SBD/March 13, 2014/Colleges

IRS Audits Of Bowl Games Becoming More Frequent In Wake Of '11 Fiesta Bowl Scandal

Catlett said the IRS has been reviewing bowl games since the '11 Fiesta Bowl
Gator Bowl Sports President & CEO Rick Catlett yesterday said he is "not the least bit concerned" about a pending IRS audit of his event, according to Garry Smits of the FLORIDA TIMES-UNION. Catlett said that the IRS has "been conducting random reviews of bowl games that are classified as non-profit since the scandal" involving the '11 Fiesta Bowl. In addition to the TaxSlayer.com Bowl, other games audited were the Fight Hunger Bowl and Valero Alamo Bowl (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 3/13). Fight Hunger Bowl Exec Dir Gary Cavalli said that the S.F. Bowl Game Association received a "clean bill of health" in January after the IRS inspected financial spikes during the '10-11 FY. He added that after "no red flags, the SFBGA can continue as a non-profit organization." CBSSPORTS.com's Jeremy Fowler cites a source as saying that the bowl's internal auditor is "speaking at the Football Bowl Association convention in April about how to respond to an IRS audit." Cavalli said that with bowls "constantly fighting the perception game," he hopes that "every bowl that gets audited has a favorable outcome." Cavalli: "The Fiesta Bowl experience really changed a lot of things in the bowl industry. ... Thirty-four of 35 bowls were doing things right" (CBSSPORTS.com, 3/12).

SPEAK OF THE DEVIL: The AP's Jacques Billeaud reports former Fiesta Bowl CEO John Junker today faces sentencing in federal court after he "acknowledged participating in an illegal campaign contribution scheme." He pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charges, and prosecutors "want a one-year prison sentence, while Junker has asked for probation" from U.S. District Court Judge David Campbell. Junker also faces a March 20 sentencing in Arizona state court. The scandal "jeopardized the bowl's NCAA license and its status as one of four bowls in the national college football championship rotation" (AP, 3/13). NEWSWEEK's John Walters writes Junker symbolically "became the face of hubris and corruption that sports media and the public had long suspected was rampant in the stacked-deck ecosystem" of the BCS (NEWSWEEK.com, 3/12).
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