You may have heard something before about a scandal involving the Fiesta Bowl and its president and CEO John Junker, but you're probably going to hear more about that scandal now that the scathing, official report has been released. In case you've got a bottle of Adderall and a case of Mountain Dew just laying around with nothing to do for the rest of the night, click here for the full 283-page report (warning: PDF). For the rest of you, the relevant highlights, starting with ESPN:
The Fiesta Bowl fired president and CEO John Junker after a scathing internal report released Tuesday found "an apparent scheme" to reimburse employees for political contributions and "an apparent conspiracy" to cover it up.
The reimbursements, listed as at least $46,539, appear to violate state and federal campaign finance laws. The Arizona attorney general's office is conducting a probe of the matter.
The New York Times:
Top executives at the Fiesta Bowl, the host of one of the nation’s pre-eminent college football games, funneled campaign contributions to local politicians, flew other Arizona elected officials around the country at the bowl’s expense ... and even spent $30,000 on a birthday party for the chief executive, according to an investigative report commissioned by the bowl’s board of directors.
The most serious revelations involve nearly a dozen employees who told investigators that the chief executive and others working for the bowl encouraged them to make political contributions, then reimbursed them with phony bonus payments. Some said they then were pressured to lie about the practice.
Oh, and yes, it gets even better:
Now, ordinarily I wouldn't mention any of this aside from the obvious amusements to be found, but it turns out that the potential fallout for the Fiesta Bowl from this scandal is much more than mere embarrassment. Per CBS Sports:
In an unprecedented move, the BCS has asked the Fiesta Bowl to "to demonstrate why it should remain a BCS bowl game."
"We have asked the bowl to demonstrate why it should remain a BCS bowl game," the statement continues. "If the bowl remains a part of the BCS, its handling of this matter will be closely monitored going forward.
"It is imperative that Fiesta Bowl officials take all necessary steps to fully address and correct the problems they have reported."
For what it's worth the Fiesta Bowl has three years left with its four-year contract with the BCS, so any possible changes would probably not take effect until 2015, but the possibility is certainly there at this juncture. And, yes, that sound you hear is Jerry Jones squirming like a little girl. Jones has been trying to revitalize the Cotton Bowl and use it as a way of getting a BCS game played every year at JerryLand, and with little doubt he'll be leading the effort to oust the Fiesta Bowl from its current place and have the Cotton Bowl elevated to BCS status as the replacement.