Group: Top bowls skirting tax rules

September 23, 2010

Opponents of how the NCAA crowns its champion accused three of the nation's top bowls of violating their tax-exempt status by paying excessive salaries and perks, providing "sweetheart loans" and doing undisclosed lobbying.

Playoff PAC, a political action committee that wants the bowls replaced with a playoff, plans to file a complaint with the Internal Revenue Service on Thursday against the operators of the Fiesta, Sugar and Orange Bowls, three of the five games that constitute the Bowl Championship Series. The Associated Press obtained a copy of the complaint prior to its filing.

A team of six lawyers and one accountant, working for no compensation, reviewed 2,300 pages of tax returns and public documents. The Pasadena, Calif.-based Rose Bowl was found to be "fairly free of these irregularities," Playoff PAC co-founder Matthew Sanderson said.

The bowls operate as 501(c)3 charities and may not operate for the benefit of private interests.

The Fiesta Bowl called the allegations "dated, tired and discredited."

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