College football is a lucrative business if you own a television network or are a million-dollar head coach. But if you are a college or a football player, you are lucky to break even.
West Virginia University won the Orange Bowl this year, 70-33. But the athletic program lost $217,700 on the deal.
Over five years, WVU has won the Sugar, Fiesta, Orange and Gator bowls. The team is 4-1 on the field - but 2-3 at the box office, losing money on three of those trips.
The net loss is $805,568 for the five bowls.
That will change, because unlike the Big East, the Big 12 Conference does not force teams to pay for unused tickets.
And there is another way of looking at the Orange Bowl deficit. First, the players did get to stay at a posh hotel. As "amateurs," their only compensation is a college scholarship and room and board.
Second, $217,700 is a small price to pay for the best exposure the school and the state have had in recent years. This should help recruitment across the board.