Tech plans for bowl trip on Big 12 allowance of $1.56 million

Texas Tech players and cheerleaders run onto the field before the Red Raiders' 34-7 Liberty Bowl victory over Mississippi State last year in Memphis, Tennessee. Tech plays Mississippi on Dec. 28 in the Texas Bowl at NRG Stadium in Houston.

Texas Tech players and cheerleaders run onto the field before the Red Raiders’ 34-7 Liberty Bowl victory over Mississippi State last year in Memphis, Tennessee. Tech plays Mississippi on Dec. 28 in the Texas Bowl at NRG Stadium in Houston.

The best way for college football players to ensure pleasant memories of a bowl trip is to win the game and bring home the trophy that goes along with it.

Texas Tech plans to make it a memorable experience either way. For the second year in a row in the postseason, Tech plans to go a little over the budget provided by the Big 12 on the upcoming Texas Bowl, where the Red Raiders play Mississippi on Dec. 28 in Houston.

“Often, we will try to match our expenses to the subsidy that we’re provided, but also, this is an experience for the student-athletes,” said Jonathan Botros, the Tech senior associate athletics director for finance and administration. “It’s obviously an experience for our fans, so we want to do it right.

“I normally budget a couple of hundred thousand dollars in addition to the subsidy (for bowl trips), specifically just to make sure that it’s a positive experience for our student-athletes.”

Bowl pairings were made last Sunday. When Cheez-It Bowl officials bypassed Tech and the Texas Bowl invited the Red Raiders, some Tech supporters noted the Texas Bowl’s total payout of $6.4 million compared to the Cheez-It Bowl’s total payout of $6.07 million, but those numbers don’t reflect an individual school’s bowl budget.

Bowl payouts for Big 12 teams go to the conference, which in turn provides the teams with a member participation subsidy and a travel subsidy. Tech will get about $1.56 million from the Big 12, about $1.366 million being the participation subsidy and a travel subsidy right at $200,000. Tech’s travel allowance is $437 per one-way mile times air miles, in Tech’s case 458 air miles from Lubbock to Houston.

“We’re still putting all those numbers together,” Botros said. “I would expect that (expenses) wouldn’t be too far from that $1.56 million. Last year, we spent just north of $2 million, but obviously that was a considerably further trip.”

Texas Tech players celebrate with their trophy after the Red Raiders beat Mississippi State 34-7 last year in the Liberty Bowl. Tech takes on Mississippi this year in the Texas Bowl on Dec. 28 at NRG Stadium.

Texas Tech players celebrate with their trophy after the Red Raiders beat Mississippi State 34-7 last year in the Liberty Bowl. Tech takes on Mississippi this year in the Texas Bowl on Dec. 28 at NRG Stadium.

The subsidies the Big 12 provides to its teams are tiered, the programs going to the College Football Playoff and other New Year’s Six bowls — this year, TCU and Kansas State — receiving participation subsidies in the range of $2.46 million to $1.8 million.

The subsidy formula is identical for the Big 12 representatives going to the Alamo, Cheez-It, Texas, Liberty and Guaranteed Rate bowls. Each of those Big 12 programs receives the higher of two formulas: $1.366 million plus $437 per one-way mile to the bowl destination or $983,454 plus $874 per one-way mile to the bowl destination.

Tech ended last season by beating Mississippi State 34-7 at the Liberty Bowl, the Red Raiders’ first bowl trip since 2017 and the program’s first bowl victory since 2013.

Tech spent $2.17 million, including bowl bonuses, on the Liberty Bowl trip. Tech ended about $110,000 over budget, making up the difference with departmental revenue.

Tech and Ole Miss teams are scheduled to arrive in Houston on Christmas Eve. In the Red Raiders’ case, Botros said, players will be given the option of traveling on the team charter from Lubbock or using a travel voucher to go from their homes to Houston in days off before Christmas.

Tech will practice at Rice’s facilities, and Ole Miss will practice at the University of Houston.

Tech’s travel party last year was 334, and Botros said it’s likely to be similar or a little larger this year.

This article originally appeared on Lubbock Avalanche-Journal: Texas Tech plans for bowl trip on Big 12 allowance of $1.56 million