The bowl ban imposed on Ohio State in 2012, as well as the other sanctions levied against the university by the NCAA, certainly hurt the program in a general sense. Financially, however, the impact of those sanctions was wider-reaching.
Many fans coordinate their bowl travel plans through local travel agencies who offer a variety of experiences and price levels. Ohio State has been a regular presence in BCS bowls, with the most appearances in the Bowl Championship Series of any team in the NCAA with ten since 1998. That regularity creates a situation where it would be easy for those who coordinate and sell bowl travel packages to come to rely upon that income. Rob Elking of Grandview Travel told WOSU last year that bowl game travel packages could constitute up to 35% of a travel agency's annual income. Local retailers also acutely felt the loss of bowl game business, particularly during the holiday season, per the Columbus Dispatch.
Ohio State felt the bowl ban in terms of shared revenue from the Big Ten last season. The Big Ten receives payouts for each team in the conference that is selected to a bowl game, and provides each team with a travel allotment from those funds. Each team also receives an allotment of tickets to sell to their constituents from the NCAA, and if tickets remain unsold, the Big Ten absorbs that cost into the bowl payouts. The conference and each team in the Big Ten receive equal shares of the remaining funds.
In 2011, a down year for the Buckeyes, the Big Ten's automatic Rose Bowl bid went to Wisconsin, and Michigan was also selected to play in the Sugar Bowl. Ohio State, of course, played Florida in the Gator Bowl. The Big Ten had 10 teams total representing the conference in bowls that season. The Big Ten was slated to receive $46.85 million pre-expenses for member schools' bowl appearances. The amount that Big Ten members realized was $2.6 million.
2012 was a different story. Despite an undefeated record, Ohio State was ineligible to represent the Big Ten in a bowl, which was particularly painful considering that they very well might have been selected to the National Championship. The Big Ten did not have any guidelines in place to prevent Ohio State from receiving their equal share of bowl revenue distribution last season, but the amount that was distributed to member schools in 2012 was around $2.3 million. It's not a huge difference on the surface, but had Ohio State gone to the National Championship, or even to the Rose Bowl, the university, and the Big Ten, would have realized a much larger amount.
Local travel agencies are surely busy coordinating trips to Orange Bowl. Local retailers will have Orange Bowl merchandise to sell, and the Big Ten should receive about $50.6 million, pre-expenses, to distribute among their members. The expiration of Ohio State's bowl ban is good news for everybody.