TAMPA, Fla. — When it came to choosing his bowl gifts, Henry Poggi took the approach of a seasoned veteran.
Poggi, a fifth-year senior at Michigan, had a long-term frame of mind when he chose his gift from the Outback Bowl: a grill.
“I felt so old selecting my bowl gifts,” Poggi, a fullback, said. “I saw a TV and all this stuff, and I looked at this electric grill and thought, ‘Wow, this will be perfect.’”
Players from bowl teams receive gift packages as part of their participation in the holiday-season games. The NCAA allows bowl committees to give gift packages to players of up to $550 per player. Schools and conferences also buy gifts of up to $800 per player ($400 from the school and $400 from the conference).
Each December, SportsBusiness Journal publishes a list of all of the college football bowl games and the gifts it gives players and coaches from the two participating teams.
Michigan and South Carolina’s players also will receive a Jostens ring, a Fossil watch, a $125 Best Buy gift card, an Outback Steakhouse gift card and an Outback Bowl hat.
Michigan also gets a chance to take home some toys — or some electronics or some home furnishings. Each player has up to 10 points to “spend” on gifts, and redeem a certain number of points for specific gifts.
“Each person would pick off a paper what they want, and each person might be different,” linebacker/viper Khaleke Hudson said. “They have a list of items on a piece of paper, and you’ve got 10 points to pick an item, or three points for one item, and you’ve got seven points left. You’ve got to budget.”
Hudson picked a 42-inch television worth six points, and used the remaining points on cooking utensils for his family. The 10-point items, Hudson said, included a Playstation 4 and a king-sized bed.
Tight end Zach Gentry used his points allotment to get a Yeti cooler. Teammate Sean McKeon used his for a smartwatch and a drone.
“The younger guys are like, ‘Who the hell would get an electric grill?’” Poggi said. “I was there once! One day, you’ll learn.”