Fiesta Bowl fined $1 million, to stay in BCS

Sports Network

, Last Updated: 9:57 PM ET

SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ. - The Fiesta Bowl was dealt several sanctions following a lengthy investigation regarding a highly-publicized scandal, but will nonetheless remain in the Bowl Championship Series.

Among the penalties handed down by the BCS presidential oversight committee was a $1 million fine -- with the proceeds benefiting youth in Arizona -- and six other measures to improve the governance of the bowl.

Longtime Fiesta Bowl president and CEO John Junker was fired in March when a task force uncovered, among other things, a scheme to reimburse improper political campaign contributions.

Alerted by an employee who came forward to provide information about alleged misconduct, the Fiesta Bowl board of directors formed an independent special committee to investigate.

The investigation uncovered many facts, including:

- An apparent scheme to reimburse at least $46,539 in improper campaign contributions.

- A flawed initial investigation and an apparent conspiracy to conceal the reimbursement scheme from the Board of Directors and state officials.

- Unauthorized and excessive compensation, non-business and inappropriate expenditures and inappropriate gifts.

"The task force is deeply troubled by the evidence set forth in the [Fiesta Bowl's] Special Committee's report," said Graham Spanier, president of Penn State and the chairman of the task force heading the investigation. "That evidence strongly suggests that the bowl's executive staff frequently acted with scant regard for ethics and proper conduct. Further, it is the opinion of the task force that the Bowl's board of directors over the years was negligent in its oversight responsibilities."

Even though the bowl is, at the moment, still part of the BCS, the NCAA has yet to decide whether to continue licensing the bowl.

"The BCS task force actions regarding the Fiesta Bowl are serious and constructive steps in the right direction," NCAA vice president of communications Bob Williams said. "The NCAA postseason bowl licensing subcommittee will review the task force report as it considers whether to reaffirm the Fiesta Bowl and Insight Bowl licenses for the coming season. The subcommittee is planning to meet next week and expects to make a decision in the near future."


Videos

Photos