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Buckeyes can feel like winners with a Wii

When the Ohio State University football team earned a bid to the national championship game, the players could cross some items off their Christmas wish lists.

In addition to a chance at the national title, the Buckeyes took home another coveted prize — a Nintendo Wii video-game system.

Every player on the Ohio State and Louisiana State teams received a Wii and several other items as part of a bowl gift package.

Finding a Wii has been a difficult task for shoppers this year, but those working for the BCS national championship game — and for two nonrelated bowl games — gathered enough for every player on the teams involved.

“It was not easy,” said Mark Neville, a spokesman for the Holiday Bowl in San Diego that also is giving the Wii. The Alamo Bowl in San Antonio is the other bowl with the Wii in its gift package.

Along with the video-game console, the Buckeyes received four Wii games, a baseball cap, a watch and a fleece pullover.

Each bowl can spend up to $500 per team member, and bowl directors work to find the top prizes for their games.

“We try to get a feel for what kids like to have,” said Mike Schulze, spokesman for the Outback Bowl in Tampa, Fla., which is giving a Sony digital camera, a custom ring and a watch.

Electronics are popular, and most bowls supply players with some kind of electronic gadget.

Illinois and USC players will receive a Sony Bravia home-theater system from the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., and Hawaii and Georgia will take home a Sony digital camcorder compliments of the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.

At the Capital One and Champs Sports bowls, both played in Orlando, Fla., each player will receive a $400 Best Buy gift card and be let loose in the store. The teams will have their shopping spree while the store is closed to other customers.

In addition to the $500 gifts from the bowls, each team can spend up to $350 per player.

Another perk for the Buckeyes is that every player on the travel squad receives six free tickets to the Jan. 7 game in New Orleans.

The NCAA usually prohibits players from accepting gifts but has no problem if they are rewards from the bowls or schools. The gifts just can’t be cash, must be under the designated price level and are not allowed to be resold.

Category: Columbus Dispatch

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