Getting a Bowl Started Isn't Simple

Just wanting to join the party won't get a new bowl started. Los Angeles and the "Cure Bowl" both made efforts for certification for 2010 and were not approved while discussions in Little Rock at that time did not reach the point of seeking certification.

All three are now working toward certification for the 2014 season along with another eight potential games.

Former Sun Belt Conference Commissioner Wright Waters now serves as Executive Director of the Football Bowl Association and he took time to provide some clarity about the road ahead.

"I am sure that the existing bowls would share with them [the proposed games] that it is a long journey from conversation to kick-off."

Waters said the bowl line-up for 2014 won't be known until March of 2014 when the NCAA announces the games that have been certified.

To gain certification, the NCAA currently requires that a proposed game meet the following requirements:
-A $2 million letter of credit to insure that all bills associated with the game are paid in the event the game fails to generate enough revenue to meet its obligations.
-A national television package.
-Commitments from two conferences to make teams available.
-A governance structure that complies with IRS statutes and regulations.
-An approved sponsorship package. Presumably that means no sponsors the NCAA finds objectionable such as casinos, alcohol manufacturers, etc.

Waters noted that the new College Football Playoff may result in greater bowl access for the Sun Belt, MAC, MWC, CUSA, and the AAC. The added revenue being paid to those leagues will make it easier for them to provide financial assistance to games just getting started.

While the money offered to conferences certainly impacts how a game is viewed by the conferences being courted by a bowl, Waters said money is not the only factor. Weather at the site, the hospitality of the community, the organization's volunteers, the quality of the stadium, the game's time slot, the potential opponent, and the opportunities for fans to have fun during the visit help distinguish games from one another, especially when the potential revenue of two games is fairly similar.

Fans have grown accustomed to the rigid selection order of games but Waters said he thinks the process will begin having more flexibility.

"I think everyone involves understands that the old system does not always yield best match ups and they are looking for ways to schedule attractive match ups and keep teams in areas where they have a fan base."

The Big 10 Conference is already moving in this direction with adoption of a tiered assignment system.

Advice for the games wanting to create an event that players, coaches, administrators, and fans want to return to?

"Listen to the teams that are going to bowls, they will tell you what works for them."

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