The California Bowl may have gone the way of some other postseason football games that remain only memories.
The NCAA refused to certify the game for this year.
California Bowl executive director Susan Tatham said NCAA officials told her Monday that the game didn’t have enough financial support to keep it afloat. Local officials fell about $500,000 short of a $1.75-million fund-raising goal, even with a 90-day extension granted by the NCAA, Tatham added.
Tatham said the recession and a failure to find a corporate sponsor were the main reasons the NCAA’s special events committee refused to recertify the game. The game could be reinstated in future years, but it would have to meet much tougher NCAA guidelines.
“It’s something that, if it’s well-organized, is definitely a ‘doable’ deal,” Tatham said.
The California Bowl was a match up between the Big West and Mid-American conferences during its 11-year existence. But the home team, Fresno State, is moving into the Western Athletic Conference this fall, so the MAC and Big West moved their postseason game to Las Vegas.
Cal Bowl sponsors hoped to switch to an open bowl format, but ran into financial problems stemming from the 1991 contest.
The Cal Bowl still owes $49,000 in rent for Fresno State’s Bulldog Stadium for last year’s game and hasn’t provided its expected $50,000 donation to Valley Children’s Hospital. The charity money is tied up in a bankrupt investment, and the rent is in arrears because the bowl didn’t attract as much revenue as expected.