Rainbow Warriors reap benefits of bowl

Bowls and Santa Claus go hand in hand for participating postseason teams such as the University of Hawaii, which returns to the Hawaii Bowl and well-stuffed gift stockings after a one-year absence.

In the postseason payoff to the Rainbow Warriors’ 8-5 (5-3 conference) season, head coach Nick Rolovich will earn, under terms of his 2015 contract, a $20,000 bonus for the Dec. 22 appearance or, $40,000 if UH defeats Louisiana Tech.

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A clause in the deal guaranteed Rolovich a one-year contract extension if UH earned a bowl bid in 2016 or ‘17, which he cashed in on in his first year. But the 2018 season did not apply.

Under UH’s executive compensation policy updated last month, the Warriors’ 10 assistant coaches may be granted, upon approval of the athletic director and Manoa chancellor, as much as one month’s salary as a bonus for a bowl appearance. The same holds true for assistant women’s volleyball coaches in the NCAA tournament.

In football, that could average as much as $10,000 per assistant coach.

Bowl bonuses are a way of rewarding coaches for a good season and extra time worked over the holidays.

Under terms of his contract, athletic director David Matlin can be considered for an overall $50,000 bonus based on UH achievements across multiple targeted sectors, including bowl games and NCAA tournament appearances, at the discretion of the Manoa chancellor.

But it isn’t just coaches and athletic directors who can cash in on this postseason.

The players on participating teams don’t get checks, but they do receive considerable swag. NCAA rules permit players to receive items valued at approximately $1,200 to $5,620 based on a graduated scale involving bowls, schools, conferences and playoff levels.

Last year, for instance, the Hawaii Bowl made available to participating players a choice of items from an electronics gift suite as well as an Oakley backpack and sunglasses, Tori Richard aloha shirt, beach towel, surf trunks and performance T-shirt.

As for the UH athletic department, it does not receive a payment directly from the bowl but from the conference which holds the contracts with bowls and divides up the proceeds.

Mountain West schools get a budget from the conference depending on the bowl, payout and distance traveled. The school then shares in a conference postseason pool.

Except for the 2008 Sugar Bowl, that has usually meant UH ends up slightly above or just below a break even figure when all expenses, including bonuses, are figured in. A MWC spokesman said, “We try to keep our participating institutions whole, but then distribute a share of a New Year Six bowl (money), amongst the 12 schools.”

On top of that, the team that participates in the NY6 receives an additional bonus.

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The top-ranked champion of the Group of Six conferences receives a bid to one of the NY6 bowls. If that turns out to be the MWC champion, then UH stands to gain approximately $166,000 as its share of the conference pool, Matlin said.

Fresno State and Boise State play for the MWC title Saturday and the winner would likely get the invite if unbeaten UCF loses in the American Athletic Conference championship game to Memphis.