By: Trace Welch, @Twelch88
When this whip around is posted, the NCAA will have celebrated the end of the first year of a new era in postseason football. The new College Football Playoff has been a resounding success when it comes to financial profitability and raising and maintaining public interest in the sport. Implementing a playoff that determines the national champion was a long overdue change that the NCAA rightly implemented. While all of the focus has been on this new dynamic in the college football postseason, it is just as important to examine the mainstay of the NCAA postseason, the bowl season.
Only four teams participated in the college football playoff meaning that 72 universities or roughly 95 percent of postseason eligible teams participated in the traditional bowl format. I believe that the bowl season is a unique extension of postseason play that offers pros, as well as cons to the universities, players, coaches, and fans that partake in contests.
The college football bowl season is an exciting time that rewards student athletes for their hard work and achievement throughout the year. There is no debating the positive experiences that these young adults will garner from participating in bowls that are scattered across the country. This was the first year of the inaugural Popeye’s Bahamas Bowl which, no doubt, gave student athletes a cultural experience in another country that they otherwise may never have received throughout their entire adult life. The experience that these student athletes get is by far the most positive and uplifting component of the college football bowl season.
Unlike other sports where only one true champion is crowned and the hard work of hundreds and thousands of student athletes seems to be diminished if they are not the overall champion, college football offers the chance to a multitude of teams to win and be a champion of their bowl game. This allows more student athletes to have a rewarding feeling at the end of their years and careers, and makes them feel like all of their sacrifice and hard work was properly rewarded.
The next pro of the college football bowl season has to do with the profitability of these bowls. When it comes to profitability, I am not referring to the ability of the corporate entity that sponsors these bowls ability to make money, I am talking about the profit that is realized by the Universities and the NCAA. Although you may turn on any given “lesser” bowl and see stands that are half full, it is a fact that television viewership, which is the driving force behind making a profit and financial stability, has been steadily increasing every bowl season.
Each school is paid a stipulated amount for their appearance in each bowl game. That amount may range from $325,000 for the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl to $22,000,000 for the College Football Playoff National Championship game. This is money that is paid by a corporate entity that obviously is not “hurting” financially due to their ability to sponsor a college football bowl game, to a University or Conference that can use the money to better accommodate and support student athletes. Overall, the financial profitability offered to these Universities will only benefit the student athlete in the long run. I will identify the cons with the college bowl season format in my next whip around as well as if the format needs any changes