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Monday, May 3, 2010
BCS finale escaping controversy's path

By Ivan Maisel
ESPN.com

Despite mounting support for boycotting the 2011 MLB All-Star Game in Phoenix, innumerable imminent federal lawsuits and dozens of rallies across the nation, all is seemingly quiet for the 120 member schools of the Football Bowl Subdivision that will crown their national champion in Glendale, Ariz., in January.

Officials from those institutions are keeping quiet about public opinion on their campuses over the controversial immigration law Arizona passed last month.

Bill Hancock, who runs the BCS, said Friday afternoon that he has not heard anything about the BCS Championship Game being played in Arizona.

This is a sporting event. We're going to leave Arizona politics to the people in Arizona.

-- BCS chief Bill Hancock

Hancock did not sound disappointed that his phone hasn't rung.

"This is a sporting event," Hancock said. "We're going to leave Arizona politics to the people in Arizona."

Nick Carparelli, who is in charge of football in the Big East Conference and, by chance, is also chair of the NCAA Football Issues Committee, said he had not heard anything from the eight football-playing schools in his league. Or from anyone else, either.

"It's not something that seems to be on the college football radar at the moment," Carparelli said.

Fiesta Bowl boss John Junker is preparing to host the annual Fiesta Frolic this week, a gathering of FBS athletic directors and head football coaches to which no reporters were invited. It has become known as a place where deals can get, if not done, at least discussed.

And no one has talked about boycotting it, either, though Junker deferred to Hancock for public comment.

Arizona is no stranger to football celebrations that have borne the brunt of national displeasure with the state's politics.

Two decades ago, when the state refused to approve a holiday honoring Martin Luther King, Jr., the NFL rescinded its decision to stage Super Bowl XXVII in Tempe. The 1991 Fiesta Bowl ended up with Alabama, with its 7-4 record, because several other schools refused to play in the state.

The state approved the holiday in 1992.

Ivan Maisel is a senior writer for ESPN.com.