Everything College Sports

For those interested in all things college sports

Bowl Gifts.. excessive?

For those of you who have not seen the list of bowl gifts being handed out this year- I think it is CRAZY.  Of course as a student-athlete it wouldn’t be so bad to receive one of these cool items or the shopping spree’s.

Sports Business Journal published a list of the bowl gift on Dec 8, 2008 and here are the highlights. These items are in addition to the traditional watches, sunglasses, hats, sweats, and other gear provided to the players. Plus, of course there will be championship rings for many of the winning teams provided by their school and per diem meal money as well as up to $20/day incidental expense money throughout their time at the bowl site up to 10 days AND an allowance for travel to and from the game for some schools that play close to Christmas ($800 cash at Oregon).

Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl- Wii System Bundle Package

Capital One Bowl- Party at Best Buy with a $400 shopping spree

Insight Bowl- 26″ LCD HD TV

San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl – 8 gig iPod Touch

Rose Bowl presented by Citi- Sony DVD Camcorder

Independence Bowl- Trek Mountain Bike

FedEX BCS National Championship Game- $300 in Sony electronics

Here is the kicker, the limit on value for participant gifts varies between NCAA National Championships and Bowl Games (NCAA Award Chart search for Figure 16-1). Basically, a Conference Championship participant gift is limited to $325 (provided by the institution), a NCAA National Championship/Tournament is limited to $325 (from institution plus an NCAA unlimited value gift), and an All-Star game and Postseason Bowl is limited to $825 ($325 from institution and $500 from Bowl Mgt).

This is certainly not a new phenomenon and I do think that sponsor gifts are a legitimate reward for student-athletes at both Conference and National Championships. But, there seems to be some inequity here which seperates football from all other student-atheltes.

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January 3, 2009 Posted by | BCS, Football, Legislation, Sponsorships and Sales, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

San Diego State Football Issues

A recent article caught my attention because of how grounded in reality it was while discussing the pros and cons of college football at a non-BCS school. The gist of the argument made by the author (Mark Zeigler) is that trying to play big-time college football when the institution is not a member of a BCS conference is a very bad idea.

At San Diego State, the athletics deficit has increased substantially in recent years from $750,000 (late 90’s) to $3.3 million (2007-08). Yet, during the same year when a $3.3 million deficit was realized the school reported $2.45 million in football revenue. How is this possible? The same way many schools claim that football is profitable. By using the generally accepted and allowed special accounting of athletic expenses. Although the article is about one school, the same arguments could be made for many of the non-BCS school.

When reporting expenses to the NCAA and even to the U.S. Department of Education Office of Postsecondary Education for EADA data, institutions have some interesting reporting categories such as “unallocated by gender” and “non-program specific.” Both of these categories are handy when trying to minimize the visual impact of the expense of football. So, when  a ticket manager salary shows up under “non-program specific” it basically shows that the cost is a departmental cost. However, if you were to really look at the time/effort allocation of that person I am guessing that it would be 95% football/basketball and 5% the other 15-20 sports.

The other interesting financial hiding place for programs is booster clubs. Many institutions couldn’t exist without the private support they receive from boosters. However, institutions are not required to disclose financial info from booster clubs with respect to sport/gender allocation. So, if a football stadium renovation and a football coach performance bonus are paid out of a booster club, it generally will not show up as a football expense item. Some States do require this type of disclosure, but neither the NCAA nor the EADA does.

In an e-mail to me, my attorney friend, Kristen pointed out the following “If colleges allocated facilities construction, maintenance, training, med, insurance, tutors, & other costs to the teams that actually create them, even BCS teams would show a loss.  I really would like to see a genuine accounting audit of a big time football program to see what the real numbers are.”

I have to agree that it would be really really interesting to have the finances of all schools reported and published in a consistent manner so it could be compared apples to apples.

December 30, 2008 Posted by | BCS, College Sports Business, Finance, Football, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Football Scholarships

I know I said that my next post would be about recruiting, but I need to switch gears a bit because I have yet to hear a good answer to one simple college football question.

Why does Division I FBS have 85 football scholarships?

Someone PLEASE explain it to me.

Just for the record, the Division IFCS scholarship limit is 63 and the Division II scholarship limit is 36. Teams are limited to 105 on the roster in FBS and 90 in FCS (NCAA Bylaw 17.11.2.1 2 and 17.11.2.1.3).

Here are the NFL rules as I understand them. Rosters are limited to 53. Of the 53, 47 are dressed for any given game, which means six don’t play. Expansion teams are sometimes given exceptions as they get their team going.

I am a huge college football fan, but I have never ever been able to understand why there is a need for 85 scholarships. I can argue that teams need depth to allow for injuries, but players in the NFL get hurt at a greater rate than college players right?  What about opportunities to compete? Well, with 105 players, many do not get to play. What about revenue generation? Would schools make less money (even though most are running in the red currently) with a few less scholarships?

This question is important to me in a time where many college sport programs (men’s track and field, men’s swimming, wrestling) are facing elimination due to the huge cost to run athletic programs (especially football costs). So, I’m hoping someone can clue me in as to why 85 scholarships?

Here is a chart on the average scholarship awarded by sport compiled by the New York Times, but be careful when interpreting it because it combines DI and DII and does not take into account average cost of the schools offering the sport.


December 28, 2008 Posted by | BCS, Football | , | 10 Comments

Bowl Math for Dummies (& College Presidents)

I like to think of myself as a fairly agreeable, friendly person.  However, there are a few things that I hate to my core.  They include sanctimony, intolerance and the college Bowl system.

I’m only a sports guy to the extent that I’m a fan. So all you MSAs can show off your big brains and poke holes in my logic.  But as a fan, I HAAAAAAATE the college Bowl system.  It’s fascist and unAmerican on every level.  Since only one game counts for anything, I only really watch one game. I might stumble upon the Fiesta Bowl for 30 minutes to watch Texas beat the snot out of OSU, but I’m certainly not going to plan my day around it. And every 38th year when OU gets a bid, I’ll watch a 2nd bowl game. (Yay 2044!) But I have a hard time even getting very excited about that. Our season’s over whether we win or lose.

By contrast, I try to watch every second of every game that I can during March Madness. It doesn’t matter who’s playing.  Yesterday (12.18.08), I asked that a meeting not be scheduled for 03.19.09 because I know that the tournament starts at noon that day.  Now, I’m willing to acknowledge that I may be at the end of the bell curve re: my devotion to the tournament and this might be a good time to note that my office is located in the former state mental asylum on The Ridges, but I am absolutely convinced that there are millions of people like me who’d watch a heck of a lot more college football in December and January if it was part of a tournament.  More viewers = more money.

Others can argue the entrenched interests of the BCS and the distribution of proceeds to the power conferences as reasons there will never be a tournament.  I’m not going to challenge that.  That’s a money coming out the bottom of the funnel argument.  I’m arguing the money going in the top of the funnel.  The total economic activity around post-season college football would be much greater in a tournament than it is in the current arrangement.

I’m also not going to argue for the complete dissolution of the bowls.  You love the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl?  Fine!  Keep it.  Make it an early round game in the tournament.

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December 20, 2008 Posted by | BCS, Football | , , | 12 Comments