Keep the BCS Out of Congress

BcsLogo There are many far more important issues for Congress to take up these days than the selection process by which college football decides who the number one football team is in America this season. With the release of the first BCS poll a few weeks ago Congress again talked about getting involved. We have two wars going on overseas, a nation still in financial crisis and a host of important things to discuss and some congressional leaders want to consider the college football bowl season. College football doesn't need any help from Congress believe me. In fact Congress would likely kill the golden goose if it got its way in this matter.

Did you know that there is a college football playoff PAC in Washington? I didn't until very recently. Now that I do I am truly amazed. Bryson Morgan, a member of the board of directors of the Playoff PAC, recently said, "All of us recognize that our nation has weightier issues to tackle. However, this issue merits attention because college football's reach extends beyond the playing field. Democratically elected leaders should devote attention to a national institution that is financially and culturally important to their constituents."

Morgan, and Washington attorney Matthew Sanderson, are two of the co-founders of this PAC. Where did they go to college? The University of Utah. Why is that important? Because these guys felt Utah got shafted last year by not getting to play for the BCS trophy. They think the Utes got jobbed so they are out to change the system for teams like Boise State this year. (Anyone who watches this sport at all knows full well that Boise State would not last for a minute, if the championship was truly on the line, with the elite teams.)

Face it, the college football system is ultimately about revenue. Millions and millions of dollars in revenue go to the various conferences and universities. But both houses of Congress held hearings on the bowl system earlier this year and thus consider this important enough to at least listen to a debate about it. The good news is nothing actually happened. Two congressmen, Neil Abercrombe (D-Hawaii) and Joe Barton (R-Texas), actually introduced a bill called The Championship Fairness Act of 2009 in January. The bill would punish universities by withholding federal funding so long as that university did not line up with their application of fairness. This goes to show that both parties like "fairness" when they can define it and use government to enforce it. These arguments do not hold legal water, as Drew Sharp noted in USA Today on October 21st. Breaking up trusts is one thing but college football is most definitely not a publicly traded trust.

Ultimately this debate is about the present bowl system. The host cities of the bowl games are not about to allow a playoff system when it would kill their games. In the present system every team plays one final game. If you have a playoff system fans can wait until the system works its way down to the final two and just stay home if their team is not in the mix. There is no way the fans of the major schools could travel for three weeks to different parts of the country to see their team work its way into the final game. The whole system would become far less important to the final rankings and how you actually finish the season, up or down.

The BCS is not perfect. Every year somebody will have an argument. This year it will likely be the same. But the system does better than what we had in the past by a long shot. And surely none of this demands the time of our congressional leaders. Tell them to stop wasting your time and money on this foolish argument. College football is fine without Congress messing with it.

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