Bowl game swag (the gifts handed out by various bowl game sponsors to the players) has become a tradition almost as prestigious as the Parade of Roses.
That may sound like an overstatement (it probably is -- relax), but odds are that players on the receiving end of NCAA-sanctioned gifts sure appreciate the custom.
This year, as chronicled in Sports Business Journal's annual bowl-game gift breakdown, players will receive your typical Fossil watches (15 of 35 games), some Oakley gear (seven of 35), and potentially some hats from New Era (seven of 35).
But as highlighted by SBJ's report, 18 of the 35 bowl games will offer gift suites or shopping sprees, where “participants, and often bowl VIPs, are given an order form and allowed to select a gift, or gifts, up to the value that is predetermined by each bowl, not to exceed the NCAA limit.”
That limit is reportedly $550 worth of “swag” to 125 participants per school.
One of the featured gifts debuting this year is a single-seat “powered home theater recliner” with two USB ports to charge various devices – an ideal environment for studying, if you ask me. That seat, along with a PlayStation 4 (given to Military Bowl participants), could exceed the allotted $550, but because sponsors bought the gifts in bulk, they were able to negotiate lower prices. Phew!
Anyway, the entire list is here, but some of the highlights include:
A Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 for Fresno State and USC players, participating in the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl. Pretty sure Ed Orgeron wishes he would've held on for a few more weeks. Players from Syracuse and Minnesota get lucky, too, as the Texas Bowl has opted for the Tab as well.
Both the Capital One (Wisconsin vs. South Carolina) and Russell Athletic (Miami vs. Louisville) bowls are giving $450 dollar gift certificates to Best Buy. Not too bad for the three-loss Hurricanes.
Many of the BCS games include gift suites likely featuring various high-end electronics, but those players will all surely be jealous of the guys from Boise State and Oregon State, who'll take home a Tori Richard aloha shirt as part of their Sheraton Hawaii Bowl swag bag.