May 13, 2011

Roundtable: Is a fine enough for the Fiesta?

At the College Football Roundtable each week, we ask each member of the college football coverage staff for their opinion about a topic in college football. There are two questions this week, one today and one Sunday.

TODAY'S QUESTION: It was announced earlier this week that the Fiesta Bowl would be allowed to remain a part of the BCS, as long as it pays a $1 million fine. Your thoughts?

Olin Buchanan's answer:
That's not much of a penalty. Heck, by just cutting out John Junker's enormous salary and his extravagant spending, the Fiesta Bowl can cover the $1 million with no problem. Actually, I see this as a pre-emptive strike. That way, if another BCS bowl is found to be guilty of improprieties - which isn't a stretch by any means - a precedent has been set. Just give $1 million to charity. But isn't that what bowl games have claimed they're about all along?

Tom Dienhart's answer:
I am not surprised. The "investigation" into the Fiesta Bowl by the BCS presidential oversight committee was dubious, at best. An investigation by an independent and unbiased organization would have been more appropriate instead of one by what essentially were the Fiesta Bowl's peers. Bottom line: The BCS folks can do whatever they want because they police themselves, so we basically have to believe whatever drivel they shovel at us. Only outside pressure by groups such as Playoff PAC, a political action committee that's seeking to replace the BCS with a playoff, will keep the BCS as transparent as possible. I fully expect the Fiesta Bowl officials to "toe the line" from here on out and behave as told, but I still would like to see the Cotton Bowl brought into the fold as a BCS bowl.

David Fox's answer:
It's not a shock the Fiesta Bowl kept its BCS status. Kicking the game out of the BCS would have had far-reaching ramifications to the rest of the BCS and the bowl system. Given the amount of money former CEO John Junker threw around and how much the bowl bilks teams on ticket guarantees, few could be critical if the BCS fined the bowl more than $1 million. That said, I hope the most meaningful change is more oversight and reform of the way the bowls do business. The BCS task force recommended the BCS games establish and conform to standards for responsible governance. I really hope that's not just PR or empty words but a sign the Fiesta Bowl fiasco never happens at any bowl again.

Mike Huguenin's answer:
I'm a little bit surprised and a lot disappointed. I'm not a playoff guy, but I also think there are numerous problems with the BCS and hubris is one of them. At times, you wonder if the BCS honchos really get it. Forget some of the financial shenanigans perpetrated by former executive director John Junker; those are bad enough. But the Fiesta Bowl folks allegedly broke the law as well. You'd think in the current "environment," BCS officials would've acted decisively and booted the game out of the BCS mix. Alas, it wasn't done, and that means the Cotton Bowl - played in the best stadium in the nation - still is on the outside looking in.

Steve Megargee's answer:
I was naive enough to believe the negative publicity associated with this scandal would result in a harsher penalty for the Fiesta Bowl, particularly since this story broke at a time when the BCS already was facing increased scrutiny. I actually thought there was a legitimate shot the Cotton Bowl would replace the Fiesta in the BCS mix. I should have known better. The $1 million fine seems like nothing more than a slap in the wrist considering the lucrative nature of the BCS business. A seven-figure fine might serve as a deterrent to organizers of the lesser bowls on the schedule, but I doubt it's going to throw much of a scare into the people who run the BCS bowls. While the Fiesta managed to maintain its status as a BCS bowl, this isn't necessarily bad news for the Cotton Bowl and its BCS aspirations. I wouldn't be surprised if one more bowl eventually earns BCS status, and the Cotton clearly would be the front-runner.

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