Fiesta Bowl 'boondoggle' and non-AQs

April, 26, 2011
4/26/11
10:30
AM ET
There are many pieces of the latest report on the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl that are both disturbing and eye-opening, especially for those who are frustrated that there is no playoff.

What is most interesting to me is this: Among those listed as attending a junket called the "Fiesta Frolic" in 2008 are several athletic directors at non-AQ schools, who also happen to serve on the NCAA panel determining the fate of the bowl game. Tom Bowen at San Jose State, Dave Heeke at Central Michigan, Paul Krebs at New Mexico and Chris Massaro at Middle Tennessee were all at the event, which included hotel expenses, two rounds of golf, spa certificates and more. An internal report by the bowl also quoted one bowl official as describing the Fiesta Frolic as a "boondoggle," and the name was changed to the "Valley of the Sun Experience & Fiesta Bowl Seminars."

Besides the obvious conflict of interest, what does it say about what non-AQ schools really want if some athletic directors are being wined and dined by one of the biggest BCS bowls? This obviously is not a blanket statement about every single school that is a member of a non-automatic qualifying conference, but it is evidence nonetheless to support what we have constantly been told: that the majority of schools enjoy the status quo.

Coaches prefer the bowl system, and so do administrators and university presidents. It's the biggest reason why there is no playoff. None of these athletic directors did anything wrong, but it sure looks bad that they accepted these gifts, especially when there are so many questions about whether the bowl system is fair and equitable.

It is true the non-AQs have benefited more from the BCS than under the old bowl system and have more access to those bowl games. So the BCS does work in that regard. It does not work when you consider the financial disparity. Utah's attorney general believes as much, since he plans to file suit against the BCS for being an unfair monopoly. But as has seemingly been the case, only those outside the college football establishment are outraged with the current system.

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