For hoops teams, swag season is here

Participants in this year’s Division I men’s and women’s Final Fours will receive NCAA gift packages worth approximately $750, including a Jostens ring in a commemorative wooden display box and a piece of the court from the championship weekend, according to the NCAA.

A maximum of 25 members of each men’s team will receive, among other items, an Apple TV and a Final Four bench chair. Members of the Women’s Final Four teams will receive a tumbler with an ESPN logo (reflecting the network partner for the tournament), a bench towel and a Women’s Final Four game ball inside a display cube.

Watches will be given to all 3,300 participants in the two tournaments this month, but only the 200 Final Four participants will receive a watch with the Final Four logo.

The total estimated value of the NCAA’s tournament gifts this year is $320,000.

The gift-giving is part of the annual end-of-season college basketball tournament experience, just as football players receive gifts as part of their bowl-game experiences each fall. Gifts are presented for both conference tournament and NCAA tournament play.

For participating in this month’s conference tournaments, up to 25 gift packages can be provided to a team by its school and by its conference, according to NCAA bylaws. An unlimited number of additional packages can be bought and given to guests, such as sponsors and media partners. Those tournament-related gifts are on top of regular-season participation packages that are available to the players. Additional packages for championship wins are also allowed.

The gifts can add up. For example, a senior — seniors are allowed to receive more than underclassmen — on a team that runs the table and wins championships for the regular season, postseason conference tournament and NCAA tournament could secure a total gift haul valued at up to $3,780.

The monetary limits set up by the NCAA are similar across most men’s and women’s sports and sanctioned events, and the levels are the same as they were during the 2011-12 school year. There are variances based on whether the sport is individual- or team-based, among other factors.

Among conferences, the Big 12 this year is joining at least five other conferences that are offering gift suites as a reward to players and coaches who are participating in their championship tournaments. This type of offering is one where players and coaches can go online to a targeted website and select from a catalog of items instead of each participant receiving a preselected gift from the conference.

Last year, the Big 12 handed out 600 Dynex 32-inch flat-screen televisions to participants as its gifts. In 2011, it gave an iPod touch to each participant.

Bob Burda, associate commissioner of communications at the Big 12, said the reason for the switch to a gift suite was to give the participants a variety in the gifts they could receive.


Sports Business Journal

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