May 11, 2011Fiesta Bowl to stay in BCS after being hit with $1 million fine
By Steve Wieberg, USA TODAY
The Bowl Championship Series hit the wayward Fiesta Bowl with sanctions including a $1 million fine Wednesday, but the game will remain part of the system that decides college football's national championship.
The Fiesta also was ordered to set up more stringent audits and tighter oversight of its board of its directors in the wake of a scathing report in March outlining grossly excessive spending and possibly illegally orchestrated political contributions.
Longtime CEO John Junker was fired in March, and both the BCS and the NCAA committee that certifies bowls set up special task forces to assess the Fiesta's future.
The BCS task force recommended Monday's sanctions, imposed by the conference commissioners and college presidents who oversee the system.
Had the bowl, itself, not taken corrective action including Junker's dismissal, the panel "almost certainly would have recommended the termination of the BCS Group's involvement with the Fiesta Bowl," a BCS statement said.
The task force also recommended requiring each of BCS four bowls -- the Orange, Sugar, Fiesta and Rose -- to meet new, yet-to-be-drafted guidelines and annually certify "that it is conducting its business in accordance with the standards or be subject to possible sanctions."
"The Fiesta Bowl Board of Directors understands and accepts the sanctions imposed by the BCS," Fiesta Bowl chairman Duane Woods said. "We think that these tough but fair measures are consistent with our commitment to reform the Fiesta Bowl's governance and rebuild trust. The fine is substantial, but we are pleased that the BCS has directed that the funds benefit the youth of Arizona."
The BCS report laid out seven sanctions including sharing the results of an annual audit with BCS officials and "consulting" with the presidential oversight committee chair and the BCS executive director when hiring a new Fiesta Bowl CEO.
Left unanswered is the future of the Fiesta's NCAA certification. A separate NCAA committee is weighing that issue. Chair Nick Carparelli, associate commissioner of the Big East, previously said his committee would wait until the BCS acted before making any decisions on the Fiesta's status. The NCAA certifies post-season football games.http://content.usatoday.com/communities ... wl-fine-/1