The state of Virginia is facing a reported $2.2 billion budget shortfall over two years, but that didn't slow the Virginia Tech football team from throwing money around at the 2011 Orange Bowl.
The Hokies lost $1.6 million on their trip to South Florida, according to Dan Wetzel, the Yahoo! columnist who posted the information to his Death To The BCS blog.
It can be argued that losing "only" $1.6 million is progress for Virginia Tech. The team lost $2.2 million on its trip to the 2009 Orange Bowl. For those of you scoring at home, that's $3.8 million on the Hokies' past two trips to the Bowl Championship Series game.
Virginia Tech ran up $3,343,689 in expenses and was reimbursed $1,725,000 by the Atlantic Coast Conference, which like most conferences pools bowl revenue and pays each member a percentage. But the Hokies' cut didn't come close to covering the bills.
The biggest culprit was again unsold or withheld tickets. The Hokies got stuck with 9,500 of them totaling $1,243,988.
Wetzel also makes a point about the costs associated with travel. Virginia Tech spent $1.2 million, which included 150 rooms at the Westin Diplomat Hotel and Spa at $212 per night for seven nights and 325 rooms at the rate of $258 for three nights. There were 125 more rooms at the Sheraton for $175 per night for three nights.
In addition, ACC officials were obligated to buy 15 rooms for three nights at $319 a night at the Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne.
Wetzel writes that teams "must stay where, and for as long as, the bowl demands. Then some bowls collect commissions from the chosen hotels."
No wonder the number of bowl games has skyrocketed from 18 in 1996-97 to a record 35 this past season. And, of course, bowl executives are cashing in. There were 20 executives making at least $200,000. The Orange Bowl had three employees topping $200K.
Stanford, which bludgeoned Virginia Tech, 40-12, likely lost a bundle on its trip to Miami Gardens. Consider the travel costs from Palo Alto to South Florida and the fact Stanford didn't come close to filling its required 17,500-ticket allotment. But Stanford, a private university, is not required to provide financial statements.
One can assume Stanford's losses meet or exceed Connecticut's dropping of $1.8 million on its trip to the Fiesta Bowl.