Fiesta Bowl cans long-time CEO Junker

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The results of a months-long internal investigation into alleged campaign contribution violations and other financial misconduct are in, and the findings were not kind to the long-time leader of the BcS bowl.

John Junker, who was placed on indefinite administrative leave back in February, has been “terminated with cause“, the Fiesta Bowl announced Tuesday afternoon.  Junker was named the bowl’s executive director in 1990, and was promoted to president and chief executive officer in 2000.

In the report released by the bowl this afternoon, which can be read in its entirety HERE, it was determined that at least $46,500 in illegal campaign contributions were funneled to various politicians by the bowl and its employees.  It was found that employees were encouraged to write checks to specific political candidates, and were then reimbursed by the bowl with bogus bonuses.

Junker may also face criminal charges relating to the campaign contributions, although the report did not conclude one way or the other whether he had broken any laws.  Another offshoot of the investigation could be that the Fiesta Bowl’s tax-exempt status could be called into question based on the questionable manner in which funds were handled by an entity that’s technically considered a charity.

Additionally, Bill Hancock, commissioner of the BcS, told the Arizona Republic that the Fiesta Bowl could lose its spot in the championship series.

“The BCS group takes this matter very seriously and will consider whether they keep a BCS bowl game, and we will consider other appropriate sanctions,” Hancock told the paper. “If the bowl does remain a BCS bowl its handling of thing will be closely monitored going forward.”

Among the numerous allegations of impropriety levied against Junker, the investigation into the not-for-profit found that the bowl had spent $33,000 on a four-day Pebble Beach party to celebrate Junker’s 50th birthday back in 2005.  The report also details a trip Junker and two other individuals took to a Phoenix strip club, after which he expensed the $1,200 spent that night.  Junker claimed there were valid business reasons behind the nudity.

“We are in the business where big strong athletes are known to attend these types of establishments. It was important for us to visit and we certainly conducted business.”

You certainly did, Mr. Junker.  You certainly did.

Junker, who earned in excess of $600,000 as the Fiesta Bowl’s CEO, also received several perks from the bowl.  Among those perks were memberships at four country clubs, paid for by the bowl.  If you want to get an idea of just how unscrupulous Junker is/was, read the following excerpt from the report:

Based on current rates, the Fiesta Bowl pays $10,800 per year for Junker’s membership at Whisper Rock Golf Club. Memberships in the Whisper Rock Golf Club for Junker and Blouin were purchased through separate $100,000 interest-free loans that the Fiesta Bowl granted to Junker and Blouin in April 2002. Under the terms of the promissory notes, Junker and Blouin were to each pay back the $100,000 loan through a $10,000 payment made to the Fiesta Bowl each year. Junker’s and Blouin’s compensation was then increased each year by $10,000, plus tax withholding, so that the additional payment made by the Fiesta Bowl would net to $10,000.

After reading the full report, it makes perfect sense that a bowl such as the Fiesta is in bed with a cartel like the BcS.  The two entities are truly a match made in gutter heaven.

Even with legal case (mostly) settled, WR Joshua Moore’s status at Texas won’t be determined until closer to start of 2020 season

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Even as the off-field aspect was cleared up for one member of the Texas Longhorns football program, there’s still no clarity as it relates to him getting back onto the field.  And likely won’t be clarified for a few months.

In August, Joshua Moore was arrested on a charge of unlawful carrying of a weapon. Thursday, the wide receiver pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor weapons charge. Moore avoided jail time with the plea, with the Austin American-Statesman writing that “[t]he deferred adjudication agreement states [Judge Nancy] Hohengarten will not enter a guilty finding if Moore stays out of further legal trouble over the next year, completes 60 hours of community service and fulfills any counseling conditions the probation department recommends.”

Because of the off-field situation, Moore was not permitted to play in games for Texas Longhorns football last season. He was, though, allowed to practice with the rest of his UT teammates.

A Texas Longhorns football official stated after the player’s plea that a decision on whether Moore will be permitted to play in games in 2020 won’t be determined until closer to the season kicking off.

A four-star 2018 signee, Moore played in the first six games as a true freshman before going down with a season-ending shoulder injury. In that half-season of work, the 6-1, 180-pound receiver totaled 53 yards and a touchdown on seven receptions.

If he’s cleared to play in games — the odds are very much in his favor, provided he doesn’t violate the terms of his plea agreement — Moore is expected to take on a bigger role in the Texas Longhorns football passing game in 2020.

New Colorado head coach Karl Dorrell retains four of Mel Tucker’s assistants

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Karl Dorrell‘s first Colorado football coaching staff will have a decidedly Mel Tucker feel to it.

Feb. 12, Tucker left Colorado football to take over as the head coach at Michigan State.  Eleven days later, Dorrell was the surprise hire as Tucker’s replacement.  Dorrell’s first hirings four days his official hiring will actually be retentions as the program announced that four of Tucker’s former assistants will remain as part of the new coaching staff.

Those four are:

  • Darrin Chiaverini (wide receivers coach/assistant head coach under Tucker)
  • Darian Hagan (running backs coach)
  • Brian Michalowski (outside linebackers)
  • Tyson Summers (defensive coordinator/safeties)

According to the release from Colorado football, the holdovers’ “exact responsibilities will be determined once the remaining six assistant positions are filled, which Dorrell hopes to conclude sometime early next week.” It’s believed that Chiaverini will serve as Dorrell’s offensive coordinator, although, obviously, that hasn’t yet been confirmed.

“It’s always important if you can maintain some continuity during a coaching change,” the new Colorado football head coach said in a statement. “I’ve been around enough college and professional teams where doing so offers some stability. I had great conversations with all four and while I haven’t determined their exact roles as of yet, I am excited that we share the same goals and vision for the program. I am excited about all four and am looking forward to working with them.”

Both Chiaverini and Hagans have been a part of the Colorado football program for the past four seasons.  Both Summers and Michalowski were in their first years in Boulder.

Prior to his departure for East Lansing, Tucker had just completed his first season in Boulder, going 5-7.  Since a 10-4 2016 season, the Buffaloes have gone 5-7 each of the past three seasons.  That 2016 season is the program’s only winning record since 2005.

Former NFL linebacker joins Alabama staff as grad assistant

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Another day, another football staff change with the Alabama Crimson Tide. Alabama added former NFL linebacker Max Bullough to the football staff as a graduate assistant.

Bullough was actually on the staff at Cincinnati last season as a graduate assistant. Bullough got his coaching career undwrway with the Bearcats in 2019 a year after his last dip in the NFL with the Cleveland Browns. Bullough originally signed wiht the Houston Texans as an undrafted free agent in 2014.

Bullough did not play for Nick Saban in college, although the former Michigan State Spartans did play for a former Saban assistant, Mark Dantonio. With the Spartans, Bullough was  part of two Big Ten championship runs in 2010 and 2013. In the 2010 season, Bullough and Michigan State lost to Saban’s Alabama in the Capital One Bowl, 49-7. In 2013, Bullough and Michigan State upset No. 2 Ohio State in the Big Ten championship game, 34-24, to hand former Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer his first loss with the Buckeyes. The win sent Michigan State to the Rose Bowl, where they were victorious over Stanford.

Alabama recently lost long-time strength and conditioning coach Scott Cochran to an on-field coaching role at Georgia. The Tide also lost soecial teams coordinator Joe Houston to the New England Patriots. Alabama did add former Louisville, Texas, and USF head coach Charlie Strong as a defensive analyst. Offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian ended up sticking around and offensive analyst Butch Jones has been promoted to special assistant to the head coach.

Fresno State announces future games with Huskies, Cougars, Jayhawks and more

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If the full rollout of the 2020 Mountain West Conference schedule wasn’t enough to satisfy you, Fresno State kept the MWC schedule news humming with some additional non-conference bookings for future seasons.

On Thursday, Fresno State announced a handful of future scheduling agreements with Kansas, Texas Tech, Washington, Washington State, BYU, and New Mexico State. The Bulldogs will play a road game at Washington in 2027 and a home game against New Mexico State in 2024, bu all of the other scheduling agreement sin place will be either a home-and-home series or a 2-for-1 deal with Fresno State getting one home game against a power conference opponent.

Fresno State’s three-game series with Kansas will begin in 2025 and be spread out until 2031. Kansas will host Fresno State on Aug. 23, 2025 (hello there, early start to college football season!) and again on Aug. 23, 2031 (another early start to the season!). Fresno State will host Kansas on Aug. 25, 2029. Also in 2029, Fresno State will begin a three-game series with Texas Tech with a home game on Sept. 15, 2029. Fresno State will play the remaining two games against the Red Raiders on the road on Sept. 7, 2030 and again on Sept. 11, 2032.

Fresno State’s series with Washington State kicks off in Pullman on Sept. 19, 2026 and concludes the following season in Fresno on Sept. 18, 2027. Earlier in 2027, Fresno State will visit Washington on Sept. 4, 2027.

Fresno State will host BYU on Nov. 8, 2025. BYU will host Fresno State two years later on Oct. 9, 2027. Fresno State will host New Mexico State on Oct. 5, 2024.