PHOENIX – There is talk that the Fiesta Bowl could lose its BCS affiliation in the wake of a 300-page report alleging financial misconduct and political campaign violations on the part of now former Fiesta Bowl president and CEO John Junker.
As a result of that scathing report, Junker was fired on Tuesday.
3TV’s sports director Brad Cesmat said the BCS contract with the Fiesta Bowl runs through Jan. 1, 2014, so while the bowl probably will not lose its place in the BCS lineup, the organization will be under intense scrutiny.
“The entire Fiesta Bowl family is angered and disappointed by what we have seen in this report and by the actions of Mr. Junker,” Duane Woods, the Fiesta Bowl chairman, said Tuesday. “We’re convinced that by being forthright and getting all the facts out, that when we sit down with the BCS … that we can show them that we’ve taken the right actions …. We’re confident that we will retain our BCS status for the bowl going forward.”
Bill Hancock, the executive director of the BCS, and his staff are scheduled to come to Phoenix in two weeks.
“They want transparency. They want answers,” Cesmat said. Next month, the Fiesta Bowl team will go to New Orleans for a general meeting with the BCS. The Junker report will likely play a big part in that meeting.
“They’re expecting to be raked over the coals and rightly so,” Cesmat said. “This is a disgrace. This is an embarrassment to a great, great civic event.”
The Fiesta Bowl involves more than just a single college football game. In addition to the related events like the band competition and the parade, the Fiesta Bowl has a major financial impact on Arizona.
Cesmat pointed out that while Junker has done many good things for the community, the myriad of allegations in the report are extremely serious.
“This investigation was deep,” he said. "To think it's only isolated to the Fiesta Bowl is a joke. Anybody in a pastel jacket -- at the Orange Bowl, the Sugar Bowl and the Rose Bowl -- better be sweating bullets. I'm sure there's some paper that's going to be shredded somewhere."
Looking at the extensive report, Cesmat said the Fiesta Bowl leadership was left with no choice but to make a change.
At this point, Junker has not admitted guilt to any of the allegations in the report, nor has he apologized.