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Former Fiesta Bowl CEO John Junker sentenced to eight months in prison

Sam Cooper
Dr. Saturday
NCAA Football: Fiesta Bowl-Oregon vs Kansas State
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General view of Kansas State Wildcats quarterback Collin Klein (7) taking the snap at midfield on the Fiesta Bowl logo against the Oregon Ducks in the 2013 Fiesta Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium

A former Fiesta Bowl CEO has been sentenced to prison time for his role in an illegal campaign contribution scheme that nearly cost the game its BCS status in 2011.

According to the Associated Press, John Junker pled guilty to a conspiracy charge two years ago and was sentenced to eight months in federal prison Thursday. Prosecutors hoped for a one-year sentence, while Junker had hoped for probation.

Junker and other bowl employees “made illegal campaign contributions” to politicians and were subsequently refunded by the bowl.

Junker, who served as the bowl’s CEO for 20 years before being fired in March 2011, also used bowl funds to pay for an employee wedding, a $1,200 visit to a strip club, his own birthday party, cars and country club memberships, among other things.

According to the AP, Junker acknowledged in his plea agreement that “he knew it was illegal to use other people’s names to mask political contributions” and he also admitted that he “made the decision to have the bowl reimburse contributors.”

The Fiesta Bowl was eventually allowed to remain part of the BCS, but only after paying a $1 million fine and strengthening its own board and staff.

The charge against Junker carried a maximum penalty of five years

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