Larry Scott knows he’s not exactly the most-liked man in Tucson.
He’s OK with that.
“I’ve moved on,” Scott said.
The Pac-12 commissioner has been under fire from Arizona fans since March, when the league ran into a public relations nightmare at the conference’s basketball tournament in Las Vegas.
By now, you surely know what happened.
Sean Miller was hit with a costly technical foul late in Arizona’s loss to UCLA. Later, it was revealed that Pac-12 director of officials Ed Rush had put a bounty on Miller, promising a trip to whichever referee could give him a technical foul.
Rush, who insisted the bounty was a joke, resigned shortly thereafter.
Scott made his first public appearance in Tucson since the incident on Saturday, meeting with reporters before kickoff of the UA’s game against Utah.
Officiating was again a major topic, this time in football.
Ever since the finish of Arizona State’s win over Wisconsin was botched last month by Pac-12 refs, the league’s officials have been under fire. There have been a lot of mistakes, missed calls and regrettable decisions that, Scott said, he has had to clean up.
“I never want it to draw attention,” Scott said of the league’s officiating. “If it’s drawing attention, it’s usually not good news. The state of our officiating overall — if I look at where we were four years ago compared to where we are today — I’m very pleased with our progress,” Scott said. “I think we’re making all the right moves. Perfection in officiating is not attainable, but you want to make sure you’re improving.”
Scott conceded that the officiating needs to improve.
“There’s plenty of mistakes that are made during the season,” Scott said. “I certainly don’t like when we have to step in and declare publicly that mistakes were made.”
Scott, who also attended part of Arizona State’s win over Washington on Saturday, touched on several other topics with reporters.
Of note, he said that the league has made no progress with DirecTV over broadcast rights to the Pac-12 Networks.
“They really dug their heels in and it’s unfortunate,” Scott said. “It’s a big source of frustration for me and our fans.”
Arizona’s win over Utah was followed by a big recruiting victory.
Salpointe Catholic wide receiver Kaelin Deboskie verbally committed to the UA’s 2014 recruiting class late Saturday.
The Scout.com recruiting service lists Deboskie, who moved to Tucson from Texas earlier this year, as a three-star recruit. He chose the UA over offers from ASU, Colorado, Oklahoma State and West Virginia.
Deboskie and Salpointe teammate Cameron Denson, another UA commit, both attended Saturday’s game on unofficial visits.
Three recruits were at Arizona Stadium on Saturday for official visits.
Quarterback Brandon Dawkins, a three-star prospect who committed to the UA in July, took in the game on an official visit. Dawkins has thrown for 2,508 yards and 30 touchdowns in seven games this season at Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian High School. The other two official visitors, offensive tackles Layth Friekh and Levi Walton, have yet to commit anywhere. Friekh is a three-star recruit out of Peoria Centennial who has narrowed his choices down to UA, Oregon, Washington and Nebraska. Walton is a two-star recruit out of Cape Coral, Fla. Andrew Mike, a four-star tackle from Sabino, also visited unofficially as did Jihree Stewart, a junior cornerback from California.
UA starting safety Tra’Mayne Bondurant was injured in the first quarter on Saturday and didn’t return.
Sophomore Anthony Lopez filled in for Bondurant.
As expected, junior safety Jared Tevis missed the game with a knee injury. Will Parks started for him.
Derrick Rainey (back injury) did not play.