Surprise: AZ ethics panel finds ticket violations with Fiesta Bowl

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In an effort to move the Fiesta Bowl story disaster along another notch, an Arizona Senate ethics committee found that some politicians have (shock) violated state law by accepting free football tickets from the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, the Associated Press is reporting.

As you might recall, the bowl was previously doing its darndest to rectify its many, may wrongs by invoicing politicians for free tickets and travel.

It worked, sort of; the bowl was allowed to keep its BCS status, but fined $1 million.

The ethics senate committee — led by Ron Gould — filed a review of lawmakers’ financial disclosure reports after the Fiesta Bowl launched its internal investigation in March. Gould said some reports released by lawmakers have been amended to include the free tickets received by the bowl, but would not specify how many politicians took part in accepting illegal tickets and travel from the bowl.

Legislators can accept free travel, but must report it. Apparently, that little tidbit must have been overlooked.

Oops.

However, Gould said he would not pursue further action at this time because he didn’t want to interfere with an ongoing criminal investigation.

At least one Arizona state politician  — Russell Pearce, R-Mesa — released documents to the AP that reportedly show a reimbursement of $570 for tickets. Pearce also released nine years worth of amended financial disclosure documents that included gifts from the bowl.

Pearce said he demonstrated a “clear pattern of compliance” with state laws restricting acceptance of gifts.

Oh yeah, lots of compliance going on here.

Miami fires offensive coordinator Josh Gattis after 1 season

josh gattis fired
Reinhold Matay/USA TODAY Sports
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CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Miami fired offensive coordinator Josh Gattis on Friday, ending the former Broyles Award winner’s time with the Hurricanes after only one season.

The school announced the move in a one-sentence press release, with no other detail: “Josh Gattis has been relieved of his duties as offensive coordinator, Miami head football coach Mario Cristobal announced Friday,” read the release, sent from a university spokesman.

The Hurricanes went 5-7 in Gattis’ lone season. He was brought in by Miami only a few weeks after winning the 2021 Broyles Award – given to the nation’s top assistant coach – while serving as Michigan’s offensive coordinator and helping the Wolverines reach the College Football Playoff.

But Miami’s offense, for a number of reasons, failed to meet expectations in 2022. Part of that was injuries; starting quarterback Tyler Van Dyke battled a shoulder injury, and the Hurricanes turned to Jake Garcia – who has since transferred – and Jacurri Brown for much of the season.

Miami scored 100 points in its first two games last fall, overpowering Bethune-Cookman and Southern Miss. The Hurricanes averaged only 18.3 points the rest of the way, and finished the year 5-0 in games where the defense allowed no more than 14 points – but 0-7 when opponents scored more than 14.

Miami was 86th nationally in total offense last season, averaging 367.1 yards per game, and 97th in scoring offense.

Gattis played at Wake Forest and worked at North Carolina, Western Michigan, Vanderbilt, Penn State, Alabama and Michigan before coming to Miami.

Audit: LSU discovered $1M overpayment to Kelly in 2022

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
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BATON ROUGE, La. – LSU accidentally overpaid Tigers football coach Brian Kelly by $1 million during the first year of a 10-year, $100 million contract, but discovered the error and has moved to correct it, the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s office said Wednesday.

Kelly was overpaid $1,001,368 in supplemental payments in 2022 because duplicate payments made both to Kelly’s LLC and to the coach directly.

The double payments began in May and continued until LSU officials detected the errors in November.

“LSU management and the head football coach have enacted an adjusted payment schedule so the amount of overpayment will be recouped by the conclusion of fiscal year 2023,” the Legislative Auditor’s report stated.

Kelly, who previously coached at Notre Dame for 12 seasons, was hired by LSU after the 2021 season, when the Tigers went 6-7 for its first losing season since 1999.

LSU exceeded expectations in Kelly’s first season in Baton Rouge, winning the SEC West Division and finishing 10-4 after a 63-7 victory over Purdue in the Citrus Bowl.