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September 30, 2011

Nonprofit Bowl Games Provide Little to Charity, Review Finds

College football's postseason bowl games, which are largely run by nonprofit groups and have touted their commitment to community activities, have given only a fraction of their revenue to charity in recent years, according to The Arizona Republic.

The nonprofit organizations that ran 24 U.S. bowl games in 2009-10 took in $202-million and donated $3.7-million, about 1.8 percent.

The Fiesta, Orange, Rose, and Sugar bowls, which make up the Bowl Championship Series, have donated about 2 percent of their revenue since the start of the series in 1998-99 to determine college football's national champion.

Derrick Fox, CEO of the Alamo Bowl, said in congressional testimony two years ago that "up to one-quarter" of bowl proceeds "are dedicated to the community," with charities getting "tens of millions of dollars every year."

In a statement issued by the Alamo Bowl, Mr. Fox said his 2009 comments were "based upon my conversations and interactions with numerous bowl organizations."

The article was part of an investigative series by the Arizona daily examining the finances of college football's postseason games, particularly the four championship bowls.

The tax-exempt groups that run the games have come under increasing scrutiny following an investigation of alleged financial misconduct by officials at the Fiesta Bowl, in Tempe.