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Did Hawkeyes Dodge Bullet In Fiesta Bowl Campaign Scandal? (No)

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The big news in college football today is that the Fiesta Bowl, that wretched bowl that figured out a way to screw all fans of college football by putting Boise State and TCU in the Separate But Equal Bowl, is under investigation for illegally funneling thousands of dollars to various friendly politicians. Here's more from the paper that broke the story, the Arizona Republic:

Over the past decade as the Fiesta Bowl worked to maintain its elite position as one of the top postseason college-football games, employees made contributions to politicians friendly to the bowl, including some donations that may violate campaign-finance laws.

Past and present Fiesta Bowl employees have told The Arizona Republic they were encouraged to write checks to specific candidates and were reimbursed by the bowl.

Such reimbursement would violate state and federal laws that prohibit funneling corporate campaign contributions through individuals. Participants could be charged with misdemeanors and felonies.

"If employees are giving contributions and they were being reimbursed, it's illegal, and it's something we definitely would review," said Amy Bjelland, state elections director.

John Junker, the Fiesta Bowl's chief executive, said employees never were reimbursed and the bowl did not orchestrate donations.

Really, the entire article (which, if you've got 15 minutes, we would suggest reading in full) is a case study in the necessity of follow-ups and fact-checking. Anyone can accuse someone of corruption. Only listen to the ones who have the paper trail to back it up.

But back to the subject we all really care about: the game itself. Even if this ends in Junker going to jail (and from the sound of it, he covered his ass well enough that that's not going to happen), the likelihood of anything actually happening to the bowl itself--now or in the near future--is low. After all, even as it seems that politicians have been remarkably friendly and beneficial to the Fiesta Bowl, the things they need seem safe in near perpetuity. That would be a major sponsor, a stadium to play in, and BCS affiliation. We don't expect any of those to go away--it'd be bad for business.

Still, expect Jerry Jones to raise a major stink about all this. As the Central notes, the one bowl that stands to gain the most is the Fiesta's "rival," the Cotton Bowl. The Cotton Bowl has struggled to maintain its high visibility in the wake of the SWC's demise (Its replacement on the national scene? The Fiesta. Viva La Fiesta!), but its placement in the new Gargantutron Cowboy Stadium gives it enormous leverage for a higher level of prestige. Suffice it to say, Double J will not let this controversy go unnoticed.

What should not happen is the notion that Iowa's somehow "better off" for not being in the Fiesta Bowl this year. It's still the same bowl. To pretend otherwise is the very definition of sour grapes. Iowa should still be in that bowl and Adrian Clayborn should still be sodomizing Kellen Moore with Moore's severed right arm. But at least now we can (quite spuriously and speciously) claim that Iowa deserved the spot, but their snub was only because Junker'n them's all a bunch of corrupt, money-grubbing fools anyway. Open season on that.