College football Letter of Intent Signing Day was a couple weeks ago. One recruiting pitch to potential signees is that the school has a strong history of qualifying to play in a bowl game at the end of the season. What is so enticing to a student-athlete about playing in a bowl game at the end of the season? It's the perks, baby.

The NCAA allows each bowl to award up to $550 worth of gifts to 125 participants per school. Schools can, and almost always do, purchase additional packages that they can distribute to participants beyond the 125 limit. In other words, if the football party itself (players and coaching staff) takes up the entire 125 person limit, then schools will buy additional packages for student-managers, team doctors, Board of Regents members, etc. In addition, participants can receive awards worth up to $400 from the school and up to $400 from the conference for postseason play, covering both conference title games and bowl games. Each represents an increase of $50 over last year. So if you add up the numbers, players can receive up to $1350 worth of gifts at the end of a successful season.

Another popular bowl perk is the "gift suite" for players. Gift suites are rooms hosted by the bowl committee and set up at the team hotel or a school campus. Players, coaches, and VIPs are allowed to choose their gifts from a variety of items, including electronics, mountain bikes, recliners, and back packs. At least 14 of the 2011 bowl games offered gift suites to players.

Here is a sample of the 2011 bowl gift list:

Famous Idaho Potato - Gift suite, North End winter coat, Kombi gloves, Nike beanie, Ogio Fugitive backpack, Big Game souvenir football.

Beef 'O' Brady's - Sony PlayStation 3, Oakley Eyepatch 2, Oakley backpack duffel, mini-helmet.

Belk - Estimated $400 shopping trip to Belk's flagship store in Charlotte, NC, Fossil watch.

Military presented by Northrop Grumman - Amazon Kindle Fire, Apple iPod nano, Deuce watch, LunaTik wristband (to hold iPod), beanie, Nike backpack.

Insight - Gift suite, Fossil watch, cap, Ogio Convoy backpack.

Chick-Fil-A - $250 Best Buy gift card, Fossil watch, Russell Athletic ski cap, Russell Athletic travel bag, $15 Chick-Fil-A gift card, commemorative football.

Capital One - $420 shopping trip to a local Best Buy, Timely Watch Co. watch.

Rose Bowl - Gift suite, Fossil watch, New Era hat, Oakley Flak Pack 3.0.

Tostitos Fiesta - Gift suite, Kenneth Cole watch, cap, Ogio Convoy backpack.

All State Sugar - Gift suite, Reactor watch, New Era cap, Majestic fleece pullover.

AT&T Cotton - Fossil watch. Note: Bowl committee would not disclose additional details about participants' gifts.
Gator - Fossil watch, GatorGear performance headwear, rolling luggage bag, Jostens ring, commemorative football.
Liberty - Best Buy gift card, Fossil watch, Nike training shoes, Nike sport sandals, Nike sunglasses, Nike Air Jordan backpack, commemorative game ball.
BCS National Championship Game - Gift suite, Fossil watch, New Era cap, Boxer and Stone shirt.

Now you understand why bowl games are so important to players and coaches.

From the These-People-Must-Be-Idiots file:

Corner Canyon High School, a brand new Utah high school to open in Draper, Utah, in 2013, asked its student body to vote for the team name. The kids voted for Cougars. The school board vetoed that name because it decreed the name "too racy" and chose the Chargers instead.

The Salt Lake Tribune said the board in Draper nixed the results of the student vote on the grounds Cougar was a derogatory term because of its use as a nickname for single women on the prowl for younger boyfriends.

Superintendent David Doty said that his office had received complaints from concerned parents and decided to head off any problems before the school opened in 2013.

There must be a lot of single moms in their 30's and 40's in Draper who would have felt prosecuted by that Cougar team name and who must carry a lot of influence in the town. Ah, the influence of the internet, cable television, and porn in Small Town, America these days.

Author's Bio: 

Steve Brennan, a former educator and college basketball coach, has Masters degrees in Educational Administration and Sport Psychology, and a Doctorate in Performance and Health Psychology. He is the author of several books, including Six Psychological Factors for Success and The Recruiters Bible (3rd Edition). He is President of Peak Performance Consultants, and the President and CEO of the Center for Performance Enhancement Research and Education (CPERE). Steve is the developer of the Success Factors Scales, both Corporate and Athletics Editions. and