By Greg DeVries
Scottsdale, Ariz. — At first glance, you might not think that a recliner has anything to do with the Fiesta Bowl, but many Baylor and University of Central Florida players would disagree. When a football team competes in a bowl game, the bowl provides each player with a gift package. This year, many of the players chose a recliner as their Fiesta Bowl gift.
This isn’t just any run-of-the-mill recliner, however. Many players see this as more valuable than the other options in the catalogue, which includes a guitar, a Diesel watch, a surround sound system and more. Each participant was also given a backpack and . Junior running back Lache Seastrunk claimed the recliner and spoke very highly of it as he listed all of its features.
“It’s electrical. I can push a button and it reclines out,” Seastrunk said. “It’s got two outlets to plug my phone up with… and it has two cup holders.”
Seastrunk said he was tempted to claim the guitar, but he saw more value in the recliner.
“I wanted the guitar, but a guitar isn’t that expensive,” Seastrunk said. “I looked around and thought that the recliner was the more expensive thing… I’m trying to learn to play the guitar and piano. I’m not going to lie, I watched on YouTube a guy that was playing the piano and the girls just love it. So I thought, ‘OK. I’m going to learn to play some way, somehow.’”
Junior quarterback Bryce Petty and his four roommates are each getting recliners as well.
“We’ve actually been fortunate enough to have a 70-inch TV,” Petty said about his house’s setup. “It’s almost like a theater room if you will. All we need is the recliners… I’ve always wanted a recliner. Who doesn’t want a recliner, especially as a guy? I was more than happy to go ahead and check that off.”
Petty’s roommates include junior wide receiver Clay Fuller, junior nickel back Collin Brence, senior safety Collin Simpson and sophomore inside receiver Cal Spangler. Fuller said that he was not sure how the configuration of furniture will work, but he thought the recliner was nice enough to go after in the gift catalogue. Petty joked that if everybody brought their recliners to film study, then all of the players would fall asleep.
UCF junior defensive back Brandon Alexander said that he has not made his decision yet, but the recliner is on the short list of things he wants.
“It looks very nice,” Alexander said. “I don’t have a recliner, so I’m thinking about getting in there and putting it in my room, but I think I might just get the DVD player with the surround sound, but every gift on there was good.”
Alexander said that one option — a remote control plane — was oddly intriguing for some reason, but he was thankful that he has the opportunity to pass some of the gifts along to his family.
“Just to see my family smile, especially my mother and my sisters that don’t get a lot of things for Christmas because of the fact that my parents are always working… For me, to give them something they don’t have puts a smile on my face.”
Petty has also passed bowl gifts along to family members in the past. He said he bought his dad a new TV with a gift card that he received from the Holiday Bowl last season. Other Holiday Bowl gifts included a watch and sunglasses.
“[My dad] wanted a TV and I said, ‘Well, here you go,’” Petty said. “It’s always fun to share the wealth.”
The NCAA allows bowls to give gifts to each player as long as the value does not exceed $550 per player. Universities are allowed to give each player gifts totaling up to $400, and the conference usually throws in additional gifts totaling $400 to bring the total value of gifts to a maximum of $1350 per player. It is a violation of NCAA rules for a player to sell any gift from the university, conference or bowl game.