Ducks to play in Felony Bowl

UO is headed for the Fiesta Bowl, unless the NCAA steps in with those long dreaded sanctions over the Chip Kelly / Willie Lyles deal. The Arizona bowl’s former CEO is to be sentenced on multiple federal felony charges on Monday, and state charges Wednesday sometime next year since he’s now singing to the cops.
The Fiesta bowl is famous for corruption even by the NCAA’s competitive standards. NYT story here. Former CEO John Junkers – paid $600,000 plus expenses by the non-profit organization – has pled guilty to a felony charge of using profits from the non-profit bowl to buy off state politicians. There were other lapses involving the use of Fiesta money for purposes as varied as treating “student athletes” to strip club visits to buying flowers for UT admissions officers who were evaluating his daughter’s honors college application. You might think that covers the spectrum, but the 283 page report has more:

And what with all the gold coins you’d be right to guess there’s not going to be much left over for the players. Oh right, they’re amateurs. I mean for the administrators. UO’s 2011 Fiesta trip left the AD with a $285K loss. Last week I asked Lorraine Davis for the list of administrators and families that would travel with the team to this year’s bowl game, but no answer yet.

Sam Stites had a great ODE story on the Rose Bowl costs last year. The Fiesta bowl people are presumably creative enough accountants to have already deducted a fat travel allowance from the payout, so Rob Mullens can claim it’s really not costing UO anything to take the athletic department’s Johnson Hall stooges off on yet another junket. Right, Lorraine?

Some of the money used for the political payoffs apparently came from UO’s 2011 Bowl appearance. Playoffpac.com had the story on another Fiesta kickback scandal, here, and here’s some info from my post on that:

From Sports Illustrated:

“We believe that this arrangement may violate Connecticut’s prohibition on ‘receiving kickbacks,”’ the PAC’s co-founder, Matthew Sanderson, wrote in a complaint filed with state Attorney General George Jepsen, obtained by The Associated Press. UConn lost this year’s Fiesta Bowl to Oklahoma and also lost money on the game. In the complaint, Sanderson noted UConn spent $460,000 in hotel lodging and meals. 

Here’s the complaint filed with the Connecticut AG – apparently they filed a similar one with Oregon AG John Kroger, no idea what became of it. Oregon of course played in the BCS championship at the Fiesta Bowl in 2011. The athletic department paid the organizers $706,541 for food and lodging. Where did the kickback money go? Apparently the organizers spent a chunk of it on illegal political contributions and strippers. I’m not kidding, NYT story here.

Oregon State President Ed Ray criticized the Fiesta Bowl situation in the Oregonian back in March, when the original scandal broke. Former UO President Frohnmayer was a longtime president of the BCS, which oversaw – if that’s the right word – the Fiesta Bowl, and he is still a vigorous BCS supporter.

Your mother is an NCAA violation

9/26/2011: According to Yahoo sports Willie Lyles took money from Tennessee and used it to pay for airfare for some player’s mother to visit campus on a recruiting visit:

An assistant coach during Lane Kiffin’s tenure at the University of Tennessee wired $1,500 to a talent scout in July 2009, funding the airfare for an unofficial recruiting trip by then five-star prospect Lache Seastrunk and his mother, Yahoo! Sports has learned.

This is a major violation of the NCAA rule that no black people are allowed to make money off the sweat and blood of college football players. Not even a trip to campus for Mom. The money is just for coaches and NCAA insiders. Willie Lyles is not the corrupt part of this system – the NCAA is.

Thanks to George Schroeder’s twitter feed for the link. Warning – following Schroeder is like moving to a flood zone – you will be inundated. Schroeder also has a link to this Arizona Republic series on BCS corruption. Many, many millions of dollars more, siphoned off for all sorts of corrupt deals. Whoever was chair of the BCS Compliance Committee when this was going down has got to be getting a little worried.

Fiesta bowl kickbacks pay for strippers

8/15/2011: (Also see Bojack.org) Where does the little bit of athletics money that is left over after paying the coaches, AD Rob Mullens, and car payments for most of the athletics department go? Overpriced hotel rooms, with kickbacks to the bowl organizers, of course. Playoffpac.com has the story here.

Economist Andy Zimbalist says:

“This is an anticompetitive tying arrangement, that requires consumers to end up of having less choice and spend more money.  There’s an intermediary that is siphoning off revenue from the producers, which are the schools.”

“We believe that this arrangement may violate Connecticut’s prohibition on ‘receiving kickbacks,”’ the PAC’s co-founder, Matthew Sanderson, wrote in a complaint filed with state Attorney General George Jepsen, obtained by The Associated Press. UConn lost this year’s Fiesta Bowl to Oklahoma and also lost money on the game. In the complaint, Sanderson noted UConn spent $460,000 in hotel lodging and meals. 

Here’s the complaint filed with the Connecticut AG – apparently they filed a similar one with Oregon AG John Kroger. Oregon of course played in the BCS championship at the Fiesta Bowl in 2011. The athletic department paid the organizers $706,541 for food and lodging. Where did the kickback money go? Apparently the organizers spent a chunk of it on illegal political contributions and strippers. I’m not kidding, NYT story here.

Oregon State President Ed Ray criticized the Fiesta Bowl situation in the Oregonian back in March, when the original scandal broke. Former UO President Frohnmayer was a longtime president of the BCS, which oversaw – if that’s the right word – the Fiesta Bowl, and he is still a vigorous BCS supporter.

Fiesta Bowl follies

3/29/2011: From Katie Thomas in the NY Times:

… 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.

The investigators do not make conclusions about whether bowl
executives or others broke the law, but at least one expert in nonprofit
organizations said the findings could lead to criminal charges. At
minimum, the investigation is likely to threaten the tax-exempt status
of the bowl, which, like most other prominent organizations in college
sports, is formally registered as a charity….

Schoeffler was reimbursed for six other visits to the same strip club,
even though the Fiesta Bowl employee manual prohibits reimbursements for
strip club entertainment. 

Some of the expenses appeared to be personal in nature. Last year,
Junker’s daughter, Lucy, was seeking admission to the honors program at
the University of Texas.
The Fiesta Bowl paid $75 to send flowers to the head of the honors
admissions program. Lucy Junker was accepted into the program, according
to the report.

The Fiesta Bowl is one of the members of the “Bowl Championship Series”. UO President Emeritus Dave Frohnmayer was head of the BCS until July 2009. Frohnmayer on the bowls:

“It’s an
unparalleled opportunity to raise philanthropic funds, which by the way,
go to far more than athletic endeavors….  

Yes, they certainly do.

BCS official under investigation

2/16/2011: College athletics is corrupt to the core. The PlayoffPAC website has story after story:

“Tostitos Fiesta Bowl CEO John Junker, a fixture with the game for three decades and one of college football’s most prominent bowl executives, was placed on administrative leave Monday as officials continue to investigate allegations that he and others orchestrated improper political contributions.” — Steve Weiberg, USA Today (Feb. 15, 2011).

No word yet on the investigation of the $440,000 in contributions Pat Kilkenny gave UO President Dave Frohnmayer’s Fanconi Foundation, as part of his efforts to get the Matt Court Arena approved.