Have you ever invited someone over to your house only to find out they took something from you while they were there? It's a pretty empty feeling and when it happened to me it  made me very angry.

That has to be how officials with the Belk Bowl played yesterday in Charlotte North Carolina must be feeling. It is alleged that a player for one of the participating teams attempted to steal merchandise from the major sponsor's store.

Just to be clear, it's not like the student athletes that play in these post-season contests are not rewarded for doing so. There are usually several hundred dollars in gifts that each player is allowed to bring home. Here's how it works.

The major sponsor or sponsors of the bowl game quite often will offer the student-athletes a stipend. That stipend or voucher can be used to "purchase" gift items ranging from electronics to clothing to video games. Quite often the value of these items is considerably lower than the actual retail price since bowl officials can buy in bulk and get a huge discount. There is also usually a commemorative gift such as a watch that all players are given as a memento of their appearance in the post season.

In the case of the Belk Bowl, Belk Department stores offered each student-athlete from the University of Arkansas and Virginia Tech University a $450 gift card to be used at their store. The reason for the odd number is that the NCAA places a monetary restriction on what players can receive publically. They can get as much cash or cars or new homes under the table as boosters can get away with.

Arkansas Razorback star tight end Jeremy Sprinkle must have been really enamored with the selection at the Belk store in Charlotte. It is alleged that Sprinkle attempted to take more than $450 worth of merchandise out of the store. Chances are this story was supposed to be swept under the rug since no police were called and no charges were officially filed.  But because the star tight end did not play in yesterday's game inquiring minds wanted to know. Now we do know.  

In the game yesterday the Razorbacks could have probably used Sprinkle's talents as they were defeated by the Virginia Tech Hokies by a score of 35 to 24. Arkansas led the game 24 to 0 at the end of the first half then Virginia Tech scored 35 unanswered points to close out the game with a win.


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