HOOVER – Participating schools don’t lose money on bowl games, Football Bowl Association Executive Director Wright Waters said Thursday at SEC Media Days.

Bowl games distributed $616.8 million to schools and conferences and schools last season, and while some school claim to lose money when taking bowl bids, Waters said that comes down to accounting. The payouts are distributed through conferences, except in cases involving a few independents like BYU, and schools collect their money through conference distributions rather than directly from the bowls.

“I think one of the great misconceptions we have is that schools lose money on bowls,” he said. “That is not so.

“If someone loses money on a bowl trip, it’s not the bowl’s fault.”

Alabama’s three bowl games – played in Birmingham, Mobile and Montgomery – are doing well, Waters said. All are lower-tier bowls.

“You can’t compare everything to the Rose Bowl and the Cotton Bowl and the Sugar Bowl,” Waters said. “That’s not their purpose. Each bowl has a different experience.”

There will be 40 bowl games this season. There weren’t enough teams with 6-6 or better records to fill all the bowl slots last season, so two 5-7 teams (including Mississippi State) got bids based on their academic progress report numbers. The Football Bowl Association is against taking teams with losing records, but also cannot afford for a bowl game not to take place due to lack of qualified teams.

“The issue is that 6-6 has become a birthright of teams,” Waters said. “If you’re 6-6, there’s an expectation that you will get to go to a bowl game.”