it. Miller was reprimanded by the PAC 12 and fined $25,000.00. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. 

Now with all of the information that has surfaced the PAC 12 should withdraw their reprimand and fine. After that an investigation should begin to restore the integrity of the league. There are questions that need to be answered. Why did Rush feel the need to have a technical called on Miller? Are there any other circumstances in which a bounty was given or promised? How many games have been influenced by referees intentionally making incorrect calls? Is the PAC 12 exclusive in this type of behavior? 

In so many instances administrators have chosen rather to cover up as oppose to clearing up, cleaning up and correcting. 

From Kevin Ward to Mike Rice  

What a week for college sports! From the upsets in the NCAAs to Louisville’s Kevin Ward’s horrific bone breakage in his leg to the video of Rutgers Basketball coach Mike Rice throwing balls, and physically and verbally abusing his players in practice, it was a week to remember. Louisville and Ward will be remembered for their camaraderie and how much they truly cared for each other. Whereas Rutgers will be remembered for how little they care about the student-athlete and how much they care about protecting the authority figures of the school. 

The Rutgers situation is so disturbing on so many levels. Coach Rice’s outbreak was not an isolated incident, according to reports it had been going on for two years. During that time period, a couple of players transferred to other schools. When the Athletic Director, Tim Pernetti was shown the incriminating evidence of the coach’s actions he chose to give a small suspension, a monetary fine and anger management classes. The AD’s actions were so insensitive to the plight of the players it bordered on a cover-up for a coach who by any sane account should be dismissed. The AD later said the decision not to fire the coach was made with full knowledge and agreement of the board. 

When the suspension, fine and classes were levied on the coach of the second most popular sport at the school, the president of the school, Robert Barchi either chose not to view the evidence or thought it was not worthy of anything more than the penalties given by the AD. In either case it was a negligence of duty. In lieu of the Penn State case all authority figures of learning should be on high alert for scandal.  

Initially, the coach was not dismissed but after the airing of the video he was fired within a day. Now, the AD has resigned basically taking one for his alma mater and the President of the school is subject for termination. If the president would be asked to resign it would not come as a big surprise because his decision making in this particular instance was extremely flawed. If Rutgers decides to keep him the school risk losing its status in the community and nationally as an institution that puts its most valuable asset, the students first. 

The coach’s blatant abuse of authority was akin to scenarios described in battered women syndrome and we are now seeing the effects of blind obedience shown in pledging situations. The abused in all of these situations find themselves submitting to the authoritative person. Sometimes it is out of fear, sometimes it is out of commitment, sometimes it is out of just embarrassment of not knowing what to do when they are humiliated, but whatever the reason those people are victims of the worse kind of intimidation. Fortunately, this situation was on tape, how many more similar situations are not on tape and how many administrators have ignored this kind of abuse in favor of the appearance of the school and career of an abuser?