Could New Mexico State decline a bowl if it gets eligible?

Dr. Saturday
New Mexico State is 4-5 in 2017. (Getty)
New Mexico State is 4-5 in 2017. (Getty)

New Mexico State needs to win two of its last three games to get to 6-6 and be bowl eligible. If NMSU gets bowl eligible, it would go to the school’s first bowl game since 1960.

If the bowl site works out for the school, that is.

According to a report from NBC 9 in El Paso, the school may be forced to be picky about bowl locations if it gets selected for a postseason appearance because of financial reasons. Lower-tier bowl games are typically costly enterprises for schools and New Mexico State isn’t in a position to absorb a financial hit.

“If you stick us too far back east, then it becomes a financial issue with our fans and if you’re obligated to buy X number of tickets and we can’t sell them to our fans, then it becomes a costly enterprise,” New Mexico State chancellor Garrey Carruthers told the station.

Schools are forced to buy ticket allotments from bowl games — the bowls gotta make money, you know — and then they sell them to their fans at the listed price. It’s unlikely that New Mexico State fans would snap up the entire allotment of tickets if the Aggies got placed in the Cure Bowl in Orlando or another game more than a day’s drive away.

New Mexico State is in the midst of ongoing budget issues — and has been for some time. The school’s athletic budget has been reduced by approximately $1 million over the past two years.

The entire school cut $12 million from its 2017 budget.

Unlike other schools with large donor bases and millions upon millions in conference revenue thanks to large television deals, the Sun Belt school relies on a lot of different sources for its athletic revenue. Nearly $3 million of the school’s $17 million athletic budget for the 2017 year is from games where NMSU gets paid to play bigger schools. The Aggies traveled to play Arizona State in Week 1 and Arkansas in Week 5.

The game against Arkansas netted the athletic department $1.35 million.

NMSU’s three bowl appearances have all come in the Sun Bowl in El Paso, though the Sun Bowl’s tie ins are now with the ACC and the Pac-12. If the Aggies get bowl eligible — games against Louisiana, Idaho and South Alabama remain — it’s hoping for a bid to the New Mexico or Arizona Bowls.

But the fact that we’re simply talking about a team that could make its first bowl appearance in 57 years having to skip a trip because of the expenses involved is another example of the massive flaws in the bowl system. A playoff was a good step in the right direction in determining college football’s champion. Now the sport needs to figure out a way to make bowl games financially feasible for everyone involved.

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of Dr. Saturday and From the Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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