March 30, 2011
I accepted the invitation to go on an Orange Bowl Cruise with many of my fellow athletic directors and conference commissioners. No one on the trip received any lavish gifts. I was honored to be a part of the group because it came the same week of conference realignment last year and most of the decision makers were together in the same room.
I publicly stated in the media at that time that I intended to participate in this trip, and blogged during and after the event about how fascinating it was to be among my peers during the intense realignment discussions. I understand some people want to get rid of the BCS but one should not compare the issues at the Fiesta Bowl with taking a trip to the Orange Bowl and any such comparison is invalid.
These trips are an accepted practice, and do not violate any rule set forth by any regulatory authority. Until a decision is made that athletic directors traveling to bowl functions be deemed unethical or illegal, these trips will continue because this is where business is done. This news broke in Miami almost six months ago but has resurfaced today because of the uproar over the BCS System.
I want to make it very clear that we go to great lengths to play within the rules, both on and off the field, and after these questions were raised today I even offered to withdraw from this committee if it would eliminate the questions and confusion. I was told that would be unnecessary. I personally would never do anything to impugn the reputation of the NCAA or Conference-USA.