Tis the season for participants in college football bowl games to reap the rewards of their work.
Players from Iowa, Iowa State and Northern Illinois will benefit from the bounty of bowl gifts that will be handed out to competing teams in 40 bowl games this season.
In total under NCAA rules, players from the three teams can be given up to $2,000 in postseason gifts and awards for being part of a bowl team this season.
The Hawkeyes will receive pre-selected gifts from the Pinstripe Bowl, the Cyclones are going shopping during their Liberty Bowl trip, and the Huskies will both receive gifts and have a chance to select some items on their own during their appearance at the Quick Lane Bowl.
Gifts presented by bowls to players can value up to $550 apiece for 125 participants per school in each bowl game. Schools are allowed to purchase additional gifts for distribution to others beyond the 125 limit, often ensuring that student managers and trainers receive the same gifts as the players.
That dollar figure represents only a fraction of the gifts teams across the country will receive this season.
For a player on a team winning a conference and national championship, the dollar figure can reach $5,620 in gifts per player.
That includes the value of gifts as conference title game participants, conference title game winners, bowl participants, bowl winners, national championship participants and national championship winners.
Iowa and Iowa State aren’t shopping in that neighborhood this season, but the Hawkeyes and Cyclones are positioned to receive up to $2,000 overall in gifts this bowl season.
In addition to the $550 in gifts from the bowl game, the NCAA allows schools and conferences to each give players $400 in gifts as bowl participants, a total of $1,350 per player on bowl-qualifying teams.
For players on teams that win bowl games, schools and conferences are each allowed to distribute additional gifts valued up to $325, a total of $650 per player.
Bowl rings are typically among the items players receive, a memento of the occasion shared by everyone on the team.
Iowa linebacker Josey Jewell has collected four of them and is preparing to receive a fifth.
They're nice and all, but the senior has never been one to wander around campus with an oversized ring on a finger.
Jewell suspects the latest model will end up in the same place as the others.
"Probably the sock drawer,'' he said. "Not to say they're not important, but that's where I put them.''
Iowa’s bowl gifts from the Pinstripe Bowl are standard fare.
New Era is the title sponsor of the bowl, and the Hawkeyes’ gifts for playing in the Dec. 27 game in New York City consist entirely of custom-made New Era products ranging from hats to hoodies to shirts and jackets.
For playing in the Liberty Bowl on Dec. 30, Iowa State players will go shopping with a line of credit at a Bass Pro Shops store in the Memphis area.
The Cyclones will also receive a Bulova Caravelle watch, Nike athletic shoes, sport sandals, a backpack and a souvenir football.
Each Northern Illinois player will take home a unique souvenir from their Dec. 26 game in Detroit, a life-sized Fathead decal in his own likeness.
The Huskies will also receive JBL Bluetooth headphones, an Ogio backpack and tag, a mini-helmet, a hoodie, workout shorts, a winter hat, a vintage football and a $175 Best Buy gift card.
About two dozen bowls continue to host gift suites, allowing players to select their own gifts ranging from recliners to televisions to the latest electronic gadgets, all valued at no more than $550
According to an annual survey of bowl game gifts compiled by Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal, this year’s fare includes a wide range of electronic items, backpacks, watches, sunglasses and other trinkets designed to be mementos of a bowl experience.
Among the more unusual handouts for this year’s bowl participants: fidget spinners and beanies from the Gildan New Mexico Bowl, a neck pillow from the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl, an Amazon Echo from the Dollar General Bowl, an aloha shirt and surf trunks from the Hawaii Bowl, a belt buckle from the Texas Bowl and team panoramic photos from the Valero Alamo Bowl and Allstate Sugar Bowl.