(AP) – The NCAA has created a new task force to look at the criteria and process for licensing Division I bowls and will place a three-year moratorium on new bowls.
The task force of no more than 10 people will be co-chaired by Nebraska chancellor Harvey Perlman and another to-be-named person from outside higher education and athletics.
It will look at governance and oversight by bowl sponsoring agencies, conflict-of-interest rules and policies, advertising and title-sponsorship standards, along with oversight and reporting of financial management of bowl games.
The task force and moratorium were approved by the NCAA’s Division I Board of Directors in Indianapolis on Thursday. The bowl system has come under scrutiny after financial and political improprieties involving the Fiesta Bowl were uncovered in March.
“We’ve actually been talking about it for a number of months,” NCAA president Mark Emmert said. “It’s an issue that I brought up to the board back in January as we were looking at all of the potential roles of the NCAA in what used be called certification and is now called the licensing process. It became clear to me that a review of those criteria of those processes was overdue.”
Four-year bowl licenses issued by the NCAA in 2010 remain in effect as long as the sponsors meet the current requirements, though existing bowls will be expected to meet any new licensing standards adopted by the Division I board as a result of the task force work. An NCAA subcommittee is meeting this week in New Orleans to review the licenses of existing bowls.
The moratorium on new bowls will last until the new licensing procedures are put in place. Emmert would like the task force to report back to him and the Division I board by October.
“I certainly know that going forward, I want to make sure the bowl licensing process is robust enough and thorough enough that we have great confidence when we license a bowl that we know how it’s being governed, what the oversights are and that all the appropriate policies and practices are in place,” Emmert said.
An internal investigation of the Fiesta Bowl revealed thousands of dollars in lavish spending, including a birthday party for CEO and president John Junker in Pebble Beach, Calif., the wedding and honeymoon of an aide and a $1,200 strip club tab.
In addition, the report detailed some $45,000 in reimbursements to employees for political donations, along with junkets and free game tickets for several Arizona legislators.
Junker was fired when the report was made public on March 29.
A BCS task force is examining findings from an internal investigation by the Fiesta Bowl and could have a report by mid-May. The BCS could remove the Fiesta Bowl’s status as one of college football’s four premier events
The IRS also has been asked to examine whether the Fiesta Bowl deserves its nonprofit status, and the Arizona attorney general’s office is looking into possible indictments for the reimbursed political donations.
The NCAA has the power to revoke the license of the game altogether, but will not decide on further sanctions until later this year.
“The (Fiesta Bowl) special report obviously extremely detailed and outlined behaviors none of us would be supportive of and I think the board was forthright in putting all that information before the various bodies,” Emmert said. “I think it’s fair to say those are the kinds of things none of us find acceptable and we all find completely contrary to the values of intercollegiate athletics. We certainly can’t abide by those kind of behaviors.”
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