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June 7, 2013 at 3:56 PM

Pac-12 teams up with Mountain West on officiating

The Pac-12 and Mountain West will collaborate in a men’s basketball officiating program in which the conferences will create a pool of referees and assign them games in both leagues.

Bobby Dibler, who has served as a Coordinator of Officiating for the Mountain West for the last 14 years, will oversee the program. There’s no timetable on the length of the collaboration.

In addition the conferences will hire a deputy coordinator to support the evaluation and training functions of the program, a technology coordinator to manage the software and technology training of officials and game graders to evaluate officials.

The Pac-12 and Mountain West will also take part in training programs with the West Coast Conference, Big West Conference and Western Athletic Conference.

The fallout after an officiating scandal during the conference tournament forced Ed Rush to resign as coordinator of officials.

“We took a fresh look at it once Ed resigned,” Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said in a conference call today. “We were heading in our perspective in a good direction before the incidents that happened in Las Vegas. When it happened, when Ed Rush resigned we took a step back to evaluate. We learned some lessons through that whole process about how officiating works. … I really felt this collaboration with the Mountain West would address in very significant ways in terms of common leadership, more consistency in messaging, (which) I thought would help in accountability down the road.”

Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson approached Scott awhile back about combining their officiating programs. At the time, the Pac-12 wasn’t interested.

“It became clear that this is an idea whose time is ripe given the structure the idea of collaboration makes a lot of sense,” Scott said. “Our objective is greater accountability, greater consistency and an on-going commitment to evaluation and training in a rigorous way that also helps us develop the next generation of elite officials.”

Given their collaborative effort on officiating, it’s reasonable to assume the conferences could form partnerships in other ventures, including a non-conference scheduling agreement similar to the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

However, Thompson said those discussions are premature.

“I don’t see anything beyond what we’re talking about today,” he said. “The Pac-12 and the Mountain West institutions because of geography and history have played a lot of games through the years in a lot of sports. I don’t see that changing. What may change is something for another day to converse about, but it’s not something that Commissioner Scott and I have said OK this is this step and now let’s talk about step two. That’s not been spoken about.”

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