There has been a lot of confusion and misinformation lately regarding C-USA’s handling of bowl selections and the distribution of payouts from said bowls, so we’re here to hopefully provide some clarity.
First, the C-USA Membership Handbook gives a clear explanation on how the conference handles revenue sharing of bowl payouts.
Bowl participants will retain the first $100,000 of revenue for bowl game tickets sold by the participating institutions. Participating institutions will split 50-50 with the Conference any ticket revenue over $100,000 for bowl game tickets sold by the participating institutions. After expenses, any surplus tickets and bowl revenues will be shared as follows: 10% to bowl participants (equal shares) and 90% to all members (equal shares) including bowl participants. Distributions are made on or after, June 15th but no later than June 30th of each year.
The conference retains all bowl payouts and distributes them evenly amongst all schools, with a small bonus for the participating teams, after paying for travel expenses and per diems for each participating school. Historically, this has been very little money, if any, due to the high travel costs associated with some of C-USA’s bowl games.
The league’s bowl participants are also allowed to keep the first $100,000 of ticket revenue and half of all revenue above $100,000, enticing schools to choose bowls close to home that are easier for fans to attend.
This helps explain why a team like Western Kentucky would choose Boca Raton over Heart of Dallas, since they would likely receive a similar amount of revenue either way, and they can travel to a state that they recruit more heavily.
The conference fills bowls in such a way that will maximize revenues and benefit all parties involved. Only the conference champion is allowed to choose their own bowl game, and even that is not technically guaranteed.
The conference has an additional rule regarding the placement of 6-6 teams guaranteeing that all teams with seven or more wins are placed first, eliminating the possibility of a 7-5 or better team being left at home while a 6-6 team goes bowling.
All teams with a winning record (i.e., seven countable wins) shall be placed into conference bowls prior to any other bowl
eligible teams without a winning record (i.e., six countable wins). Countable wins may include one victory against a FCS
opponent provided the opponent has averaged 90 percent of the permissible maximum number of grants-in-aid per year in
football during a rolling two-year period.
This is in addition to NCAA rules that state all teams with six or more wins have to be selected before any 6-7 teams, and then the top 5-7 teams based on APR (Academic Progress Rate) will fill any remaining slots.
This could pave the way for North Texas to qualify for a bowl game this season even if they lose to UTEP and fall to 5-7, as they have a 982 APR, ranking fourth among all FBS teams that could currently finish 5-7.
UTSA ranks much lower in APR and will have to defeat Charlotte this Saturday to qualify for their first-ever bowl game.