College football bowl games’ gifts put the ‘swag’ in players’ swagger

College football bowl players will receive some lovely gifts this season.

It’s the college football bowl season, and that means one thing.

A chance to end the season with a big victory? OK, sure.

It also the annual swag competition. No player, coach or staff member in a football program walks away empty-handed -- or empty-wristed.

Watches are among the gifts at 22 of the 35 bowl games, and maybe in 23 of them. The AT&T Cotton Bowl declined to reveal what was in its gift package in the survey done by the Sports Business Journal. But with Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones on the committee, you can bet it won’t be a pen and pencil set.


An oil well?

The big-ticket items this year are recliners for gift suites, according to the Sports Business Journal, and 15 bowls have such a “suite” deal. The NCAA allows $550 in gifts for 125 people from each school. The cost of the recliners would exceed that if bought off the showroom floor, but the Sports Journal said that bowl committees negotiate lower prices.

UCLA players will get a crack at a recliner at the Hyundai Sun Bowl, which has a gift suite. Other freebies for the Bruins include a Timely Watch Co. watch, a fleece, a coin and a Helen of Troy hair dryer and a backpack, presumably to carry everything in.

Note to UCLA offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone: Skip the hair dryer.


USC players can’t shop until they drop at the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl, which does without a gift suite. The Trojans will get a Samsung Galaxy Tab 3, a beanie, a cap, a backpack, a football and a gift card to Zappos, a clothing and shoe store.

The lesson here for USC? If you want a recliner in style, beat UCLA next time.


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