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DOES GOING TO A MINOR BOWL DO MORE FINANCIAL HARM THAN GOOD?
Published December 22, 1994
In the latest issue of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, Tim Layden examines the financial burden most bowl games create for their schools. "Many bowl games invite schools in much the same way Don Corleone invited wedding guests into his office. He does you a favor. You do him a favor." Layden explains the difficulty schools have with bowl agreements require that a huge number of tickets be sold. For example, N.C. State was required to sell 15,000 tickets to last year's Hall of Fame bowl, and when it failed, it absorbed the remaining 11,000 at $30 a piece. Many teams are cutting costs by eliminating bands from bowl trips. According to Layden, the system only makes sense for teams such as Notre Dame or Miami, which aren't required to share a large percentage of bowl money with fellow conference members and are almost guaranteed a spot on New Year's Day every year. Writes Layden, "Major bowls, no revenue sharing: the path to financial security." Furthermore, with all the problems the bowl system creates, there is still a good chance a national champion will not be crowned at the end of the season. Who are the bowls good for? "Vanderbilt, Northwestern and Oregon State like bowls because through revenue sharing, they get money from bowls without the hassle of actually traveling to and playing in them." Vanderbilt made more than $350,000 after a 4-7 record in 1993, while Tennessee, a participant in the '93 Hall of Fame Bowl lost $6,273 after expenses (SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, 12/26-1/2 issue).