One of the always interesting aspects of the bowl season is the list of random prizes the players get for participating in a given bowl. The NCAA generally gets its panties in a twist at the mere appearance of impropriety, but they’ve figured out a way to reward the bowl participants and maintain their often Byzantine rules. This year the 2011 Orange Bowl participants will get some quality schwag from sponsors.
Stanford and Virginia Tech players will receive a New Era Cap, a Tourneau watch, and get to participate in a “gift suite.” A gift suite is where the players get to go into a sponsor tent or facility, view various items, and then place an order on the spot. Bowls are allowed to offer up to $500 worth of gifts to the various participants so these gift suites do have limits on what the athletes can select. Sports Business Journal has an interesting article on the gift suites, featuring Virginia Tech punter Brian Saunders.
In looking over the list of goodies, the best gift package would either be the Champs Sports Bowl ($420 shopping spree at local Best Buy), or the various bowls offering XBox 360s (Beef ‘O’ Brady’s St. Petersburg Bowl and Valero Alamo Bowl).