Doug Robinson: Lack of media outrage deafening over BCS scandal

Published: Thursday, April 7 2011 10:27 p.m. MDT

 The Orange Bowl spent $1,189,005 on unspecified "entertainment" and "catering" in 2009, $1,017,322 on undifferentiated "event food" and "entertainment" in 2008, and $75,896 on "recruitment" in 2008.

All this to put on TWO football games?

They hardly sound like tax-exempt, nonprofit entities. And yet Hancock, referring to the Fiesta Bowl scandal, says he has "absolutely no indication" of similar behavior by the BCS's other three bowls.

Remember all that talk from Hancock and the boys about how the BCS system is best for the game? It rings hollow now.

It's not just the Fiesta Bowl; it's the entire BCS system. It's driven by money and greed and billions of dollars, all of which exploit a cheap labor force — student-athletes.

Meanwhile, it's relevant to note that, according to an NCAA report, 106 of the 120 schools that play Division I football lost money in 2009. Most schools lose money to participate in bowl games; some schools even lose money to play in a BCS bowl. If all this weren't enough, students, already faced with rising tuition costs and strapped by a bad economy, are subsidizing most of these football programs through university fees.

And these BCS fatcats are billing bowls for golf dates and cruises?

"You can't indict the entire bowl system because of what's gone on there (at the Fiesta Bowl)," said NCAA President Mark Emmert.

Yes, you can and you should. It's time for NCAA school presidents to take back the game that was hijacked by the BCS. It's time for the NCAA to run college football the same way it runs college basketball. The timing couldn't be better for dumping the BCS.

email: drob@desnews.com

Scandal at a glance

The Fiesta Bowl is reportedly being investigated by the Arizona attorney general's office and the IRS. According to the Arizona Republic, the bowl's list of possible criminal offenses could include conspiracy, wire and mail fraud, obstruction of justice, unlawful political donations, tax evasion, kickbacks, money-laundering and bribery of public officials.

 John Junker, who was paid $600,000 a year as CEO of the Fiesta Bowl, billed the Fiesta Bowl $1,241 to pay for a visit that he and two associates made to Phoenix strip club in 2008.

"We are in the business where big, strong athletes are known to attend these types of establishments," Junker said, according to investigators. "It was important for us to visit and we certainly conducted business."

According to Sports Illustrated, Junker wrote on his American Express bill that the meeting was for "security site planning."

 Fiesta Bowl execs pressured employees to donate money to political candidates and then reimbursed them with bowl funds.

 Fiesta Bowl executives took junkets to college football games with politicians and their families, paid for by the bowl. Junker spent $65,000 to fly legislators and their families to Boston for a Boston College-Virginia Tech game. Junker took his family on 27 trips. This included a 16-day trip to California with his family and a trip to Florida for a space-shuttle launch.

 The Fiesta Bowl paid for Junker's membership in four elite private golf clubs.

 The Fiesta Bowl was billed $33,188 to pay for Junker's 50th birthday party in Pebble Beach.

 The Fiesta Bowl paid $13,086 to cover expenses for the wedding and honeymoon for one of Junker's assistants. Junker also gave iPads, gift cards and bullion as gifts and billed the bowl to buy $22,000 worth of gold and silver coins.

 Junker billed the bowl $75 to send flowers to an admissions officer at the University of Texas, where his daughter was applying to the school's honors program (she was accepted).

 According to The AP, Junker received money for cars, including $27,000 in 2009. COO Natalie Wisneski received an annual car allowance of $16,800.

 Junker was reimbursed $110,000 for attending a celebrity fight night and bidding on a golf date with Jack Nicklaus. He later billed the bowl for his travel expenses for the golf date.

 Junker was reimbursed $2,285 for Nike golf equipment. Another Fiesta Bowl employee charged the bowl more than $12,000 for Titleist golf balls.

 The bowl paid for a trip by Wisneski to Paris for a Hispanic businesswomen's retreat.

 The bowl paid about $1,900 to send two staff members to a Brian Wilson concert in New York.

Scandal at a glance

The Fiesta Bowl is reportedly being investigated by the Arizona attorney general's office and the IRS. According to the Arizona Republic, the bowl's list of possible criminal offenses could include conspiracy, wire and mail fraud, obstruction of justice, unlawful political donations, tax evasion, kickbacks, money-laundering and bribery of public officials.

Get The Deseret News Everywhere

Subscribe

Mobile

RSS