“When did our job as a university become supporting the hospitality industry in certain states?”

If there’s one surprising theme emerging from the BCS negotiations, it’s that the conference commissioners sound more and more ready to throw the major bowls under the bus.  As Pete Thamel puts it,

WHO IS GOING TO LOSE OUT? The bowls. It is just a matter of how much. The B.C.S. bowl games have virtually no shot at hosting a national title game. If they are squeezed out of being involved in the semifinals, they will spiral into irrelevancy.

That’s one helluva sea change.  Why is it happening?  You only get one guess.

… One of the dirty secrets of many bowl games is that almost nothing is cheap. The industry, in this case represented by Sugar Bowl Inc., long ago learned how to squeeze every last penny out of college football. That includes charging even the stars of the show exorbitant prices for tickets.

How about a couple of free ones for the players to give to their parents or girlfriends or high school coaches? Please. The Sugar Bowl instead charged LSU $350 a seat, full price, for every last player request. Total cost: $254,800 on the players alone.

Oh, and the Tiger Marching Band, the one that is contractually obligated to attend bowl week and provide halftime entertainment? With bowls, not even the band gets in free. LSU had to buy tickets for every clarinetist, flutist, tuba player and majorette. Some of the seats, according to the Baton Rouge Advocate, just held the tuba.

That added up to 529 tickets, almost all full price. The bill for the student band to sit was $182,830.

That’s $182,830 to get into a venue and give a free show to all the other paying customers.

All in all, the “2012 BCS Complimentary Tickets” document obtained by Yahoo! Sports detailed most of what would wind up being a $526,924 bill LSU owed the Sugar Bowl just for tickets.  [Emphasis added.]

In a debate that’s over money and nothing else, the big bowls look like the guy who killed the goose with the golden eggs.  They’re a luxury that the commissioners and athletic directors are no longer convinced they can afford.  Or should afford.

“The Fiesta thing, to me, was, ‘Hey, that’s our money,’ ” said one major athletic director. “That’s college football’s money.”

I don’t know if this is the legacy that Thamel refers to when he writes “… the meeting rooms are filled with alpha males who realize their legacies are tied to what will be determined in the next 10 weeks”, but it sure sounds like it may very well be John Junker’s legacy to his bowl peers.  And they’ve got nobody to blame for that but themselves.

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15 Comments

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15 responses to ““When did our job as a university become supporting the hospitality industry in certain states?”

  1. sniffer

    Ayn Rand would approve. Coming soon to a theatre near you, “Atlas Shrugged”, starring John Junker, Bill Hancock….

  2. Normaltown Mike

    “When did our job as a university become supporting the hospitality industry in certain states…”

    Reminds me of BRAC negotiations where politicians drag out sob stories about the restaraunts & grocery stores that will lose business if a military installation is closed down in the home district.

  3. Just Chuck

    Having sat through the Outback Bowl, I was less than satisfied with the experience. That may be, in part, because we lost. I don’t attend a lot of bowl games but it seems that 10 or 15 years ago the experience was better, better atmosphere, more things to do, and definitely cheaper.

  4. Zdawg

    Is it me or does John Junker look like that sleazy car salesman mayor in Jaws?

  5. Cojones

    The bowl people are discussing what they will do to us for this coming year? Someone had best get on the horn and inform them that blogs like this have been airing their dirty little money-grubbibg secrets for the last year. When the Universities get their say-so, the bowl queens haven’t any idea what can happen. That leaves the question: Where and how do the Us get their say-so? The BCS is separate from the NCAA . Do we need negotiators for every team entertaining in bowl games? Does selection become involved in screwing the teams they invite? Well, Yes! to both.

    Suggestions on where we, the fans,a.k.a., the screwees, can jump into this fray? Through UGA’s Adams? Through representation at bowl committee meetings? By the way, I want to see all those attendees at the bowl committee/BCS gathering paying their own way and not reaching back into the millions reaped from us to pay for it.

    Lead the way, Senator. GATA.

  6. cube

    Bowl games are becoming the football equivalent of the NIT. I hope they enjoyed their little con game while it lasted.

  7. DawgPhan

    I am guessing that the ADs are figuring out how to get their money back this time around….and paying for tickets probably isnt on the table. Looking a dozen or so less bowl games and that each bowl game will make it’s own deal with team it see fit to offer. Top 4 will play someone in the +1 format.

  8. Hobnail_Boot

    They’re sousaphones, not tubas.

    /bandnerd’d

  9. rugbydawg79

    Once again Senator great stuff–I was always a fan of the bowls–this shows they have been a little to greedy !! Still 10 to 9 in Texas tho–forever