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Scandal-plagued Fiesta Bowl to stay in BCS rotation

Task force from BCS says the bowl must adhere to reforms and donate at least $1 million to Arizona youth charities in light of financial improprieties.

May 11, 2011|By Chris Dufresne

The Fiesta Bowl has lived to host another game.

A Bowl Championship Series task force on Wednesday released a findings report and announced that it would allow the scandal-plagued Fiesta Bowl to remain part of the bowl rotation so long as it adheres to reforms and donates a minimum of $1 million to Arizona youth charities.

The Fiesta, one of four bowls that host the annual BCS championship game, was recently rocked by a financial improprieties scandal that led to the ouster of longtime Chief Executive John Junker.

The BCS report made clear the Fiesta Bowl would have likely been kicked out of the BCS had it not reacted so decisively in firing Junker and enacting self-imposed sweeping reforms at an April 23 meeting with the task force in Chicago.

Without those reforms, the task force "almost certainly would have recommended the termination of the BCS group's involvement with the Fiesta Bowl," the BCS said in a statement.

The BCS task force was headed by Penn State President Graham Spanier. In addition to the $1-million fine, the Fiesta Bowl must also remove any board members with ties to the scandal and agree to annual, independent audits of its finances.

The Fiesta Bowl has agreed to the conditions.

"The fine is substantial, but we are pleased that the BCS has directed that the funds benefit the youth of Arizona," Duane Woods, Fiesta Bowl chairman of the board, said in statement. "As we have stated, we have learned some painful lessons and have already implemented many of the changes that will prevent this type of malfeasance from happening in the future."

chris.dufresne@latimes.com

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