While some of their peers will be collecting cufflinks, customized bobblehead dolls and even cornhole games, football players from Iowa and Iowa State have their pick of bowl swag this season.
The Hawkeyes and Cyclones are participating in games that provide players with open-ended gifts as part of their reward for a successful season.
Under NCAA rules, bowls are allowed to provide each participant in their games with gifts totaling a combined maximum value of $550.
Electronics and clothing remain popular items as do gift suites, which allow players to choose whatever they like from a variety of items set up in a room either at their hotel at the bowl site or on their campus before they leave for the bowl game.
“There’s some good keepsakes, some stuff to wear and the last time we went to the Outback Bowl there were good things we got to pick from,’’ Iowa tight end T.J. Hockenson said. “It’s a good reward.’’
Sports Business Journal has compiled a list of bowl gifts annually since 2006, detailing what nearly every bowl is handing out to participating players.
Fittingly, Iowa and Mississippi State players will receive a gift card from bowl sponsor Outback Steakhouse for their participation in the 11 a.m. game on New Year’s Day in Tampa.
The Hawkeyes, who received a variety of New Era products a year ago at the Pinstripe Bowl, and Bulldogs will also receive a Fossil watch, a Jostens ring, a $125 Best Buy gift card and a hat as gifts from the Outback Bowl.
Iowa State players who went on a shopping trip to a Bass Pro Shop location at the Liberty Bowl a year ago will join Washington State players in taking their pick of Amazon offerings among gifts they will receive for playing in Friday’s 8 p.m. Alamo Bowl.
The Cyclones and Cougars will each receive a $425 Amazon gift card, a Fossil watch, a mini helmet and a team panoramic photo from the bowl as a participating player.
The fare being given out by the San Antonio bowl is fairly typical.
For example, Northern Illinois players had the chance to pick items from a gift suite and received a drawstring backpack, a beach towel and a souvenir football for participating in the Boca Raton Bowl on Dec. 18.
Some bowls are finding new ways to reward players.
Texas and Georgia players will take home cufflinks among other items for participating in the Sugar Bowl this year.
At the Orange Bowl, a college football playoff semifinal game this year, gifts for Alabama and Oklahoma players include a personalized bobblehead in their likeness. The Tide and Sooners will also visit a gift suite, receive a Tourneau watch and a sling bag.
Players from California and TCU, competing Wednesday in the Cheez-It Bowl in Phoenix, are each receiving a Baggo bag toss tailgate cornhole set as well as a Fossil watch with engraved caseback, JBL Charge 3 Bluetooth speakers, a Yeti Roadie 20 cooler, Yeti Rambler, dry duffle bag, RuMe reveal quart bag, Branded Bills cap and a Dollar Shave Club starter set.
At the Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl, players from Arkansas State and Nevada are receiving a Ghostek backpack with a power bank and external USB port that ensures their electronics will remain fully charged.
In Detroit, Minnesota and Georgia Tech players will receive life-sized Fathead decals in their own likeness among other gifts from the QuickLane Bowl and San Diego State and Ohio players are receiving Justin cowboy hats from the DXL Frisco Bowl.
Players fortunate enough to reach college football’s national championship game receive a double dose of gifts, one gift package from the semifinal bowl and a second from the title game.
For last year’s title-game participants, Georgia and Alabama players each received a national championship game coin, a Wilson commemorative football, a Diesel watch, a Jostens ring, a New Era cap and a watch and ring holder engraved with each player’s name and jersey number.