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Question of the day: Should the Fiesta Bowl have been allowed to stay in the BCS? Was the penalty sufficient? [Updated]

Fiesta_500 Writers from around Tribune Co. discuss the topic. Check back throughout the day for more responses, and feel free to weigh in with a comment of your own.

Desmond Conner, Hartford Courant

Sure, why not?

College athletics is a business and businesses are about making money.

It shouldn’t be a surprise the Fiesta Bowl was able to maintain its position within the Bowl Championship Series after a scandal within the group uncovered illegal campaign contributions from staff and lavish spending by former CEO John Junker on parties and a night at a strip club. Junker was fired in March.

Did you know the Fiesta Bowl reportedly netted $15 million last year?

Quite a profit, eh? That’s the point.

The Fiesta Bowl gladly forked over a measly $1 million for its indiscretions.

Strengthening the board and imposing greater supervision among its bowl executives was also part of the resolution.

The $1 million is supposed to go to charities that benefit Arizona’s youth, which is a good thing. Still, this is yet another knock on the BCS and the greed that surrounds it.

Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune
 
I’d love to get Jerry Jones’ take on this question. I’m sure the King of the Cowboys would love to crack the BCS code and bring a big-time game to his stadium.
 
I’m inclined to believe, though, that the Fiesta Bowl should stay where it is. I’d rather not see hundreds of diligent staffers and volunteers, not to mention tens of thousands of sun-drenched fans, pay the price for the insidious crimes of former CEO John Junker and the board that let him produce “Junker Gone Wild.”
 
I like that the BCS presidential oversight committee has slapped the Fiesta Bowl with a $1-million fine and hammered the group for its ethical fumbles. The other bowls also need to examine how they conduct business.

[Updated at 9:16 a.m.

Chris Dufresne, Los Angeles Times

The scandal-plagued Fiesta Bowl has been allowed to stay in the BCS after it agreed to donate $1 million to local youth charities.

No way!

Way!

Party on, Garth!

Wait a minute, isn't charity what the nonprofit was supposed to be doing in the first place? Yes, but look at it this way: at least now the money won't be spent in strip clubs.

You could argue that the Fiesta Bowl, based on financial skulduggery and malfeasance, deserved to be dropped from the BCS rotation. Everything considered, though, letting the Fiesta Bowl remain was the logical move.

Revoking the Fiesta's lampshade license would have had a severe economic effect on the Phoenix area, which had nothing to do with the actions of a few. The Fiesta Bowl also saved itself by commissioning its own independent investigation that led to sweeping reforms. Hey, when the chips were down, CEO John Junker and others involved with alleged improprieties were ousted.

The Fiesta also impressed the BCS panel with other acts of contrition. The Fiesta Bowl also hosts the Insight Bowl, so replacing two bowls midway through the BCS cycle would have been legally complicated and punished people who didn't necessarily deserve to be.

The BCS got to act tough by tacking on a $1-million fine and putting "Animal House" on double-secret probation. Any coach, AD or BCS Task Force member who has attended the annual spring "Fiesta Frolic" free load in Phoenix (almost all of them) will tell you that those guys know how to run a bowl and throw a party.

They've fired the CEO and canceled this year's "frolic." How much rain can you throw a parade?

Matt Murschel, Orlando Sentinel

At a time when college football has been under intense scrutiny by just about everyone from Capitol Hill lawmakers down to the average fan, the decision to allow the Fiesta Bowl to remain in the BCS is puzzling.

If the college presidents and conference commissioners wanted to make a real statement about the integrity and the morals of the BCS, they should have booted the Fiesta Bowl. Allowing it to remain while just handing down a $1-million sanction does nothing to show that serious actions have serious consequences.

Although the money goes to a good cause –- a children's charity in Arizona -– what's a million dollars to a bowl conglomerate that makes tens of millions of dollars in profit each year? BCS Executive Director Bill Hancock said the BCS "won't do business with folks who behave that way." However, by allowing the Fiesta Bowl to go virtually unpunished, BCS officials are doing just that.]  

Photo: The Fiesta Bowl offices were temporarily closed Wednesday when the BCS presidential oversight committee ruled to keep the Fiesta Bowl in the BCS but levied a $1-million fine against it. Credit: Matt York / Associated Press

 
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