Because, unless you're in the championship game, bowls are pointless exhibition games. The top players don't want to risk getting injured in some meaningless game and screwing their professional prospects. It's not quite on the NBA All-Star game level, but it's not far off in terms of importance or meaning in the grand scheme of things. Perhaps you could argue some "resiliency of the program" or something, but at the end of the day, the bowls don't matter. It would be different if the athletes were paid; then, the players would be akin to pro golfers just wanting to make the cut or finish as high as they can (even though they won't win) to get a paycheck.
It will definitely suck for awhile.
The example of Roy Riegels really would be a good one for the young man to look at. He had his wrong-way run not in some high school game. It was the 1939 Rose Bowl, which his Cal team lost. Aside from that terrible mistake, Riegels was an outstanding player. It had to seem very harsh to be known as "Wrong Way" for the rest of his life. From what I've read, he was pretty sensitive about it for a long time. But, he eventually got used to it and eventually accepted it.
Years later, when the Vikings' Jim Marshall did the same thing in a game with the 49ers, Riegels sent him a note that said "Welcome to the club."
The nice thing for the kid is that it was a high school game, not the Rose Bowl. People have seen the video of course, but most people aren't going to use the kid's name on air. He'll graduate high school, go about his life's work and be fine.