Technically, the big gift giving day is Wednesday, but if you’re one of the thousands of college football players who will be playing in a bowl game, you’ll be receiving gifts well into the New Year.
Starting with the New Mexico Bowl and going all the way through to the national championship game January 6, young men across the country will be receiving tokens of affection from the postseason games that are hosting them around the country. And we’re not talking notebooks or writing implements or the kinds of things that college students might use, say, in a classroom.
No, these kids will be taking home the kinds of goodies that folks lined up for to buy on Black Friday.
For instance, according to the Sports Business Journal, at the Las Vegas Bowl, the Texas Bowl and the St. Petersburg Bowl, players received brand new Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 smartphones. The good sponsors at the Poinsettia Bowl, the Russell Athletic Bowl and the Holiday Bowl all were kind enough to give away gift cards from Best Buy of at least $200. The Military Bowl, to be held Friday in Annapolis, will give the combatants from Maryland and Marshall brand new Sony Play Station 4 units.
Many of the bowls will present their players with a trip to a gift suite where they are allowed to select a gift of choice, one of which this year, is a home theater recliner that has two USB ports that can charge mobile devices.
In case you’re wondering, all of this stuff is legal.
Under NCAA rules, bowls can award up to $550 worth of gifts to 125 participants at each school. In addition, the schools themselves can give up to $400 per participant, and the conferences that the schools belong to can also give $400 to each designee.
What these kids can’t receive is some money so that they can go out on dates, buy the occasional pizza or go home for funerals or family functions. Keep in mind that these athletes are not permitted to hold jobs if they receive scholarships because that would, supposedly, violate the concept of amateurism.
And then there’s first year Southern Mississippi coach Todd Monken, who reinstituted a year-end senior banquet and team awards dinner earlier this month. The Golden Eagles suffered through a 1-11 season, but their seniors at least looked good at the banquet. That’s because Monken and his coaches, with the fundraising help of the Touchdown Club, presented all 17 of the fourth year players with a brand new fitted suit that they could later wear to their first job interview. Monken was only able to give the suits to the seniors because they’ve exhausted their eligibility at the school, but of all the gifts given over the next few weeks, his makes the most sense.