Fiesta bowl kickbacks pay for strippers

8/15/2011: (Also see Bojack.org) Where does the little bit of athletics money that is left over after paying the coaches, AD Rob Mullens, and car payments for most of the athletics department go? Overpriced hotel rooms, with kickbacks to the bowl organizers, of course. Playoffpac.com has the story here.

Economist Andy Zimbalist says:

“This is an anticompetitive tying arrangement, that requires consumers to end up of having less choice and spend more money.  There’s an intermediary that is siphoning off revenue from the producers, which are the schools.”

“We believe that this arrangement may violate Connecticut’s prohibition on ‘receiving kickbacks,”’ the PAC’s co-founder, Matthew Sanderson, wrote in a complaint filed with state Attorney General George Jepsen, obtained by The Associated Press. UConn lost this year’s Fiesta Bowl to Oklahoma and also lost money on the game. In the complaint, Sanderson noted UConn spent $460,000 in hotel lodging and meals. 

Here’s the complaint filed with the Connecticut AG – apparently they filed a similar one with Oregon AG John Kroger. Oregon of course played in the BCS championship at the Fiesta Bowl in 2011. The athletic department paid the organizers $706,541 for food and lodging. Where did the kickback money go? Apparently the organizers spent a chunk of it on illegal political contributions and strippers. I’m not kidding, NYT story here.

Oregon State President Ed Ray criticized the Fiesta Bowl situation in the Oregonian back in March, when the original scandal broke. Former UO President Frohnmayer was a longtime president of the BCS, which oversaw – if that’s the right word – the Fiesta Bowl, and he is still a vigorous BCS supporter.

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