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Fiesta Bowl Could Be In Peril As BCS Launches Task Force To Study The Investigations

By now, just about everyone probably knows the tale of John Junker, the former CEO and president of the Fiesta Bowl who lost his job after the bowl’s investigations revealed massive amounts of improper spending. What we don’t know yet is exactly what Junker’s activities will cost the bowl. The Bowl Championship Series has now put together a task force that will look at the Fiesta Bowl’s investigations as well as its plan to make sure it doesn’t encounter the same problems once again. That task force will pass its findings on to the conference commissioners and then it will be time to make a decision.

Could the Fiesta Bowl be bound for an exit from the BCS? It certainly seems like a possibility, though we’d be jumping the gun to be making such bold predictions this early on in the process. BCS chairman Bill Hancock joined The Fan AM 1060 in Phoenix with Gary Cruz and Dan Manucci to discuss the timetable for how all of these investigations went down, the task force that will now look into the Fiesta Bowl, why we shouldn’t start making predictions about what happens next, if the other BCS bowls are now under more scrutiny, if he and his staff have discussed possible penalties for the Fiesta Bowl and how these troubles affect the argument for a college football playoff.

When was the first time he caught wind of what was going on with the Fiesta Bowl:

“I don’t remember. … I’m so disappointed and sad for all the good people who have made the Fiesta Bowl what it is, the volunteers, the committee members. I guess last fall, we began to see the news reports about what was happening. … It probably goes back to then.”

On how the conversations continued on with Fiesta Bowl chairman Duane Woods:

“Duane, like the rest of this board, has been so forthright and transparent with everything that they could. I had several conversations with Duane. I suppose the first one we had was, we touched base during the championship week this year.”

When will the task force start evaluating the Fiesta Bowl and its future with the BCS?:

“The task force is formed and they’re going to, as we said yesterday, they’re going to look at the report and look at the reform initiatives that Duane and the board have put together and ask some questions. They’ll make a recommendation to the commissioners, and the commissioners will then pass on their recommendation … to the presidential oversight committee. It’ll happen in a matter of weeks. … We all want to get it behind us.”

Is it too early to start making predictions about changes?:

“Absolutely premature, and you’re not hearing that from anybody in our group. … This is a process. You know how people want to see train wrecks and want to see big change and it’s way premature. … A lot of things have to happen before it ever gets to that stage.”

Will the other BCS bowls be under more scrutiny now?:

“There has been no indication that any other bowl has engaged in similar activities. And, frankly, to say otherwise is a disservice to those who follow the rules. When we heard about a second investigation … we went to the other bowls and said, ‘We suggest that you do reviews of your operation, that you bring in an outside person to review your operation.’ The other bowls have done that. … They have reassured us that their controls are in place.”

Have he and those around him discussed possible consequences for the Fiesta Bowl?:

“That’s all up to the task for. … The BCS is just an event that the conferences manage, so the conferences will be making the decisions about the event that they manage. … The conferences decide every four years what bowls participate in the event.”

On this situation adding fuel to the fire for those who want a playoff:

“People who are critics and critics of the system that want a playoff want to take away the opportunities for the student-athletes to have a bowl experience and that’s unfortunate. Anything that adds to the folks who want to take away from the athletes is unfortunate. It’s a sad thing and we’re going to continue to … work for what’s best for the athletes.”

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