The Implications of a Bowl Game Boycott

Early in December of 2016 the WSU Cougar football team was unsure if they would be playing in a bowl game. Their opponent the Minnesota Golden Gophers team captains announced that they would be boycotting the Holiday Bowl  on December 16th. This was due to 10 players being suspended by the Minnesota administration who the players believed were not treated fairly. If this boycott would have continued the implications that this would have had on sport managers for multiple institutions would have been huge.

With the boycott announced just 11 days before the Holiday Bowl there were many concerns of what would happen. There was talk of allowing Northern Illinois University to replace Minnesota and play against WSU. The problem with this would have been that many of their student athletes had gone back to their homes for winter break and would have to head back to campus immediately. Also with this boycott occurring with such short notice the team had stopped practicing for nearly a month and the players were probably not in the best shape. This could have increased the chance of injury and would have given WSU an unfair advantage.

To combat the problems previously stated the Holiday Bowl said it would push back the date of the game for a few days to let NIU travel and prepare. With one problem fixed another problem arises which has to deal with the fans who had planned on the game being on the 27th. Fans from all over the country were planning on coming to San Diego for that date and if the game moved back this would concern many people who had already bought airplane tickets and reserved hotels. If this happened it would be a PR nightmare for the Holiday Bowl and would result in very few people being able to attend the game.

Thankfully the football team at Minnesota ended it’s boycott a day before the Holiday Bowl had to make a decision on the game. This goes to show the importance for sport managers to create a strong contingency plan for any event in case of an emergency.