Now, let me make it very clear. I love most of what commish Larry Scott has done for the Pac-12 so far. We lost so much money and potential in every regard during the 25+ years we suffered at the helm of his lazy, bureaucratic, incompetent predecessor Tom Hansen. Larry came in and immediately put the Pac-12 back into the limelight with the television rights deals.
Here is the 'but.' His handling of the Ed Rush, head of Pac-12 refs, debacle is a case study in how NOT to deal with the significant issue of integrity in sports and officiating.
1. It is now being reported by Andy Katz, that Larry Scott, during his investigation, did NOT interview the Pac-12 conference tournament officiating crew himself to find out what really happened. He sent his lieutenants instead. Now, this could be viewed as standard operating procedure, and I get that. But when this story broke it was big news everywhere, for obvious reasons. The integrity of the Pac-12 was at stake from the beginning and the public was not only watching, they had bright lights on the story. That alone necessitated action from the top. Larry Scott should have known he not only had to handle this properly and transparently given the weight of the issues involved, but also because everyone would be watching. He didn't do that. Mistake.
2. Larry Scott's office issued a press release after this "investigation" that tried to sweep this issue under the rug, essentially. Nothing to see here. We're good. Forget the underlying issue for a moment, when that many people are watching this story, when it is making headlines, you don't treat it so cavalierly and believe that it will all go away simply because you said so. Larry Scott should have gotten in front of the cameras himself to show that he is on top of this and that the Pac-12 takes this issue seriously. He did not. Mistake.
3. Something is rotten in Denmark. Of course, had Larry Scott got in front of the cameras and not had full information, he would have looked worse. One more reason why he should have interviewed the officiating staff himself. Larry Scott must not have gotten all the information we now know from his lieutenants. At least we hope so. But reporters obviously were able to get that information by talking to, who else, the officiating crew! Now we know from several reports that many officials who were the recipients of Ed Rush's "joking" threats are saying they did not think it was a joke at all, and further, Ed Rush in his first year as head of officials intimidated his officiating crew such that all were in fear of even mentioning anything to anyone about this. Did Larry Scott's lieutenants get this information during their "investigation?" Or did they get it and then water it down in their debriefing meeting with Scott? Either way, they messed up and now their boss has egg on his face. Larry Scott now knows this because everyone does. He should get in front of the cameras and explain it all, including stating that he 1. should have conducted the investigation himself, 2. his lieutenants got the information wrong on such an important issue and they have had a reprimand placed in their HR file. The reason being that he wants to send the message to his own organization, to the league, the public and the world of college athletics, that the Pac-12 will endeavor to get things right and to do their work transparently and with integrity. He should also add that he retains confidence in his employees ability to do their jobs (throw them a bone while laying down the law). And 3. He should state that he will take a more integral role in such efforts should they arise again so that this situation does not repeat itself Larry Scott did not do anything of these things. Mistake.
As I said, I think Larry Scott has done great things and I think he still will. I still have great faith in him. But he blew this and blew an amazing opportunity to put the Pac-12 on a higher plane in terms of integrity and transparency. He missed that opportunity, but he can still make up for it and hold that press conference. He can still do the right thing.