SBD/22/Collegiate Sports

DOES GOING TO A MINOR BOWL DO MORE FINANCIAL HARM THAN GOOD?

     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).
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