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SBD/May 12, 2011/Colleges
Fiesta Bowl Maintains BCS Status, But Is Fined $1M For Financial Irregularities
Published May 12, 2011
THE NEXT STEP: The NCAA said that it would "take the BCS finding into account in determining whether to recertify" the Fiesta. The NCAA bowl licensing panel meets next week, and NCAA VP/Communications Bob Williams said that “a decision -- on both the Fiesta and its sister game, the Insight Bowl -- are expected in the near future.” Hancock said, "They have a long way to go. … They have to regain the trust of the community. We think these reforms will head them in that direction" (USA TODAY, 5/12). In L.A., Chris Dufresne notes the BCS report “made clear the Fiesta Bowl would have likely been kicked out of the BCS had it not reacted so decisively in firing” President & CEO John Junker and “enacting self-imposed sweeping reforms” (L.A. TIMES, 5/12). In Phoenix, Dan Bickley wrote when the Fiesta Bowl’s contract expires, “things will get very interesting, especially with the Cotton Bowl lurking in the shadows” (AZCENTRAL.com, 5/11).
NOT A REAL SURPRISE: ESPN's Joe Schad recently spent time with the BCS commissioners and said the move to keep the Fiesta Bowl in the BCS "does not surprise me." Schad: "Those commissioners were really buying into the Fiesta Bowl's reveal and reform strategy." Schad noted he talked to Sun Belt Commissioner Wright Waters, who is on the Fiesta Bowl task force that kept the game in the BCS, and Schad noted the task force members "expressed not only a desire to clean up their situation but a desire to take a role in the future of models for nonprofit organizations." Waters indicated that there is "no doubt that members of that task force, some of them, came to the table believing ... the Fiesta Bowl has got to go." Schad: "But as Wright Waters said, the Fiesta Bowl did what they had to do to convince the members of that committee that they deserved to stay" ("College Football Live," ESPN, 5/11). The AP's Tim Dalhberg wrote, "As hand slapping goes, this was a million-dollar waste of time." Dahlberg: "The Fiesta Bowl was never going anywhere. It's a cash cow among cash cows, a reliable generator of television ratings, and the favorite January haunt of wealthy alumni everywhere. But a show is a show, and the show of outrage had to be made" (AP, 5/11). CBSSPORTS.com's Dennis Dodd wrote under the header, "Surprise! (Not) Fiesta Stays In BCS." Dodd: "Reasonable folks can debate whether the Justice Department will be able to touch the BCS. But it's obvious they're not going to harm themselves" (CBSSPORTS.com, 5/11).
MORE TO COME? Hancock said that the BCS “does not intend to engage independent auditors for its other bowls and instead will require them to certify each year that they are doing business in accordance with ‘proper governance standards’ soon to be developed.” Hancock: "We have no reason to suspect there are any kind of issues with the other bowls." He added, "It's unfair to paint innocent people with the same brush" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 5/12). SI.com’s Stewart Mandel wrote the decision to allow the Fiesta Bowl to remain a BCS game came “to the surprise of almost no one.” Announcements like yesterday's “come off as just another example of the good ol' boy network protecting one of its own.” The “most encouraging tidbit to come out of the task force's 15-page report” was the recommendation that the BCS “retain an independent expert with a background in management of nonprofit organizations to develop standards for responsible bowl governance.” Mandel wrote, “The rest of us would like to see more reform from the bowl business in general” (SI.com, 5/11).