The Fiesta Bowl will be moved out of Arizona if No. 11 Virginia or other high-ranking teams refuse to play in the state, the chairman of the bowl's selection committee said Saturday.
Don Meyers said Fiesta officials have lined up stadiums in other Sun Belt states as a precaution. He did not identify those other locations.Arizona has been stung by national criticism since Tuesday, when voters rejected by a 51-49 margin a referendum which would have created a paid state holiday honoring the late Martin Luther King Jr. As a result, NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue has recommended that the league's owners move the 1993 Super Bowl out of Sun Devil Stadium in the Phoenix suburb of Tempe.
Meyers said Virginia, which had been ranked last week No. 1, was extended an invitation to the Fiesta after the Cavaliers beat North Carolina 24-10 Saturday. An opponent has not been chosen, he said.
Under NCAA rules, teams cannot formally accept bowl invitations until Nov. 24.
Earlier this week, Virginia defensive back Tony Covington said he did not want to play in a state which would dishonor King.
Meyers said he and other bowl officials were aware of the sentiments expressed by players and faculty at Virginia, Penn State and Notre Dame about the prospect of playing in a state which gave the appearance of racism.