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NBA begins search for next Supervisor of Officials, Stern says

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The National Basketball Association has begun looking for a supervisor of officials, a position that won't be filled by a former referee as it has in the past.

The search comes at a critical time for the NBA, which is defending itself against allegations of wrongdoing from former referee Tim Donaghy, who pleaded guilty in August to fraud and conspiracy following a federal investigation into his betting on games.

"We're engaged in a search for a new head of officiating," NBA Commissioner David Stern said in an interview with Bloomberg Radio's "On the Ball" program, which will air this weekend.

While the commissioner didn't elaborate, a person familiar with the league's plan said the position wouldn't be filled by a former referee. Rather, the NBA wants someone with an extensive background in management, said the person, who declined to be identified because the process isn't complete.

NBA spokesman Mike Bass declined to comment.

Donaghy earlier this week said officials, acting at the behest of the NBA, conspired to extend a 2002 playoff series. He also said the NBA asked referees not call technical fouls on star players to avoid hurting ticket sales and television ratings.

Stern called the allegations "baseless."

"The Donaghy situation has been very constructive for us. It allowed us to review completely our officiating, our metrics of our officials, our relationships with them," Stern said. "All-in-all we will come out of this stronger."

Donaghy faces a maximum of 25 years in prison at his July 14 sentencing.