Fiesta Bowl executive placed on leave in wake of investigation

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Well, this certainly doesn’t look promising.

Yesterday, we wrote that officials from the Fiesta Bowl had preemptively hired a defense lawyer in the wake of what might be a critical IRS investigation involving improper political campaign contributions made by bowl employees. Initially reported in 2009 by the Arizona Republic, those contributions were supposedly reimbursed by the bowl, a major  tax-exempt no-no.

Perhaps consequently, it was announced today that Fiesta Bowl chief executive John Junker (great name) has been placed on an indefinite administrative leave while the investigation is ongoing.

Past chairman and long-time volunteer Alan Young will serve as chief of staff for the organization in the meantime.

There has been no timetable set for how long the investigation will take, but if evidence of wrongdoing is found by state and/or federal investigators, Junker and company could be subject to either misdemeanor or felony charges.

The college football political activist group PlayoffPAC initially inquired about the dealings. The group also filed a complaint to the IRS about a pleasure business cruise between Orange Bowl and ACC officials in January.

If either investigation shines any light on financial corruption within the bowls (shocker?), it may* finally provide the fuel legislators need to make a serious push for a change in postseason play in major college football.

*Note: and by “may”, we mean a snowball’s chance in Hell