Turns out they weren't alone.
Dan Wetzel on the Death to the BCS blog reported on Friday that Virginia Tech took an even bigger bath with its trip to the Orange Bowl.
Total expenditures ran $3,343,689. The ACC, like most conferences, pools all its teams bowl revenue and then pays out the money in an effort to allow teams attending smaller bowls to potentially break even. The listed bowl share for Va Tech was just $1,725,000.So it wasn't bad enough that the Hokies lost badly to Stanford. They lost badly at the bank as well, to the tune of more than $1.6 million. At least it turned out better than VaTech's 2009 Orange Bowl bid in which the school fielded at $2.2 million shortfall.
In addition to ticket guarantees, schools are forced to pay for tickets even for their marching bands, regardless of whether the game is sold out or not. They are also mandated by bowl organizers to purchase blocks of expensive hotel rooms for expressed periods of time. Yet while the schools must pay face value for the tickets ($255 a pop), the secondary market offered huge blocks of tickets for around $50 each - some for even less.
When UConn's numbers were released, people pointed to the team's lackluster season, winning a weak Big East Conference then asking their fans to fly all the way across the country from Connecticut to Phoenix for a bowl game. But Virginia Tech had a successful season, winning 11 straight games and earning the conference title in the competitive ACC before taking a relatively short flight to Miami for the bowl game. Yet the school and the conference had to buy back more than half of the 17,500 tickets it was allotted to sell to fans.
It's easy (and actually kinda fun) to point at the big, bad bowl organizers who perpetuate the on- and off-field madness of the BCS. But it takes more than old guys in loud colored blazers to keep this traveshamockery going. The universities involved are complicit as well because they keep backing up to the pay window every year - even if they're making more deposits than withdrawals.
Which really makes it amazing that college presidents - allegedly intelligent men and women - continue to allow this to happen. If a Virginia Tech business student were to propose that a company align itself with an industry that continually bleeds even its most successful organizations, that person would be advised to find a new major. But somehow, the "grownups" in this conversation won't object to losing massive sums of money on a yearly basis.
In the meantime, the investigation into the alleged improper dealings of Fiesta Bowl organizers continues. So far, the Orange Bowl remains untouched by the rumors of corruption. But it's easy to imagine that someone is already digging to see if similar indiscretions exist. Until then, you can expect your favorite school to continue hemorrhaging money at the hands of college football's backward postseason.