Pac-12, Mountain West team up on officiating
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - The Pac-12 and Mountain West conferences are teaming up to collaborate on men's and women's basketball officiating, putting longtime Mountain West coordinator Bobby Dibler in charge of the programs and managing a pool of top national and regional officials.
In announcing the officiating alliance Friday, the conferences said that the West Coast Conference, Big West Conference and Western Athletic Conference also will take part in the leagues' training programs.
"Our objective is to provide the best officiating program for our teams and student-athletes,'' Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said in a statement. "Under this new alliance, we will be better positioned to attract top lead officials, and to achieve the greatest consistency and accountability deserving of our excellent basketball programs. This alliance also allows us to further develop a rigorous training, evaluation and development program for the next generation of elite officials.''
The Pac-12's system came under intense scrutiny during the conference tournament in March at Las Vegas, where former officiating coordinator Ed Rush had offered bounties - $5,000 or a trip to Mexico - for any official who disciplined Arizona coach Sean Miller. While Rush has said he wasn't serious and was "jokingly'' trying to "lighten the mood'' in the locker room, he resigned April 4.
Scott has been eager to swiftly move on from the issue, saying, "I'm completely looking forward, not in the rearview mirror.'' He added that he intended to speak with Miller in person about the new leadership and direction of the Pac-12's officiating.
Scott fined Miller $25,000 for a rant - he was hit with a technical - during and after the Wildcats' two-point semifinal loss to UCLA in the conference tournament. The conference said Miller confronted an official on the floor, among other inappropriate actions.
Findings of an independent review by Indianapolis-based law firm Ice Miller LLP, released last weekend, supported the conference's handling of the situation this spring.
Scott called for a broad approach to improving officiating, rather than putting it all one person to coordinate.
"The Mountain West is very excited about this new venture with the Pac-12 Conference and the overall goal of improving men's basketball officiating in both leagues should be readily apparent,'' Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson said. "Bobby Dibler has decades of experience and we are confident that he will aptly build one of the best staffs in the country.''
Dibler has served the past 14 years as officiating coordinator for the Mountain West and spent 1992-98 in the same role for the WAC. Previously, he worked 11 NCAA tournaments, three Final Fours, and several NITs during a 20-year officiating career.
To assist Dibler, the conferences said they will hire a deputy coordinator "to support the evaluation and training functions of the program.'' A technology coordinator also will be put in place, along with game graders to evaluate all officials.
Dibler and his staff will hold a training clinic for all roster officials before this season - with the WCC, Big West and WAC officials also taking part and "furthering the impact of the collaboration on officiating in the western United States.''
"For our officials, this is great opportunity to improve their officiating skills, maximize their schedule and reduce travel,'' Dibler said. "I look forward to establishing a top preseason training program and outlining a clear communications process between all our officials, the conferences, and our coaches.''