A Bowl Trip Comes With Gifts
MORGANTOWN, W.Va.–West Virginia heads out for Dallas on Dec. 21, and the Mountaineers will spend five days in DFW before wrapping up its 2017 season on Tuesday, Dec. 26 in the Heart of Dallas Bowl against Utah.
There will be some fun activities for the Mountaineers while the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex leading up to the game, not the least of which will be the opportunity to practice in the Ford Center at the Star, which is the Cowboys’ brand-new, multi-million dollar practice facility in Frisco.
The downside to the timing of the Heart of Dallas Bowl is that the teams will have to spend Christmas away from home.
“Christmas is one of my favorite holidays,” said WVU senior co-captain Al-Rasheed Benton. “It is one of the times where we all go to my aunt’s house. It is a tradition that everyone goes to her house on Christmas Eve. There is a big dinner, and everybody gives out gifts and things like that. I’m definitely a little bummed that I will miss that, but I’ll be with my football family, so I’ll be alright.”
Missing the holidays with the family can be a bummer. But players do get presents of their own, as the bowls traditional provide gifts to the players. NCAA rules put a $550 limit on bowl gifts, and this year the Heart of Dallas Bowl will give every player a football as well as an opportunity to pick from a variety of items in a gift suite. Most bowl now have such gift suites, where players can choose from a range of things, be it electronics, watches, furniture, bikes, etc.
For some, the gifts become gifts.
“I’ve heard rumors about what’s available in the gift suite,” said WVU sophomore offensive tackle Colton McKivitz. “I’ve heard that they have a Yeti cooler, and that would be a perfect gift for my old man.”
Colton didn’t say whether the gift was going to be a surprise, but if you’re in Jacobsburg, Ohio, and see Matt McKivitz, don’t spill the beans.
Junior wide receiver David Sills came back from WVU’s Cactus Bowl a couple years ago with both a game-winning touchdown catch and also a Christmas present for his mom.
“I got her a Michael Kors watch,” recalled Sills, who didn’t participate in West Virginia’s Russell Athletic Bowl last year because he was attending junior college. “They had a lot of gifts to pick from, but I wanted to do something nice for my mom. I think a lot of us end up getting something for our parents.”
This year’s gift suite options still aren’t known to the Mountaineers.
“We’ll find out what’s available in the gift suite when we get to Dallas,” said McKivitz. “But it’s always cool. It’s an incentive for the year. Obviously it’s about a lot more than the bowl gift, but that’s a nice bonus.”
“We haven’t seen what’s available in the gift suite, but that’s always something all the players look forward to,” added Sills. “It’s fun, but we don’t know what we can get yet. I’m not sure what I’ll be looking for this year.”
Parents, put in your requests now.