Fiesta Bowl Stays In BCS, Glendale Dodges Another Bullet

The BCS has ruled that the Fiesta Bowl can remain part of the Bowl Championship Series which means that it will still be part of the top tier of college football bowl games and on a rotating basis host the national championship at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, AZ. The Fiesta Bowl was fined $1 million by the BCS for it's illegal political contributions and improper spending.

"The message is they had cleaned house and addressed their problems, but our group doesn't believe they went far enough," said Bill Hancock, executive director of the BCS, in a telephone interview with the AP. He added that the $1 million fine was meant to reflect the "serious nature of the matter."

The City of Glendale will keep the Phoenix Coyotes for at least another year and won't have to also lose the prestigious and revenue generating Fiesta Bowl. Not a bad 24 hour haul for the west side town. To make matters even better, the fine paid by the Fiesta Bowl will reportedly go youth sports in Arizona which is an added bonus.

It is not clear how making a non-profit entity pay a million dollar fine makes much sense. Only in the world of college football is taking money from the Fiesta Bowl and giving it to the community the Fiesta Bowl is supposed to be supporting in the first place considered punishment. Don't try and make sense of it beyond the headline value of "$1 million fine". 

The other reforms, however, do seem more practical.

Among other things, the BCS said the Fiesta Bowl must also remove board members who were found to have engaged in inappropriate conduct; include at least two members from the "collegiate community" on the board, such as faculty members or athletic directors; conduct an annual internal audit and share the results with the BCS executive director; replace its auditing firm (PriceWaterhouseCoopers) or bring in a new supervisory partner; and consult with the BCS on the hiring of a new executive director.

This is good news for Glendale and the entire Phoenix area who gets to keep the cash cow. Whether the investigation and publicity surrounding this case actually has any real impact on the entire college football bowl system remains to be seen.

What happened with the Fiesta Bowl under John Junker's watch might have been over the top, but it can't be the only such case of lavish spending by the "non-profit" organizations that run the bowl games.

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