Fiesta Bowl issued $1 million sanction

The presidents and commissioners who oversee the Bowl Championship Series today unanimously approved a special task force recommendation to enact a series of sanctions designed to create stronger oversight and better management of the Fiesta Bowl, including a $1 million sanction.

The task force concluded that the reforms undertaken by the bowl's new leaders are "appropriate and necessary," but due to the severity of the problem, the task force has recommended that additional measures and corrective action be required.

The commissioners and university presidents approved the recommendation of the task force that the Fiesta Bowl be subject to a $1 million sanction with the proceeds benefitting youth in Arizona. The task force also recommended the enactment of six other measures to improve the governance of the bowl.

The task force, chaired by Penn State University President Graham Spanier, concluded "The board of directors of the Fiesta Bowl failed in its responsibility to properly oversee the management and administration of the Bowl. The task force is deeply troubled by the evidence set forth in the [Fiesta Bowl's] Special Committee's report. That evidence strongly suggests that the Bowl's executive staff frequently acted with scant regard for ethics and proper conduct. Further, it is the opinion of the task force that the Bowl's board of directors over the years was negligent in its oversight responsibilities."

The task force commended the bowl's leaders for their swift and corrective "reveal and reform" actions since the Special Committee report was released in March. According to the task force's 15-page report, "Nevertheless, the task force has concluded that additional reforms are needed, and is recommending sanctions."

Had these reforms not been made by the Fiesta Bowl, the task force "almost certainly would have recommended the termination of the BCS Group's involvement with the Fiesta Bowl."

In addition to the $1 million sanction, the task force called for the six other reforms involving tougher and more independent audits, tighter membership controls for the Fiesta Bowl board, and greater accountability. The task force also recommended requiring all BCS bowls conform to soon-to be developed standards for responsible bowl governance and that each bowl associated with the BCS be required to certify annually to the Executive Director of the BCS that it is conducting its business in accordance with the standards or be subject to possible sanctions.

Click here for the complete task force report.