The Best and Worst Gift Packages Offered by This Year’s Bowl Games – CalBearsMaven
For decades, bowl gift packages were the only gifts of monetary value that student-athletes could legally receive under NCAA rules. That’s thankfully no longer the case, because most of these packages, which are worth up to $550, are pretty lame. At least, as far as we can tell.
We don’t have the full picture because 24 of the 43 bowl matchups offer “gift suites” that allow for players to choose from a range of options. The gift suite is typically an actual room where players can peruse the items up for grabs. The rest of the bowl committees choose the gifts themselves.
Sports Business Journal revealed on Wednesday nearly all of the prizes that will be distributed to players in the coming weeks. Let’s see which presents will end up as treasured keepsakes—and which will be buried at the bottom of moving boxes for years to come.
5. Servpro First Responder Bowl (Air Force vs. Louisville)
Gift suite; Action Face personalized figure; Anker phone charger; commemorative football
This package merits mention because of the Action Face personalized figure, which is making its first bowl gift package appearance this year. The players in this game and the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl (Missouri-Army) will have headshot photos taken and choose a football pose, then the company will use a 3D printer to build a personalized action figure for each player. The end product could be really cool or a beautiful disaster. Either way, it’s a lot more interesting than most of the alternatives.
4. TaxSlayer Gator Bowl (Wake Forest vs. Texas A&M)
Maui Jim sunglasses fitting; Fossil watch; waterproof Bluetooth speaker; noise-canceling headphones; powerbank; Tile Bluetooth wireless tracker
As a Tile owner, I can say it’s saved me from losing my phone, wallet and keys numerous times. Forgetful college students could certainly benefit from its uses. The other items included here are far from unique among the gift packages, but this is a solid collection of some of the best ones.
3. EasyPost Hawai‘i Bowl (Memphis vs. Hawai’i)
Electronics gift suite; sunglasses and backpack; Kahala aloha shirt; beach towel; swim trunks
I’m putting a lot of trust in the electronics gift suite here, but the fact it was distinguished from all the other gift suites gives me hope that there are some sweet gadgets in there for the Tigers and Rainbow Warriors. I also have to stand up for the aloha shirt as someone who owns countless shirts of that ilk; any college-aged man looking to start his collection could certainly do worse than the Kahala brand. I usually just find them at my local thrift store at a heavy discount, but you do need some quality threads mixed in with the tackier looks.
2. Valero Alamo Bowl (Oregon vs. Oklahoma)
$490 Mastercard gift card by University Fancards; Ice Shaker bottle; mini-helmet; team panoramic photo
The Alamo Bowl is one of several games giving its participants cash-equivalent gift cards of at least $350. Cash is king (or at least good for second place here), and the Alamo Bowl is using nearly its entire inventory on it. So we’ll feature the high-quality Pac-12 vs. Big 12 matchup here despite its uninspired secondary offerings. You can consider the Ducks lucky, as they received our No. 1-ranked gift last year.
1. PlayStation Fiesta Bowl (Notre Dame v. Oklahoma State)