The NCAA on Thursday gave the debt-ridden organizer of the Freedom Bowl more time to provide information about how it plans to finance the event.
The NCAA Bowl Committee had established Thursday as an informal deadline for the Orange County Sports Assn. to put together a sponsorship package that would lead to certification of the game, which has been plagued by poor attendance during its 11-year run at Anaheim Stadium.
But NCAA Assistant Executive Director David Cawood indicated that after speaking with Orange County Sports Assn. Executive Director Jerry McGee, he needed more information on some items of a proposed financial package before he could take the issue to the NCAA Bowl Committee.
Cawood said it would be at least the middle of next week before any action on the bowl game would take place.
"There was certainly nothing magical about June 15," he said. "But we are getting to the point where something will need to be decided. It's in the interest of everyone that we move forward as soon as possible."
McGee said key issues include whether the association can secure a television deal and whether it has found a sponsor who will underwrite the cost of the game.
"We have covered several issues with the NCAA that we feel confident with, and the NCAA feels confident with," McGee said. "There are still a couple of issues that we need to resolve."
Negotiations with ESPN and Raycom about broadcasting the game, which would take place in late December, are continuing with "significant progress," McGee said. A national television deal is believed crucial to the future of the bowl game because it would probably make the event more palatable for a sponsor.
The Orange County Sports Assn. is $1.7 million in debt and much of that is because of the Freedom Bowl. The 1994 game between Utah and Arizona drew 27,477, the smallest crowd since the inaugural game.
If the bowl continues, the OCSA had indicated it would change the game's name to the Big Orange Classic. The Western Athletic Conference has a verbal agreement to allow its third-place team to face an at-large team sometime during the week of Dec. 26-31.
NCAA Bowl Committee chairman and Notre Dame Athletic Director Richard Rosenthal said he would like to see the game continue.
"There are a lot of deserving teams who are very anxious to play in a bowl game," he said.