John Junker (Tom Tingle/AP)

How long, do you think, it will take to get Fiesta Bowl activity back to business as usual?

  • A week
  • A month
  • A year
  • We’re back now. Nothing’s changed.

I leave you to vote silently. I have my own opinion.

This week’s series of stories by the Arizona Republic is a feather in its cap, really excellent reporting. It is likely, in fact, that some journalism awards may be in the offing for the reporters and editors involved. Congratulations to Craig Harris and everyone else over there.

But long-term change at the Bowl, or in the bowl structure overall? Hmmm. Our answer is likely to come at the Altoids Hold-Your-Breath Bowl.

The possibility for long-term change dropped like a poorly played ball when it was disclosed that top BCS official Bill Hancock (and other BCS officials) had himself received gifts from the Fiesta and Orange Bowls. Suddenly his tough talk morphed into words of caution and not pass-rushing to judgment.

Hancock’s earlier warnings, uttered just days earlier, that they “take these allegations seriously” seem like ancient history today.

Of course, a criminal investigation is a different matter. It is likely that this much smoke will lead to at least a small fire of an indictment or two.

But the entirely predictable lesson that we—and other Bowl executives—are learning is that the now-disavowed business practices worked—and worked well—for a really long time.

It reminds you of a decades’ worth of bad mortgage-lending practices. Even though they were later revealed to be corrosive, there is no denying that they made billions of dollars for many people for a long time. So which lesson do you think the industry will remember? Corrosive? Or billions?

So now we move from Junk Bonds to Junk Sports.

A pretty good roundup of the Fiesta Bowl scandal appears in yesterday’s Arizona Capitol Times. Among the facts regarding the 276-page investigative report, the following line struck me: “[T]he investigation report said now-ousted bowl chief John Junker thought it prudent to cozy up to elected officials.”

Yes, hubris and overreaching appear to have caught up with Junker and others. But his oh-so-prudent decision to cozy up to elected officials? That appears to have been a master-stroke, and exactly the uncomfortable factoid that will make lawmakers and bowl executives charge after these improprieties with less than full-throated zeal.

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