In an unprecedented move, the BCS has asked the Fiesta Bowl to "to demonstrate why it should remain a BCS bowl game."
The statement followed the Fiesta's announcement that CEO John Junker had been fired, in part, because of improper campaign contributions. Bill Hancock, BCS executive director and Graham Spanier, chairman of the BCS Presidential Oversight Committee, released a joint statement saying they would establish a task force to review the bowl's findings.
"We have asked the bowl to demonstrate why it should remain a BCS bowl game," the statement continues. "If the bowl remains a part of the BCS, its handling of this matter will be closely monitored going forward.
"It is imperative that Fiesta Bowl officials take all necessary steps to fully address and correct the problems they have reported."
The Fiesta Bowl could be dropped at any time, according to a BCS official. In changing bowls, the BCS is not bound by the current contract that runs through the 2013 season and 2014 bowls. There is language in the contract that says the bowls must meet "obligations to third parties." Seemingly, those obligations have been broken in the Fiesta's case.
But again, that doesn't mean the Fiesta is out. It means it is on double-secret probation.
“We are confident that the voluntary full disclosure of all these facts, and the corrective actions promptly taken by the board and the tremendous track record of our volunteer organization will be viewed positively by the BCS," said Duane Woods, Fiesta board chairman.
At first glance, the most likely beneficiary of the Fiesta Bowl's exclusion would be the Cotton Bowl. Left out of the BCS in 1998, the Cotton has desperately been trying to get a foot back in the door. Back then, it was thought that the Cotton had lost some prestige and had some issues with its aging stadium. However, its stature has improved with the recent move to Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The LSU-Texas A&M Cotton Bowl could have qualified as a sixth BCS bowl, considering the quality of the teams.
However, because the Cotton has a contract with Fox for the next three years it is unlikely the network would let the bowl go to join ESPN and the BCS. Cotton Bowl executive director Rick Baker refused to comment. One bowl source summed up the days events saying, "It's going to look like we're dancing on the Fiesta Bowl's grave."
Established 40 years ago, the Fiesta Bowl evolved from a modest mid-level bowl, positioning itself to eventually gain entry into the BCS over the Cotton. During years when it hosts the national championship game, the Fiesta has three games -- the Insight, Fiesta and title game.