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Bowl Licensing

A member institution shall not participate in any noncollegiate- or nonconference- sponsored postseason football game unless it has been licensed by the NCAA Football Issues Committee.

A postseason football bowl game is conducted after the regular football season ends and involves teams selected because of their regular-season performance (i.e., won-lost record, conference championship). Participation by member institutions is limited to bowl games that are licensed by the Association. The licensed postseason bowl game shall meet all requirements and conditions set forth in Bylaw 30.9.

Bowl Representation at April Meeting

A sponsoring agency requesting initial licensing or relicensing for a postseason football game shall have a representative attend the NCAA Football Issues Committee annual April meeting.

General Licensing Criteria for NCAA Postseason Bowl Games

All sponsoring agencies must agree to meet the following criteria in order to be licensed to conduct a postseason bowl game and must show compliance in order to be relicensed in subsequent years:

  • 1.

    On an annual basis, in an effort to indicate local community support, the sponsoring agency of a postseason bowl game must generate bowl-based revenue equal to or greater than all of the contractual financial commitments from the two participating institutions and conferences.

  • 2.

    A sponsoring agency of a postseason bowl game shall be required to average, over a rolling three-year period, either actual attendance of at least 25,000 or 70 percent of stadium capacity.

  • 3.

    Each licensed bowl game that has not distributed an average of $1 million to each of the teams during the preceding three-year period, or did not meet the licensing criteria shall be required to issue an irrevocable letter of credit equal to contractual conference payouts not later than September 1.

  • 4.

    Sponsoring agencies submitting initial applications must submit an irrevocable $2 million letter of credit with their licensing application (due by April 1).

  • 5.

    If a sponsoring agency fails to meet each of the licensing requirements, it shall lose its license or be put on probation for one year and, if at the end of that year it has not complied with the requirements, the bowl shall lose its license.

  • 6.

    It is recommended that the distribution to the two participating teams and conferences meets, at a minimum, the participating teams’reasonable contractual travel obligations and participation expenses.

The following guidelines will be emphasized by the NCAA Football Issues Committee when reviewing applications from prospective sponsoring agencies for postseason bowl games:

1. Conference commitments and conference place finish of the teams to be paired; 38

  • 2.

    Value of the title sponsor;

  • 3.

    Television network and the value of the television agreement;

  • 4.

    Stadium capacity and previous attendance history;

  • 5.

    Community involvement substantiated by, but not limited to, an organizational chart noting key contact persons, a report outlining the financial commitment of the community, a detailed promotional program and letters of commitment from the host city and facility;

  • 6.

    Longevity of bowl and previous bowl administrative experience;

  • 7.

    Financial commitments by the sponsoring agency to the participating teams;

  • 8.

    Geographic proximity to other licensed bowl games; and

  • 9.

    Quality of the facility and other necessary accommodations.

Initial Bowl License

Any sponsoring agency seeking an initial license for a postseason football bowl game shall adhere to the following NCAA bylaws and executive regulations:

  • 1.

    The bowl game must serve the purpose of providing a national contest between deserving winning teams.

  • 2.

    The competing institutions shall be active members of this Association, and a member institution shall not participate in more than one such game during any academic year.

  • 3.

    The application for the inauguration of a contest will be received from a proposing sponsor only at the annual spring meeting of the football issues committee. The application shall be received at the NCAA national office not later than April 1. Any application received after that date must be postmarked not later than March 25. The proposing sponsor shall submit to the football issues committee, with its application form, a projected financial report showing financial soundness of the proposed game. The football issues committee will approve or disapprove the contest at its annual spring meeting held in late April.

  • 4.

    The football issues committee shall prepare licensing documents that require the management of each postseason bowl game to enter into a contractual agreement through the NCAA licensing program. This agreement stipulates that the bowl management agrees to comply with the NCAA’s principles for the conduct of intercollegiate athletics, as set forth in Constitution 2 and relevant bylaws and interpretations, and with other policies adopted by the subcommittee.

  • 5.

    An agency that wishes to sponsor a domestic postseason football contest must secure not later than April 1 a $2 million irrevocable letter of credit issued by a United States financial institution and payable to the NCAA. The letter shall be in effect from the time of the agency’s initial application to the committee’s annual spring meeting, until it is replaced after licensing by a new letter of credit, guaranteeing the revenues that will be distributed to the participating teams plus an additional 25 percent to cover expenses related to game management, operations and administration. The letter of credit for an international bowl game shall be for $3.75 million.

  • 6.

    In the event that a game is licensed (with or without conditions) and the game is not played for reasons the football issues committee believes are within the control of the sponsoring agency, the agency is obligated to reimburse the conference or institution


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