KNOXVILLE -- Three days into summer workouts and classes, Tennessee's football players collected one more reward for the program's first bowl victory in seven years.
The Volunteers received their TaxSlayer Bowl championship rings Wednesday evening, some six months since a 45-28 rout of Iowa at Jacksonville's EverBank Field wrapped up a 7-6 season and Tennessee's first winning record since finishing with the same record in 2009.
The top of the rings actually say "Gator Bowl," a reference to the bowl's traditional name, but the TaxSlayer Bowl logo is featured on one side of the white gold rings. Many players proudly posted pictures of the rings on their social media accounts.
Tennessee held a bid process to determine the vendor of the rings, with Balfour winning the bid with a lowest price of $175 per ring, associate athletic director for media relations Jason Yellin wrote in an e-mail to the Times Free Press.
The Vols had 150 rings made, bringing the total cost of the rings to $26,250.
The cost wasn't included in the financial report of the bowl trip Tennessee released in April. According to those figures, the program racked up more than $1.25 million in expenses yet claimed a six-figure profit due to a $1.275 million distribution from the SEC. The bowl's payout of $2.75 million per team was lumped into the league's revenue pool.
The SEC announced last week it was distributing $31.2 million to each of its 14 members.
Tennessee's players also received commemorative watches, personalized orange headphones and electronic items -- worth up to $450, per NCAA rules for bowl gifts -- chosen individually from a Panasonic gift suite from the TaxSlayer Bowl.
The TaxSlayer Bowl appearance broke a three-year stretch with no bowl games, and the Vols notched their first bowl win since beating Wisconsin in the Outback Bowl to cap a 10-win 2007 season.
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