This promises to be a good week of reading for college football fans.
The Arizona Republic has published the first story of a seven-part series that will examine the Bowl Championship Series. In June, reporter Craig Harris started the process of obtaining annual tax returns for the groups that run the four BCS bowls and its title game. He also obtained records of public subsidies given to the bowls and filed records requests with the 58 public universities that are associated with the BCS. He got back more than 1,000 documents.
Among his findings:
- Analysis showed that 41% of teams from public universities playing in BCS games reported financial losses.
- Pay for the highest executives at BCS bowls has more than doubled since the four games united in the late 1990s, with average annual executive compensation exceeding $500,000.
- The Sugar, Orange and Fiesta bowls, which are run by nonprofit organizations, have accepted government subsidies even as their revenue and assets have grown.
- The BCS has spent at least $60,000 annually on political lobbyists since 2003.
All of the stories in the series will be available off this link. The second piece will examine the cost for teams playing in a top game.
Harris is the reporter behind a series of stories that detailed political contributions made by the Fiesta Bowl through its employees, who were then reimbursed by the bowl for their donations. It led to an ongoing criminal investigation of the bowl and the firing of Fiesta CEO John Junker. Stories in that series are available off this link.