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SBJ/March 10-16, 2014/CollegesPrint All
When the 200 players from the 14 teams participating in the SEC men’s basketball tournament converge this week at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, they will be invited to visit a room at the arena and choose from a variety of gifts that include a Samsung Galaxy tablet, a Bose SoundDock digital music system and a Michael Kors watch.
It’s an annual occurrence akin to the better known practice of bowls’ giving gifts to football players (SportsBusiness Journal, Dec. 9-15). According to NCAA rules, players can receive both participation and championship gifts, for basketball and for other sports. The value of the gifts that the players can receive can vary between seniors and underclassmen, and gifts can be provided by both a player’s school and the school’s conference, in addition to the NCAA providing gifts to athletes who compete in season-ending, national-level tournaments. All told, a player on a team that runs the table this spring and wins basketball
A Samsung HDTV and an iPod Touch are among the gifts available in the SEC.
For the members of the four men’s and four women’s teams that make it to the Final Four this year, the NCAA will provide each participant with a gift package worth an estimated $750. Additionally, a Fossil watch will be given to all 3,300 participants in the two national tournaments this month (men’s and women’s), with the 200 participants on the Final Four teams getting a watch with the Final Four logo.
Meanwhile, at the conference level, the men and women competing in at least 58 of the 62 men’s and women’s basketball tournaments this month will receive some sort of gift as a result of participating in those events (see chart). The Mid-American Conference does not provide gifts. MEAC officials did not return emails or phone calls about their tournament gift plans.
The SEC is unique in offering the gift-suite experience at its tournament sites. In addition to hosting the Georgia Dome suite for the men’s tournament this week, the conference created a suite for the 14-school women’s tournament that was to culminate Sunday at The Arena at Gwinnett Center in Duluth, Ga. Longtime conference partner Goldner Associates is handling the gift acquisition process for the SEC, along with operating the suites and distributing and mailing the gifts.
Other conferences use gift suites as well, albeit not at the site of their tournaments. The Mountain West will provide on-campus gift suites ahead of its men’s and women’s tournaments in Las Vegas. For each of its 22 squads (11 men’s and 11 women’s), players will be able to select one item in a room that will include Bushnell Legend Ultra HD binoculars and a Sony Smart Blu-ray disc player.
Several other conferences will provide players with online gift suites, where players can order from a set catalog.
CONFERENCE AND NCAA TOURNAMENT GIFTS
Following are the gifts (and the number of gift packages) provided by Division I basketball conferences and the NCAA to players competing in their men’s and women’s basketball tournaments this month.
ACC (750*) Under Armour fleece pullover, and an online gift suite from which players may select one of the following: Kindle Fire 7-inch HDX; Beats by Dr. Dre wireless Bluetooth on-ear headphones (right); Diesel Little Daddy chronograph watch; GoPro Hero3+ camera; Mini Jambox by Jawbone Bluetooth speaker; Xbox 360 E 4GB console with Kinect; Michael Kors Hamilton satchel. America East (350) Crons sweatshirt. American Athletic (440) Online gift suite from which players may select gifts from the following vendors: Apple, Beats by Dr. Dre, Michael Kors, Ray-Ban, Samsung Atlantic 10 (572) Online gift suite from which players may select one of the following: iPod Shuffle with charger; Beats by Dr. Dre urBeats in-ear headphones; Mophie Juice Pack Powerstation; Ray-Ban Aviator sunglasses; Fossil stainless steel men’s watch; Fossil rose-gold stainless steel women’s watch; Michael Kors wristlet. Atlantic Sun (NA) Crons conference-branded hooded sweatshirt. Big 12 (600) Online gift suite from which players may select up to $275 worth of merchandise from the following: Beats by Dr. Dre Pill with charger; Beats by Dr. Dre wireless on-ear headphones; Bose SoundDock Series III digital music system; GoPro Hero3 with BacPac; Keurig Platinum Brewing System; Ray-Ban Wayfarer sunglasses; Ray-Ban Aviator sunglasses; Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 with waffle case; Samsung LED TV; Michael Kors Jet Set tote; Michael Kors women’s watch; Diesel men’s watch. Big East (220) Online gift suite. Big Sky (336) Mobile power charger and a choice of one of the following conference-branded items: hooded sweatshirt; dri-fit T-shirt; dri-fit long-sleeve shirt; sweatshirt blanket. Big South (529**) Crons conference-branded dri-fit shirt, Ogio backpack. Big Ten (360) Ricardo carry-on luggage piece and luggage tag. Big West (NA) Long-sleeve tech shirts. (Conference champions also will receive individual medallions.) Colonial Athletic (360) Under Armour backpack, and an online gift suite from which players may select one of the following: Apple 2GB iPod Shuffle with Zoom energy square; iLuv MobiOut rechargeable splash-resistant stereo Bluetooth speaker; Mophie Juice Pack Powerstation Pro; Fossil Nate chronograph stainless steel men’s watch; Fossil Stella plated rose-gold stainless steel women’s watch; Beats by Dr. Dre urBeats in-ear headphones. Conference USA (775) Online gift suite from which players may select gifts from the following vendors: Adidas, Diesel, Ogio, Okuma, OtterBox, Ray-Ban, Sony, Skullcandy, Toshiba, Waterford. Horizon (NA) Backpack, long-sleeve dri-fit shirt. MEAC (NA) Did not disclose. Metro Atlantic (550) Crons drawstring bag, Crons fleece blanket, championship T-shirt. Missouri Valley (500) Nike quarter-zip fleece, Nike backpack, ProGraphs commemorative Lucite ticket. Mountain West (484) On-campus gift suite from which players may select one of the following: Bushnell Legend Ultra HD binoculars with case; High Sierra 21-inch Carry-On Duffrite; High Sierra 22-inch wheeled carry-on with removable daypack; Sony Smart Blu-ray disc player; Sony Bluetooth clock speaker with NFC. Northeast (352) Gildan hooded sweatshirt. Ohio Valley (352) Conference-branded TSA-checkpoint-friendly backpack. Pac-12 (360) Beats by Dr. Dre Pill, iTunes gift card. Patriot League (420) New Balance Tempo long-sleeve performance T-shirt. SEC (400) Under Armour conference-branded T-shirt, and a gift suite located at the tournament site from which players may select one of the following: Samsung Galaxy 7-inch 8GB tablet with case; Samsung 22-inch Slim LED HDTV; Apple iPod Touch 16GB with charger; Bose SoundDock Series III digital music system with Lightning connector; Beats by Dr. Dre wireless headphones; Beats by Dr. Dre Pill (below ) with charger; Diesel men’s watch; Michael Kors women’s chronograph Mercer rose-gold stainless steel bracelet watch; Michael Kors Jet Set tote (below); High Sierra 30-inch executive sport wheeled duffel (above). Southern (NA) Crons backpack, Crons blanket. Southland (240) Conference-branded Tervis tumblers. Summit League (308) Hooded full-zip sweatshirt. Sun Belt (240) Backpack. SWAC (255) Messenger bag. (Conference champions [75 packages] also will receive a hat and shirt.) WAC (NA) Conference-branded drawstring bag, earbuds, cell phone holder. West Coast (440) Co-branded embroidered performance zip-up jacket, conference-branded travel kit, Skullcandy Crusher headphones. NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship (1,700) Fossil watch (all participants). Men’s Final Four teams also will receive a Wilson bag; Wilson mini-ball; Men’s Final Four bench chair; Jostens ring in a commemorative wooden display box; a piece of the Final Four court; a Lucite Men’s Final Four ticket; and an additional gift that had not been finalized as of press time. NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship (1,600) Fossil watch (all participants). Women’s Final Four participants also will receive a Wilson bag; Wilson mini-ball; Women’s Final Four bench towel; Women’s Final Four game ball inside a display cube; Jostens ring in a commemorative wooden display box; a piece of the Final Four court; and a Lucite Women’s Final Four ticket.
Notes: The Mid-American Conference does not provide participant gift packages; the Ivy League does not have a season-ending conference tournament. Additional packages can be bought and given to guests, such as sponsors and media partners. * Gifts for the men’s and women’s tournament are paid for by the Tournament Host Committee of Greensboro (N.C.) rather than the conference. ** The conference is providing the shirts, while the Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Chamber of Commerce is providing the backpacks.NA: Not available
Compiled by: David Broughton and Brandon McClung
Sources: NCAA, conferences