How little sense does the BCS make? Well, apart from the difficult-to-calculate, in some cases negligible gains a university makes from the exposure of a bowl game—anyone applying (or donating) to Fresno State because they got crushed by SMU in the Hawaii Bowl?—the total cost of travel and accommodations basically incentivizes not participating in the college football postseason for some schools. Take the case of the Ohio Bobcats, who gave us some excellent MACtion this fall, played well enough to get an at-large bid from the Independence Bowl (when Louisiana Tech declined the offer), dominated Louisiana-Monroe, and sound none too pleased about the way the whole thing looked on the ledger:
"When you're going for an at-large bowl, in some elements there's negotiating between the bowl and MAC," he said. "The bowl game has leverage on their side. If they can't come to terms with you, (they can say), ‘Fine, we'll go over here and sign this school.' "
Because of the extended timeframe in preparation for this season's bowl, Ohio dedicated $4,322 to advertising, as opposed to forgoing an ad campaign in 2011. It also added $12,835 to its on-campus food costs, which can be attributed in part to OU's dining halls being closed during Winter Intersession. The Bobcats' meals had to be catered this season.
Ohio also paid $84,019.52 for lodging in Shreveport, La., the site of this year's bowl. That figure represents an increase of almost $16,000 from the Bobcats' Potato Bowl total.
Hotel accommodations are outside Ohio's control, Hauser said.
"There's a home hotel and visiting hotel, and as a participant, you don't get to pick the best (rate) in town," he said. "It's, ‘By the way, here's the place and here's the room rate.' "
That $78,569 was taken out of Ohio University General Fee, which "provides funding for non-instructional student services," and which is "charged to every student who is enrolled in at least one class." Ohio University says that fund exists to "promote students' emotional and physical well-being, as well as their cultural and social development outside the classroom."
Luckily, the people that organize those compulsory expensive hotel stays don't know much about kickbacks, so it's probably all above board.
Independence Bowl Appearance Carries Hefty Price Tag [Ohio University Post]