SBD/April 4, 2011/Colleges

Should NCAA Take Stronger Control Over Bowl System After Fiesta Bowl Scandal?

Fiesta Bowl scandal leads to calls for greater NCAA control over bowls
The Fiesta Bowl scandal is the "latest example that the NCAA needs to take stronger control over" bowl games, an industry that "often operates outside its reach," according to William Rhoden of the N.Y. TIMES. Univ. of Maryland System Chancellor and Knight Commission co-Chair William Kirwan said bowls "ought to be put under the control of the NCAA." Kirwan: "One way to accomplish that is to go to a playoff and let it be an NCAA championship. That would be one way of breaking the back of the BCS. I've never been in favor of a playoff, but given what I see going on, I think it's time to press that issue." Oregon State Univ. President Edward Ray: "I think there needs to be a meeting fairly soon between the six BCS conferences and the NCAA leadership about what are the rules and regulations for conducting postseason bowl games, starting now." But NCAA President Mark Emmert is "lukewarm to the idea that the NCAA should take control of the bowls." Emmert: "If the membership wants us to take a look at it, that's something I'd certainly be willing to do. But that's not at the top of our agenda right now." He added, "The fact that this has to be fixed is not debatable. It calls into question the integrity of that particular bowl and it's very dramatic and received a lot of attention. But I don't think that it's accurate to assume from that one experience that the bowl system is broken" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/2).

INTEGRITY IN QUESTION: In New Orleans, John DeShazier wrote Emmert "knows the house needs some spring cleaning." DeShazier: "I'm not sure how he's going to do it, but he absolutely has to because the organization's credibility -- what little credibility it still has -- is on the line." The Fiesta Bowl scandal comes after reports that a trainer "allegedly shopped the services of former LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson," as well as the "mess at Ohio State with Coach Jim Tressel [and] the ongoing investigation into former Auburn quarterback Cam Newton and his family," among other scandals. Emmert: "The single biggest concern that I have among the threats to the collegiate model is simply the threat of integrity. I've heard concerns expressed by people all around the country about the integrity of intercollegiate athletics right now, that people are seeing things that they don't like and that I don't like and that many people are concerned about" (NOLA.com, 4/1).
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