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Inferior, nominal, shabby, and cheap are the words that come to my mind when I think of the gifts being given to the FSU and WVU players participating in the Konica Minolta Gator Bowl on January 1st, especially when compared to some of the gifts being given to participants of the less "prominent" bowls.
The giving of gifts to the players and coaches of both teams participating in Bowl games is a tradition that has gone on for many years. The Bowl game is a reward to the players for having a above average season and qualifying for a extra game in late December or early January, and the gifts are one of the perks which have long been associated with Bowl games.
According to the NCAA, bowls are permitted to give each player up to $500 worth of gifts once they arrive at the bowl site. Some bowls allow the players to select their own gifts, often via a gift card and usually used during a team shopping spree or "party" usually at a electronics store (e.g. 2008 Champs Bowl/Best Buy last year for the FSU team). Some Bowls give a player a "gift basket" of goodies which will usually include some type of electronic gadget, along with a couple of other items such as a watch or ring, sunglasses or apparel, luggage or backpack, and/or a miscellaneous item (i.e. commemorative football, food gift card, plaque, recliner, or some other memorabilia).
Of course, the total amount of the gift(s) is entirely up the bowl sponsors and the bowl committee.
Recently, the combination of gift certificate/team shopping spree, the gift suites, or allowing players to pick out their own gifts from a catalog, has become increasingly popular and is now being used by the majority of the bowls.
The Florida based Capital One and Champs Sports bowls, both organized by Florida Citrus Sports, were among the first to allow the players to pick their gifts.
"We're somewhat widely credited for gift suites and a shopping spree," said Steve Hogan, CEO of Florida Citrus Sports. "We kind of said, 'Look, it just doesn't make sense to kind of guess on an electronic item, a branded item and just guess what kids want.' "
Here are a couple of quick examples of what some of the sponsors of some of the "lesser" bowls will be giving the players and coaches upon their arrivals.
The St. Petersburg Bowl will give each player an iLuv iPod/DVD player, and an Oakley package that includes a watch, sunglasses and a backpack.
The R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl will give each player a Pure Digital mini cam-corder, a Balfour ring, and a Oakley package with Antix sunglasses and a backpack.
The Meineke Car Care Bowl will present each player with a choice of a Bose gift package or an iPod touch, speakers, and $20 gift card, along with a Fossil watch, an Ogio duffle bag, and a commemorative photo from the Richard Petty Driving experience.
The Emerald Bowl will be giving away Hewlett Packard mini netbooks, which are basically small laptops, in addition to a Fossil watch.
The EagleBank Bowl will giving players a Slingbox SOLO with Slinglink Turbo 1 Port, which is a device that allows users to watch TV on a computer or mobile phone, and a Powermat, which is a wireless charging station for cell phone, a hat, football, and tailgate blanket.
Participants in the Texas Bowl will be receiving a $300 Best Buy gift card, a Fossil Watch, Under Amour shirt, hat and backpack, and a Bowl T-Shirt and Belt Buckle.
For a bowl game that sold out in 2 hours, the Konica Minolta Gator Bowl's package pales in comparison to many other bowls. The words I used to lead off this story are the ones that come to mind once again when I see what the players and coaches from FSU and WVU will be receiving this year.
Hold on to your hats, or better yet, maybe the players should grab their ankles, because the giant multi-national Imaging Company, Konica Minolta, and the 2009 Gator Bowl committee, have generously decided to grace these athletes presence in Jacksonville, by giving each participant,
wait for it,
A Fossil watch and Oakley Antix sunglasses.
IMAO, I find these gifts laughable and inexcusable.
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Hit the jump to see how the other Bowls sponsors and committees are putting the Konica Minolta Gator Bowl to shame by at least making an effort to get as close to the NCAA maximum of $500 as possible, or at least by giving these young men some electronics or gift cards to show their appreciation for their participation. After all, isn't this the season for giving, and the sold out Konica Minolta Gator Bowl should be showering our players with gifts upon their arrival.
2009 Bowl gifts to participants
|Dec. 19, 4:30 p.m., Albuquerque, N.M., ESPN||Sony gift suite||Oakley beanie, Oakley Antix sunglasses||Ogio wheeled garment bag, Oakley Surf Pack backpack|
|Dec. 19, 8 p.m., St. Petersburg, Fla., ESPN||iLuv iPod/DVD player||Oakley Holeshot 3-Hand watch||Oakley Eyepatch sunglasses||Oakley Surf Pack backpack|
|R&L Carriers New Orleans|
|Dec. 20, 8:15 p.m., New Orleans, ESPN||Pure Digital Flip mini-camcorder||Balfour ring||Oakley Antix sunglasses||Oakley Panel Packbackpack|
|MAACO Las Vegas|
|Dec. 22, 8 p.m., Las Vegas, ESPN||Sony gift suite||Fossil watch||New Era cap||Ogio Fugitive laptop pack|
|San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia|
|Dec. 23, 8 p.m., San Diego, ESPN||Flo TV television, 1-year of service; Best Buy gift card||Tourneau watch||Sports Tek hooded sweatshirt, cap|
|Dec. 24, 8 p.m., Honolulu, ESPN||Kahala Aloha shirt|
|Little Caesars Pizza|
|Dec. 26, 1 p.m., Detroit, ESPN||Sony gift suite||Timely Watch Co. watch||Football|
|Care Dec. 26, 4:30 p.m., Charlotte, ESPN||Choice of Bose gift packages or iPod touch, speakers and $20 gift card||Fossil watch||Ogio duffle bag||Commemorative Richard Petty Driving Experience photo|
|Dec. 26, 8 p.m., San Francisco, ESPN||Fossil watch|
|Gaylord Hotels Music City|
|Dec. 27, 8:30 p.m., Nashville, ESPN||RCA HD camcorder||Fossil watch||Majestic fleece pullover,New Era hat||Ogio Metro laptop pack|
|AdvoCare V100 Independence|
|Dec. 28, 5 p.m., Shreveport, La., ESPN2||Sony gift suite||Timely Watch Co. watch||New Era hat||Football|
|Dec. 29, 4:30 p.m., Washington, D.C., ESPN||Slingbox SOLO with Slinglink Turbo 1 Port, Powermat charging station||Visions Marketing Hat||Football, Kanata tailgate blanket|
|Dec. 29, 8 p.m., Orlando, ESPN||Party at Best Buy($420 limit)||Timely Watch Co. watch|
|Dec. 30, 4:30 p.m., Boise, Idaho, ESPN||Sony gift suite, Garmin GPS||Parka, Nike pullover, gloves, hand warmers, skull cap||Ogio Fugitive laptop pack||Football|
|Pacific Life Holiday|
|Dec. 30, 8 p.m., San Diego, ESPN||Flo TV personal television (includes one-year of service), Best Buy gift card||Tourneau watch||Sports Tek hooded sweatshirt, cap|
|Bell Helicopter Armed Forces|
|Dec. 31, Noon, Fort Worth, Texas, ESPN||Sony gift suite||Timely Watch Co. watch||Camouflaged knit cap||Ogio Metro laptop pack, luggage tag||Football, calendar|
|Dec. 31, 2 p.m., El Paso, Texas, CBS||Sony gift suite||Timely Watch Co. watch||Majestic fleece pullover, VP Sports cap||Ogio Politan laptop pack||Brut hair dryer; coin|
|Dec. 31, 3:30 p.m., Houston, ESPN||$300 Best Buy gift card||Fossil watch||Under Armour shirt and hat; Bowl T-shirt||Under Armour backpack||Belt buckle|
|Dec. 31, 6 p.m., Tempe, Ariz., NFL Network||Sony gift suite||Fossil watch||Hat||Ogio Bounty Hunter or Hermit laptop pack|
|Dec. 31, 7:30 p.m., Atlanta, ESPN||$250 Best Buy gift card||Fossil watch||Russell Athletic knit cap||Russell Athletic travel bag||Football, Chick-fil-A gift card|
|Jan. 1, 11 a.m., Tampa, ESPN||Best Buy gift card||Pro-Swiss watch, Jostens ring||Hat||Outback Steakhouse gift card|
|Jan. 1, 1 p.m., Orlando, ABC||Party at Best Buy($420 limit)||Timely Watch Co. watch|
|Konica Minolta Gator|
|Jan. 1, 1 p.m., Jacksonville, CBS||Fossil watch||Oakley Antix sunglasses|
|Rose Bowl presented by Citi|
|Jan. 1, 4:30 p.m., Pasadena, Calif., ABC||19 Sharp television combo||Fossil watch||New Era 59Fifty fitted hat||Ogio Fugitive laptop pack||Plaque|
|Jan. 1, 8:30 p.m., New Orleans, Fox||Sony, Apple, Trek, Garmin and Weber gift suite||Timely Watch Co. watch||New Era cap||Ogio Politan laptop pack||Lane recliner|
|Jan. 2, Noon, Toronto, ESPN2||Electronics package||Timely Watch Co. watch||Football|
|Jan. 2, 2 p.m., Birmingham, Ala., ESPN||RCA HD mini-camcorder||Oakley Surf Pack backpack|
|Jan. 2, 2 p.m., Arlington, Texas, Fox||Would Not Disclose|
|Jan. 2, 5:30 p.m., Memphis, Tenn., ESPN||Westinghouse 19 LCD HDTV/computer monitor||Fossil watch||Nike training shoes, Nike sport sandals, Nike sunglasses||Football|
|Jan. 2, 9 p.m., San Antonio, ESPN||32-gig iPod Touch, Dr. Dre Monster Beats headphones||Fossil watch||Oakley Antix sunglasses||Shutt mini-helmet,panoramic photo|
|Jan. 4, 8 p.m., Glendale, Ariz., Fox||Sony gift suite||Fossil watch,Tourneau watch||Hat||Ogio Hermit checkpoint friendly laptop pack|
|Jan. 5, 8 p.m., Miami, Fox||Sony gift suite||Tourneau watch||New Era cap||Ogio Politan laptop pack|
|Jan. 6, 7 p.m., Mobile, Ala., ESPN||RCA HD mini-camcorder||Timely Watch Co. watch||Cap||Garment bag with dop kit||Football|
|Citi BCS National Championship|
|GameJan. 7, 8 p.m., Pasadena, Calif., ABC||Sony gift suite with Trek and Garmin||Fossil watch||New Era 59Fifty hat||Ogio Politan laptop pack|
Notes: All times listed are ET. Product details are provided as they were available. Most watches, rings, clothing and luggage are custom-made with the bowl logo. Gift suites are set up as private events in which game participants, and often bowl VIPs, are given an order form and allowed to select a gift, or gifts, up to a value that is predetermined by each specifi c bowl, not to exceed the NCAA limit of $500 per person.
Sources: Bowl committees and vendors