Paparoni Pizza Bowl

Rutgers lost more than $184G on Bowl

by Ted Sherman and Josh Margolin
Monday March 02, 2009, 9:05 PM

Rutgers University collected $1.2 million for its trip to the Bowl last December. But by the time expenses were paid and the coaching staff given its performance bonuses, the school lost more than $184,000, according to reports filed with the NCAA. . . .

The state university has come under criticism in the past by its own auditors over its post-season bowl appearances. An internal audit report last year said the athletics department underreported its expenses for the 2005 Insight Bowl, while reclassifying some expenses -- including hotel rooms for radio personnel, T-shirts, and press services -- into the athletic department's promotions accounts.

In May, the New Jersey state auditor issued a report finding that the university violated its own travel-expense policies, paying airfare, hotel and per diem expenses for spouses, guests and children of the athletic staff at the 2006 Texas Bowl. The auditor, who reports to the state Legislature, also cited $11,000 that paid for in-room movies, valet parking, room service and phone charges.

The costs of the Bowl included $282,610 to send 205 members of the Rutgers football team and staff to Birmingham for six days; $165,799 for 187 members of the band and cheerleading squads, who went for three days, and $28,950 for 21 members of the faculty, administration and athletics department. Food and lodging expenses totaled $263,334.

The bowl game triggered $268,365 in performance bonuses and other compensation for the head coach Greg Schiano and his staff. Rutgers was obligated as well to buy 10,000 tickets to the game, although it sold less than half of them, absorbing $214,000 in tickets. . . .

Sports economist Andrew Zimbalist said it is very typical for the lower-tier bowl games in college football to lose money.

"The payouts are low and its shared within the conference," he noted. "They can give all the hype to it that they want, but it's not a profit-making opportunity. It's mostly a big Christmas party."

Copyright (c) 2009 Star Ledger


Tom Luicci in the Star Ledger:

Tuesday December 09, 2008, 3:13 PM

No point in mincing any words here. Rutgers is heading to what is arguably the worst bowl on college football's 34-game post-season lineup.

The stadium is falling down. There's no SEC team waiting -- as was supposed to be the case. The payout is the lowest of all the bowl games, and barely matches what Rutgers pays a team like Morgan State to come in during the regular season to absorb a healthy beating.

It's a 3 o'clock start (2 local time) on a Monday afternoon, a time when most people are still at work. Dec. 29 isn't a national holiday yet, is it?



From a national sports board:

There are bowl games. Then there is the Pizza Bowl, which quickly became everybody's favorite when ESPN told fans of South Florida and East Carolina — the participants from last year's inaugural event — to sit on the side facing the main game camera to add to the illusion that somebody actually cared to trudge down to Birmingham's Legion Field to watch this.

There were other issues, namely the fact that the title sponsor could not work out a deal with the vendor to sell pizza inside the stadium. And vendors ran out of beer long before the game was over. There must have been only one keg because hardly anybody attended this event. Put it this way: dogs wandering outside the stadium attracted more fleas than the Pizza Bowl did fans.

To top it off, some analyst from ESPN later talked about how important it was to "maintain the integrity of the bowl system." What ESPN didn't tell you is that the Pizza Bowl is one of five games it sponsors, the others being the Las Vegas, New Mexico, Hawaii and Armed Forces games. Integrity here is code for selling out to make money for ESPN.

So imagine the joy when an email arrived Saturday from our man Greg. "For the second consecutive year, I find myself in Birmingham on a December afternoon at Legion Field watching the Bowl."

We also received an email saying that the vendor ran out of pizza during the first quarter.

So, how well attended was the Pizza Bowl? Last year's crowd was an "announced 32,023." On Saturday, officials "announced 35,258" attended the game, won by Cincinnati, 31-21.

But fans of the Bearcats and Golden Eagles were once again sitting on the same side of the stadium, the one facing the main camera. That's clear from the top photo. Click it to enlarge the image.

The bottom shot shows the local turnout. Kevin Scarbinsky of the Birmingham News wrote, "Did you know you could leave your house 30 miles away from Legion Field 90 minutes before kickoff and be in a parking lot at Legion Field 60 minutes before kickoff?"

From a Cincy fan there last year:

"Okay, so my take is the stadium was atrocious and even as a loyal UC fan, I don't know that I would go back to a bowl game in that stadium. The Papa John's people should seriously be embarrassed by how awful this stadium was. We had no toilet paper, something they called "food", no pizza, and a stadium that felt like it might fall down anytime anyone cheered. One of my friends tried to order a Mountain Dew which was proudly displayed directly next to the scoreboard (and at the same size I might note) and was told they didn't carry it. Wow.

Couldn't hear anything that was going on or being announced because there was one working speaker that sounded like the speakers in my 93 Saturn. We couldn't understand 10 words the entire game.

Then to top it all off, the announcer actually misidentifies their team as Mississippi State. I hope that announcer was fired on the spot. What an all in all horrible game."