Central Michigan won a thrilling 44-41 victory over Troy in the Jan. 6 GMAC Bowl, but the Chippewas returned from Mobile without a dime in their pocket. The team lost of $188,903 on the trip, and officials are defending the expenditure, saying the true value of the trip could not be measured.
"Bowl games are not profit. It's the extended value that helps grow a university," athletics director Dave Heeke said.
It's the second year in a row a team from the Mid-American Conference has run up a big bill traveling to Mobile. Ball State reported a loss of $142,398 last year.
Central Michigan is no stranger to losing money in the postseason. Last year it lost $67,227 on its trip to the Motor City Bowl in nearby Detroit.
Nonetheless, officials are defending the practice, saying an appearance in the postseason is a way to advertise the university before a national cable audience.
"You just can’t measure that exposure," Heeke said. "It's also a chance for us to celebrate the excellence that is occurring in our program. We believe that helps reflect on the whole university."