Northern Illinois' trip to Toronto for the Jan. 2 International Bowl cost the team $271,152, the second year in a row the Huskies have taken a financial beating in the postseason.
Northern Illinois ran up a deficit of $154,125 for its appearance in the Independence Bowl in Shreveport in 2008, meaning the Huskies are in the hole $425,277 for their past two postseason trips.
Nonetheless, officials were quick to defend the expenditure for the trip to Canada.
"I feel like we did a very good job of controlling our costs and keeping to a point where we concentrated on things where we focused on the things that are most important, which are the student-athlete experience and celebrating our accomplishments with our football team," athletics director Jeff Compher said.
"I think we did a very good job. We tried to keep our expenses down. We were trying not to be extravagant. But you have to go and stay for a certain amount of time."
In an attempt to trim costs, the team left immediately after its 27-3 loss to South Florida rather than stay another night in Canada. And instead of renting a copy machine or being charged a fixed amount per copy in Toronto, the university brought its own copy machine, which Compher said actually saved money.
"We looked at every cost and tried to reduce or eliminate where we could, but not taking anything away from the student-athletes' experience or the coaches because it does so much in exposing our university," Compher said.
The International Bowl had the third-lowest TV rating among bowls this past postseason, edging only the New Orleans and Insight.
Perhaps there is some good news for Northern Illinois. Officials at the International Bowl, which matched teams from the Mid-American and Big East conferences, announced that the game was being canceled after four years.
The bad news is that the Mid-American has reached agreement to send a team to the Humanitarian Bowl in Boise, which likely won't mean much reduction in costs for the league.
Thanks to Steve!