UF trustee has hand in Orange Bowl
Published: Tuesday, January 29, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 28, 2008 at 11:57 p.m.
Danny Ponce, a newly appointed University of Florida trustee, was installed last week as the president and chairman of the Orange Bowl Committee.
So should Gator football fans start gearing up for a trip to Miami next year? Not necessarily. Ponce says he won't play favorites, adding that there's "absolutely, not even close" to a conflict of interest with him serving as a UF trustee and big-time bowl executive.
The Orange Bowl is the site of this year's BCS National Championship, and Ponce says, "I have invited every school I know with one caveat: You have to be No. 1 or No. 2."
The BCS Championship automatically pairs the first- and second-ranked college football teams, but the Orange Bowl game - played a week earlier - has more leeway in the selection process.
The Atlantic Coast Conference champion is contractually committed to play in the Orange Bowl - unless the ACC champ qualifies for the BCS Championship - but the bowl committee has some discretion in selecting other qualified teams. Thus the conflict of interest question.
"There is a clear series of checks and balances within our committee," said Larry Wahl, spokesman for the Orange Bowl. "It's not one person making that final decision, but again Danny in his role will lead the organization through this year."
Trustees from other universities, including the University of Miami, have previously served as presidents of the bowl, Wahl said.
The business of being No. 1: The University of Florida is going the distance to reach business students.
UF's Warrington College of Business came in at No. 1 in distance-learning rankings compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit, an analysis firm that belongs to the same group as The Economist news magazine.
UF's masters in business administration program was the only such program at a public school in the U.S. to rank in the top 10. In its rankings, the Economist Intelligence Unit examined program content, the quality of students and the effectiveness of distance-learning materials.
Taking a walk: The University of Florida's first lady is looking for walking partners.
Chris Machen, the wife of UF President Bernie Machen, will participate in an exercise initiative on campus beginning today. She will lead a 20-minute walk beginning at 12:30 p.m. at Library East, and anyone is welcome to join. The walk is part of the Healthy Gators 2010 program, which focuses on the promotion of stress relief and physical activity.
Other walks will be held every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday throughout the spring semester. For more information, including route maps, visit http://healthy gators. hhp.ufl.edu/.
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