For hoops teams, swag season is here
Editor's note: This story is updated from the print edition.
Participants in this year’s Division I men’s and women’s Final Fours will receive NCAA gift packages worth approximately $750, including a Jostens ring in a commemorative wooden display box and a piece of the court from the championship weekend, according to the NCAA.
A maximum of 25 members of each men’s team will receive, among other items, an Apple TV and a Final Four bench chair. Members of the Women’s Final Four teams will receive a tumbler with an ESPN logo (reflecting the network partner for the tournament), a bench towel and a Women’s Final Four game ball inside a display cube.
Watches will be given to all 3,300 participants in the two tournaments this month, but only the 200 Final Four participants will receive a watch with the Final Four logo.
The total estimated value of the NCAA’s tournament gifts this year is $320,000.
The gift-giving is part of the annual end-of-season college basketball tournament experience, just as football players receive gifts as part of their bowl-game experiences each fall. Gifts are presented for both conference tournament and NCAA tournament play.
For participating in this month’s conference tournaments, up to 25 gift packages can be provided to a team by its school and by its conference, according to NCAA bylaws. An unlimited number of additional packages can be bought and given to guests, such as sponsors and media partners. Those tournament-related gifts are on top of regular-season participation packages that are available to the players. Additional packages for championship wins are also allowed.
The gifts can add up. For example, a senior — seniors are allowed to receive more than underclassmen — on a team that runs the table and wins championships for the regular season, postseason conference tournament and NCAA tournament could secure a total gift haul valued at up to $3,780.
The monetary limits set up by the NCAA are similar across most men’s and women’s sports and sanctioned events, and the levels are the same as they were during the 2011-12 school year. There are variances based on whether the sport is individual- or team-based, among other factors.
Among conferences, the Big 12 this year is joining at least five other conferences that are offering gift suites as a reward to players and coaches who are participating in their championship tournaments. This type of offering is one where players and coaches can go online to a targeted website and select from a catalog of items instead of each participant receiving a preselected gift from the conference.
Last year, the Big 12 handed out 600 Dynex 32-inch flat-screen televisions to participants as its gifts. In 2011, it gave an iPod touch to each participant.
Bob Burda, associate commissioner of communications at the Big 12, said the reason for the switch to a gift suite was to give the participants a variety in the gifts they could receive.
CONFERENCE AND NCAA TOURNAMENT GIFTS
Following are gifts and 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.
America East (350): Crons long-sleeve dry-fit shirt
Atlantic 10 (528): Online gift suite, from which players are able to select one of the following: Bose speaker system; women’s Fossil watch; men’s Fossil watch; Michael Kors wallet; Ray-Ban sunglasses; Sennheiser headphones; Swiss Army backpack
Atlantic Sun (400): Crons backpack
Big Sky (350): Choice of a hooded sweatshirt, long-sleeve T-shirt, short-sleeve T-shirt or a blanket with the championship logo
Big South (575): **Conference-branded backpacks, Ogio duffel bags with championship logo, Augusta Synergy pullover
Big Ten (360): Blanket, ear buds and a tumbler
Big West (NA): Tournament shirts; winners also will receive individual medallions
Colonial Athletic (320): Online gift suite, from which players are able to select one of the following: Fossil women’s Stella tortoise shell watch; Fossil men’s black Silicone watch; Ray-Ban Wayfarer sunglasses; Samsung Smart Wi-Fi Blu-ray player; Sennheiser HD 280 Pro headphones; Swiss Army Scan Smart Trek Compu-backpack
Conference USA (600): Online gift suite
Great West (NA): Information not available at press time
Horizon League (NA): Performance zip pullover, long-sleeve T-shirt and a cinch bag with conference logo and sport on each
MEAC (NA): Did not disclose
Missouri Valley (500): Nike hooded sweatshirt
Mountain West (396): Online gift suite, from which players are able to select one of the following: Bose in-ear headphones; Bose Companion 2 multimedia speaker system; IDAPT i3p power station and solar power speakers; Sennheiser HD 280 Pro headphones; Swiss Army Scan Smart Trek Compu-backpack
Northeast (352): Conference-branded blanket
Ohio Valley (352): Adidas dry-fit conference branded workout shirt
Pac-12 (360): Apple iPad with a Pac-12 embossed iPad cover
Patriot (NA): Participants can choose either a fleece jacket or backpack, and the winners can select one of the following: watch, blanket, pen set or mini championship trophy
SEC (420): Online gift suite, from which players are able to select one of the following: Apple 16GB iPod touch with music card; Beats by Dr. Dre HD Solo headphones with music card; Bose Companion 20 multimedia speaker system; Bose SoundDock Series II digital music system; Canon PowerShot Elph 320 HS 16.1MP digital camera with built camera case; Diesel men’s stainless steel dual time Zone Chronograph watch; Dyson 12-inch fan; Jawbone Big Jambox wireless speakers; Michael Kors ladies horn watch with MK wristlet; Michael Kors ladies leather tote bag; Ray-Ban polarized aviator large metal sunglasses with music card; Ray-Ban polarized new wayfarer sunglasses with music card; Samsung Galaxy Tab 7-inch, 8GB android tablet; Sony Blu-ray disc player with Wi-Fi and 6-foot HDMI cable; 22-inch Travelpro wheeled expandable carry-on luggage piece
Southern (345): Champion hooded sweatshirt
Southland (352): Conference-branded duffel bag
Summit League (352): Hooded sweatshirt
Sun Belt (NA): Backpack
SWAC (255): Russell backpack; winners also will receive a Monaco watch by Pedre
WAC (500): Backpack and water bottle; winners also will receive Skullcandy over-the-ear headphones
West Coast (971): Conference-branded zip-up hoodie and co-branded Nalgene water bottle
NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship (1,700): Fossil watch (all participants), and participants from the men’s Final Four teams also will receive a Jostens ring in a commemorative Final Four wooden display box; Wilson bag and mini ball; Apple TV; Final Four floor piece; Final Four Lucite game ticket; and Final Four bench chair
NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship (1,600): Fossil watch (all participants), and participants from the women’s Final Four teams also will receive a Jostens ring in a commemorative Final Four wooden display box; Wilson bag and mini ball; Final Four floor piece; Final Four Lucite game ticket; Final Four water bottle; Final Four tumbler from ESPN; Final Four JournalBook; Final Four bench towel; and Final Four game ball inside a display cube
NA: Not available at press time
* Gifts for both 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 backpacks and the Myrtle Beach (S.C.) Chamber of Commerce is providing the duffel bags and pullover.
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.
Sources: NCAA, conferences