Berry Tramel: BCS has a strong smell of corruption

by Berry Tramel Published: March 30, 2011
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The BCS is mad at the Fiesta Bowl. Really mad. So mad, the Bowl Championship Series is talking about booting the Fiesta from the BCS.

The Fiesta released a damning internal report Tuesday that read like something out of imperial Rome. Extravagant expenditures for Fiesta president John Junker. Illegal campaign contributions. Payouts to people like Big 12 Conference consultant Donnie Duncan for services unexplained.

Meanwhile, the University of Connecticut lost $1.6 million just for playing in the Fiesta Bowl, courtesy of all the Fiesta's ticket demands.

Corruption to the core.

The BCS is standing on moral outrage. The BCS “will not be associated with this kind of behavior,” said its executive director and my old pal, Bill Hancock.

I hate debating Hancock. But the BCS outrage stems from other motives.

Self-preservation. The focus on whether the Fiesta Bowl will retain its BCS status is misguided. The focus should be on whether the BCS will retain its status as college football's playoff.

And the answer increasingly is no.

Death to the BCS, a scathing book written by Dan Wetzel, Josh Peter and Jeff Passan, was released last August. The book was over the top; its revolution note only served to cloud the message.

But that message now seems even clearer. The BCS bowls take in a crazy amount of money, and not all of it goes where it should go.

If you didn't believe Death to the BCS then, you have to believe it now.

How can a bowl that requires a Cinderella football school like Connecticut to buy 17,000 tickets, then spends that revenue like Caligula, foster any support? How can a system that sponsors this kind of behavior be trusted?

Love or hate the NCAA, you have to give it this. As best we can tell, the NCAA takes the massive billions it has earned from March Madness and turns the money back to the schools and the organization of championships in every other sport, every other level. Big-time football excluded, of course.

Contrast that with the BCS, where the massive sums go to the Orange, Rose, Sugar and Fiesta bowls, and they dole out money that isn't helping the Connecticut football team, much less the Central Oklahoma softball team.


by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The...
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