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5 Odd College Bowl Game Sponsors

Holiday Bowl
Dec. 30
Sponsor: National University
Location: San Diego
Matchup: Texas Tech vs. Arizona State
Payout: $2.1 million

It seems just a bit odd that a bowl ostensibly featuring competing universities would be sponsored by another university, but at least the Holiday Bowl's organizers are learning how to make that work.

Last year, this bowl was sponsored by publicly traded Bridgepoint Education (BPI) and its for-profit Ashford University and University of the Rockies. That institution was audited by the Department of Education in 2008 and drew heavy scrutiny for how it was paying recruiters and the amount of federal funding it was taking. U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, used the term "absolute scam" to describe Bridgepoint's operation. For its part, Bridgepoint notes that Ashford University was accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges earlier this year.

The Holiday Bowl opted to bypass that debate this year by signing the private, nonprofit National University as a sponsor. The La Jolla, Calif.-based school has been in operation since 1971, has campuses throughout California and at least six other states and helps adults and members of the military pursue or finish up their undergraduate degrees and take postgraduate courses. With multiple accreditations and a whole lot of accolades from state education departments and branches of the military, National University has made itself a viable alternative for those who couldn't or wouldn't attend the universities on the field.

Their sponsorship places the focus squarely on the "scholar" portion of the scholar-athlete equation. For the Holiday Bowl, that's about as positive as a sponsorship gets.

-- Written by Jason Notte in Portland, Ore.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Jason Notte.

>To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/notteham.

>To submit a news tip, send an email to: tips@thestreet.com.

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Jason Notte is a reporter for TheStreet. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Esquire.com, Time Out New York, the Boston Herald, the Boston Phoenix, the Metro newspaper and the Colorado Springs Independent. He previously served as the political and global affairs editor for Metro U.S., layout editor for Boston Now, assistant news editor for the Herald News of West Paterson, N.J., editor of Go Out! Magazine in Hoboken, N.J., and copy editor and lifestyle editor at the Jersey Journal in Jersey City, N.J.
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