There isn’t a single American in this great nation who doesn’t love college football bowl season.
Sure, there are way too many games to keep track of, the sheer number of games means that we eventually reward football teams with mediocre records, and the names of the games been completely taken over by big business–but all those negatives pale in comparison to the fact that we get to watch more football! Let them play. [lead image via SaturdayDownSouth]
But in addition to the fact that these college student athletes have the opportunity to play in one nationally televised games, another well-known perk of making it to a bowl are the gifts that you get. Each bowl game is responsible for picking out up to $550 of gifts for 125 players per school, and the different bowl game committees enjoy picking out unique gifts. Last year, at least $5.4 million were spent on bowl game gifts.
But what are the rules regarding the gifts? Here’s a rundown from SportsBusinessDaily.com:
The NCAA allows each bowl to award up to $550 worth of gifts to 125 participants per school. Schools can, and usually do, buy additional gifts that they can distribute to participants beyond that 125 limit. In addition, participants can receive awards worth up to $400 from the school and up to $400 from the conference for postseason play, covering both conference title games and bowl games.
Oftentimes, what ends up happening is that the committees choose one or two unique commemorative gifts that can help the players remember their time, and then bring the players to a gift suite–essentially allowing them to pick out one item. Often these gifts suites are packed with stuff like speakers, iPads, Playstations, etc. Stuff that college kids want, but certainly not what they need.
So here’s my question: there’s no question in my mind that these kids deserve the $550 (maximum) for making both the NCAA and their college a ton of money, but why does the NCAA allow these gifts (some of which are pre-paid credit cards) and not other gifts throughout the season? It seems more than just a little hypocritical to me. It seems like they’re saying “we can dole out what we think is appropriate for you,” meanwhile the money they need for other stuff isn’t around.
It would seem that the NCAA skates around the whole paying for playing by removing the actual prices from the gifts, and replacing them with points. At Oklahoma State University, players were able to choose from a variety of gifts that totaled seven points.
Speaking of which, here’s an interesting (unconfirmed) anecdote from Reddit regarding the players and what they do with their gifts:
I worked at Best Buy during college. The bowl game electronics were packaged in boxes saying, in large letters, “Not for resale” or something to that effect. Nonetheless, after the bowl game players would come in and try to return items.
Doesn’t that tell you something about what the players themselves want?
And look, there I went getting upset. This post is supposed to be about the awesome stuff these kids are getting, not about the unfair amount of money a governing body like the NCAA makes off of the backs of unpaid athletes. So let’s talk about what everyone loves: swag.
Behold, the full list of all the college bowl game gifts.
R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
Gift suite; Fossil watch.
AutoNation Cure Bowl
Nike pullover; flexfit, flat bill cap; watch; Tervis tumbler; commemorative metal ticket; chill towel; keychain.
Raycom Media Camellia Bowl
Gift suite; Fossil watch; commemorative game coin and case; cap and beanie; Ogio duffle bag; Big Game autograph football.
Gildan New Mexico Bowl
Gift Suite; Oakley backpack full of goodies
Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl
Gift Suite; Oakley Works backpack; an LV Bowl beanie and hat; and a long-sleeve t-shirt.
Miami Beach Bowl
Bluetooth speaker; Oakley Blade Wet/Dry 30 backpack; Under Armour bucket hat and sunglasses; beach towel; waterproof cellphone case; commemorative football
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Gift suite; Coleman two-person tent; beanie; Oakley backpack; Big Game football.
Boca Raton Bowl
Gift suite; beach towel; beach bag; Tervis tumbler; sunglasses; sports flip-flops
San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl
Gift suite; Fossil watch; cap.
Timely Watch Co. watch; Sol Republic Punk speakers; 32-quart Lit cooler; Wilson official souvenir game ball
Gift suite; Oakley backpack; cap; Rock ‘Em Apparel socks; Jabra Bluetooth speaker
Gift suite; Oakley sunglasses and backpack; Tori Richard aloha shirt; surf trunks; team performance wear; Urban Barrels beach bag and towel
St. Petersburg Bowl
Gift suite; Oakley backpack and Turbine sunglasses; commemorative football
Gift suite; Timely Watch Co. Silvertone watch; Majestic Pro Base fleece pullover; Ogio Politan backpack; cap; commemorative coin
Heart of Dallas Bowl
Gift suite; Ogio backpack with hydration bladder; commemorative football; beanie
Variety of New Era products
Gift suite; Timely Watch Co. watch; New Era knit skull cap; commemorative football
Foster Farms Bowl
Gift suite; Fossil watch
Microsoft Xbox One with Kinect bundle; Under Armour duffle bag
Quick Lane Bowl
JBL headphones; custom-made, life-sized decal for each player with his likeness; hoodie, winter hat, baseball cap; Ogio backpack; vintage football; $200 Best Buy gift card
Armed Forces Bowl
Gift suite; Ogio backack with hydration bladder; commemorative football; beanie
Russell Athletic Bowl
$350 Best Buy shopping trip; Timely Watch Co. watch; ISlide footwear; beach towel; Russell Athletic performance pullover
Cowtown custom-made cowboy boots
Gift suite; belt buckle; duffel bag; alpaca throw; selfie stick
Gift suite; ESPN beanie; Ogio backpack; Big Game football
Shopping trip to Belk department store; Fossil watch
Music City Bowl
Gift suite; Fossil watch
Gift suite; Fossil watch; cap
$300 Vanilla Visa gift card; Fossil watch; Bluetooth speaker; commemorative football; $10 Chick-fil-A gift card
Gift suite; Tourneau watch; Schutt commemorative “split” helmet (half one team and half the other)
Won’t disclose gifts.
$150 Best Buy gift card; Outback Steakhouse gift card; Fossil watch; Jostens ring; cap
$315 Best Buy shopping trip; Timely Watch Co. watch; EA Sports video game; ISlide footwear; beach towel
Gift suite; Fossil watch; Ogio X-Fit backpack
Gift suite; Fossil watch; Ogio backpack; New Era fitted 59 Fifty cap
Gift suite; Fossil watch; New Era Cap; commemorative coin
Panasonic gift suite; Fossil watch
Bass Pro Shops gift card and shopping trip; custom-made Oculus Pro Team HD binoculars; Bulova watch; Nike athletic shoes, sport sandals, sunglasses and custom-made backpack; commemorative game ball
Beats Studio Wireless headphones; Fossil watch; $125 Best Buy gift card; team panoramic photo; commemorative mini-helmet