Employees being reimbursed for political contributions. Four-day junkets to Pebble Beach. A trip to a strip club. Paying for personal country club memberships and a wedding for a top executive. All under the guise of a nonprofit organization.
While a 276-page report this week detailed misconduct by Fiesta Bowl officials that could bring felony charges, the Bowl Championship Series has been painting actions of the postseason game as isolated misconduct.
But Playoff PAC, the federal political committee dedicated to establishing a competitive postseason championship for big-time college football, suggests other BCS games are also engaging in misconduct. It released a statement Wednesday that detailed irregularities at the Orange and Sugar bowls.
Among its claims:
- The Orange Bowl sponsors an annual Caribbean Cruise that the bowl describes as a "complimentary getaway" for bowl staff and college football officials that features no business meetings.
- One out of every $10 that the Sugar Bowl takes in ends up in the hands of its top three executives.
- BCS bowls use charitable funds to fly bowl executives and spouses first-class, pay private club dues and foot the bill for employees' personal income taxes. The Orange Bowl, for example, spent $756,546 on travel in fiscal 2009 for its personnel.
- The Orange Bowl spent $331,938 on "parties" and "summer splash" in fiscal 2004, $42,281 on "golf" in fiscal 2004 and 2006, $535,764 on "gifts" in fiscal 2006 and $472,627 on "gifts" in fiscal 2008.
- The Sugar Bowl spent $201,226 on "gifts and bonuses" and $330,244 on "decorations" in fiscal 2008.
- The Orange Bowl spends over $100,000 per year on "postage and shipping" (10 times the amount that other BCS Bowls spend annually).
At the least, it would appear that bowls claiming to be nonprofits will be facing questions from the Internal Revenue Service.