Following a national trend, the Pac-12 and Mountain West conferences announced Friday an alliance for training and scheduling of basketball officials.
Three other Western conferences — the West Coast, Western Athletic and Big West— will take part in the training phase of the initiative.
Larry Scott, commissioner of the Pac-12, conceded that the recent controversy and subsequent resignation of Ed Rush as officials coordinator hastened the possibility of the agreement.
“Absolutely,” Scott said on a joint teleconference with MWC commissioner Craig Thompson. “Knowing Ed Rush resigned, it was very natural that we take a step back and look at the program. We really did a deep dive into how officiating works.”
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Bobby Dibler, MWC officials coordinator who worked NCAA tournament games as a Pac-10 official years ago, will head up the program, which mirrors a movement nationally.
There are several such collaborations, including one comprising the Big 12, Conference USA, the Southland and Ohio Valley conferences, and the Big Ten, Mid-American and Summit conferences.
“They seem to be working pretty well,” said John Adams, NCAA coordinator of men’s basketball officiating. He called the selection of Dibler “a very strong choice. He’s very well respected, has great experience and is on board with national strategy and initiatives.”
One of the goals is to minimize long trips for officials, who are independent contractors and often work several leagues.
The assignment from a central office should make for more coordinated travel for officials doing multiple leagues.
“Really an important part of this is the health and well-being of the officials,” Scott said.
Scott recalled that when he took over as commissioner in 2009, “I vividly recall an early meeting with Craig (Thompson) where he said, ‘We really ought to sit down and talk about collaboration in the West, especially with officiating.’ ”
Bud Withers: 206-464-8281 or firstname.lastname@example.org