Fiesta Bowl CEO Junker fired after internal probe

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by AP / Natalie Rivers

azfamily.com

Posted on March 29, 2011 at 12:32 PM

Updated Tuesday, Mar 29 at 5:30 PM

PHOENIX  -- The Fiesta Bowl has fired its longtime CEO John Junker after a scathing internal report found "an apparent scheme" to reimburse employees for political contributions.

Such reimbursements would be violations of state and federal campaign finance laws. The Arizona attorney general's office is conducting a probe of the matter.

Attorney General Tom Horne issued this statement,

“I want to thank the Fiesta Bowl Special Committee, chaired by former Chief Justice Ruth McGregor , for its independent investigation regarding certain allegations about the Fiesta Bowl and past and present employees of the Fiesta Bowl.  

The Fiesta Bowl Board deserves great credit for allowing the special committee full access to employees and documents so that it could prepare a comprehensive report. That report has been presented to our office and will assist us in the ongoing investigation of this matter."

The BCS has also appointed a task force to evaluate the bowl's finding and its recommendations.

"Unprofessional, unethical or improper behavior is unacceptable," said in a state from the BCS. "There is no place for such activities in higher education or in collegiate sports. It is expected that all parties contracted with the BCS will live up to the highest standards. We do not wish to be associated with entities that believe otherwise."

The BCS has asked the Fiesta Bowl to demonstrate why they should remain a BCS bowl game.

The task force comprised of university presidents, athletic directors and conference commissioners is going to begin looking into the findings immediately. No word on when the BCS plans to make a decision on the future of their relationship with the Fiesta Bowl.

The Fiesta Bowl said they are being proactive and hope to retain their relationship with the BCS.

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