Fiesta could learn BCS fate within month

Updated: April 19, 2011, 9:34 PM ET
Associated Press

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -- The BCS could decide within a month whether the troubled Fiesta Bowl should keep its place among college football's marquee bowls.

Penn State President Graham Spanier, chairman of a seven-member panel investigating the Fiesta Bowl, said Tuesday that the committee has had several teleconferences and plans to meet with officials and the board of directors of the bowl.

The committee will file a report to be reviewed by conference commissioners and the BCS' presidential oversight committee, also chaired by Spanier. The oversight committee would make "any final determinations," said Spanier, who hoped the process would be done by mid-May.

"We do not expect to have this drawn out very long," Spanier said Tuesday in an interview with The Associated Press. "There's a lot at stake for everyone. It's in everyone's interest to move this discussion along quickly."

The Arizona game is under scrutiny after bowl officials in an internal report released last month found that the Fiesta Bowl reimbursed bowl employees for roughly $46,500 in political donations -- an apparent violation of elections laws and the charter that gives the Fiesta Bowl its nonprofit status.

The Arizona attorney general's office is investigating, and a watchdog group, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, has filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission.

The Fiesta Bowl fired longtime President John Junker when the report came out March 29. The BCS responded swiftly by starting its own investigation to determine whether the game should remain in the BCS or face "other appropriate sanctions."

Spanier responded to questions Tuesday on the bowl game as part of a broader interview with the AP about unrelated issues at Penn State, including proposed cuts in state funding to the university.

The review panel is devoting a lot of time to the matter "but trying to do it in a focused and expeditious way," Spanier said.

"Everyone on the review committee feels it's important that the Fiesta Bowl be able to demonstrate they've cleaned up [its] act, that it's going to operate at the highest level of integrity, efficiency and propriety in the future," Spanier said.

The task force also includes Northern Illinois President John Peters, Big East Commissioner John Marinatto, Sun Belt Commissioner Wright Waters, and athletic directors Jeremy Foley of Florida, Bob Bowlsby of Stanford and Richard Giannani of Southern Mississippi.


Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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