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Originally published March 29, 2011 at 8:32 PM | Page modified March 29, 2011 at 8:39 PM

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Fiesta Bowl ousts CEO

The Fiesta Bowl will be asked to justify its inclusion in the Bowl Championship Series after organizers for the Arizona game fired president and CEO John Junker for "an apparent scheme" to reimburse employees for political contributions and "an apparent conspiracy" to cover it up.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The Fiesta Bowl will be asked to justify its inclusion in the Bowl Championship Series after organizers for the Arizona game fired president and CEO John Junker for "an apparent scheme" to reimburse employees for political contributions and "an apparent conspiracy" to cover it up.

The Fiesta Bowl released a scathing internal report Tuesday.

The reimbursements, listed as at least $46,539, are an apparent violation of state campaign finance laws and the charter that allows the Fiesta Bowl its nonprofit status. The Arizona attorney general's office is conducting a probe of the matter.

The BCS reacted swiftly, saying it would undertake an investigation to "consider whether the Fiesta Bowl should remain a BCS bowl game or other appropriate sanctions."

The Fiesta board of directors voted unanimously to fire Junker "for his improper and inappropriate activities documented" in the report.

Junker, in his ubiquitous bright yellow Fiesta Bowl sports jacket, had been the face of the event for three decades, leading it from an upstart event to one of the BCS giants. With an annual salary of about $600,000, he had been on paid administrative leave since Feb. 4 after the board said he failed to comply with two written directives to cooperate with the investigation.

The board said the probe uncovered "excessive compensation, nonbusiness and inappropriate expenditures and inappropriate gifts."

Note

• Four former Auburn players — Chaz Ramsey, Troy Reddick, Stanley McClover and Raven Gray — appeared on "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel" on HBO and said they received money from boosters during their time at the school. All four played during Tommy Tuberville's time as Auburn's coach.

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