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Fiesta Bowl scandal gives NCAA chance to end bowl system

A $1,200 strip club bill, a $13,000 honeymoon in British Columbia, and a $30,000 birthday party. What are three things that should have nothing to do with college football?

That’s probably how Johnny Carson’s Carnack the Magnificent would describe the scandal that rocked the Fiesta Bowl on Tuesday and caused the firing of bowl CEO John Junker.

According to the New York Times and an independent investigator, Junker and some of his associates spent profits from the tax-exempt bowl on all three of those things along with illegally reimbursing employees with bonuses for political contributions.

The allegations are disgusting when you realize just how unethical the actions were of those involved in running a game that has been a source of civic pride for years. The problem is, we’re kidding ourselves if we think the Fiesta Bowl is the only bowl game with corrupt individuals among its ranks.

Believing that is like saying Reggie Bush is the only college football player ever to take money under the table for his play, that Jim Tressel is the only coach to not report violations at his university and that Ke$ha is the only talentless person to ever hit it big in the music industry.

While the headlines may soon read something like “BCS rids itself of the Fiesta Bowl”, they should probably read “NCAA gets rid of the BCS.”

Junker and his actions are just one example of a corrupt system that is broken. Allowing the BCS and other bowl games to operate autonomously from the NCAA opens the door for way too many issues to emerge.

If college sports are really about the experience for the athletes and reinvesting the profit into the schools, it’s time for the NCAA to do away with the bowl system altogether. They should instead adopt a system similar to college basketball sanctioned by the NCAA and run at different stadiums around the nation.

Is college sports big business? Yes. Does it need to be run with the same corruption and deceit that occurs in corporate America? No.

Instead of punishing the Fiesta Bowl and using them as the fall guys to protect the system, it’s time to examine the entire system, tear it down and re-build it from the ground up.

It’s time to restore some honor to college athletics. Junker and the Fiesta Bowl have provided the perfect opportunity.

A major joke. What is the college football bowl system?