Well, now. This is a bit of a surprise.
An NCAA audit report of bowl games released last week shows that every Football Bowl Subdivision conference received more money from 2012-13 bowl payouts than their schools paid on bowl expenses.
The 35 bowls distributed $300.8 million last year to conferences, who negotiate deals on behalf of their teams, and schools reported spending $90.3 million on bowl trips. According to the NCAA report, bowls received $445.6 million in gross receipts and spent 26 percent of it on operating expenses. Bowls retained 7 percent of the receipts.
“The perception is out there that schools are losing money going to bowl games and the reality is that’s not true,” said Wright Waters, executive director of the Football Bowls Association. “Bowls strike deals with conferences, and there very well may be issues that conferences are not giving them a big enough allowance to go to the bowl. But at the end of the day, the conferences are still distributing money at the end of the year.”
In case you’re wondering, “every” conference includes each one of the mid-majors.
So much for the screaming about how the bowls were scamming the conferences to the point of making them run their postseasons in the red. But at least they got those pesky ticket allotment requirements lowered. That’s good news, right? Well, maybe not so much.
However, Waters raised concerns about lower guaranteed ticket allotments, particularly for games not associated with the College Football Playoff. There will be six high-profile bowls next year, not four, once the playoff starts: Rose, Orange, Sugar, Fiesta, Cotton and Chick-fil-A.
Lower guaranteed ticket allotments “will probably create some problems with teams who travel well and who may not get tickets,” Waters said. “Fans will have to pay scalper prices. Bowls will probably try to sell their tickets locally.”
Some days it seems like the only constant in college football is hoovering more money out of fans’ wallets… okay, every day.