BCS to Congress: Back Off

Bill Hancock, executive director of the BCS, has a message for Congress: Back off! Representatives from Congress sent a letter to the BCS, inquiring as to how the system works, how revenue is distributed, etc. The BCS responded this week to Congress and told them university presidents, conference commissioners, coaches and athletic directors will work together with the NCAA to do what’s best for college football, so Congress should stay out of it. The response was 6 pages of explanation along with 6 more pages of graphs and figures. Well Bill Hancock and the rest of the BCS thugs, College Football Cafeteria (along with about 90% of all college football fans) has a message for you:

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I for one am pretty sick of their garbage. Always the BCS must cite their figures and say “Look, all the conferences agreed to this and they make way more money now than they ever did!” True, and I would like to address that right now, specifically to you, Mr. Hancock.

In 1990, college football revenue was at a modest $200 million. In 2007, that number reached $900 million. It’s hard to say the BCS has not made college football a more lucrative sport. It has in fact, and I won’t argue that. But BCS defenders say “Hey, more people come to games and watch them on TV than ever before. This is proof the system is working and no one wants change.” That’s just pure rubbish, plain and simple.

Why did no one really care about college football and its postseason before the BCS? Could it have been that no real championship game happened? Could it be that ridiculous bowl tie-ins required conference champions to play each other that we did not want to see? Certainly. There was no meaning to the postseason, no consequence or importance. The BCS changed that, and should be commended for that innovation which it brought to college football.

Suddenly teams are playing for something. Suddenly bowl games mean something. Suddenly you aren’t just trying to win your conference, you’re trying to get into the national championship game. Suddenly there are good bowl matchups happening (most of the time.) This had never existed before. This thrill brought more people out to games, got more people turning on their TV’s on Saturday and got everybody a lot more interested in the sport.

Unfortunately, that’s the end of the good part. The bad part is the BCS is essentially a cartel. There are 11 conference in Div. I-A, or the FBS. The commissioners of the 6 of those conferences have been rotating each year who was in charge of “running things” for everyone else. Five of those conferences were left out. In fact, they were never even guaranteed a seat at the table. They were forced, no, coerced, into agreeing to the BCS. What else could they do? The big schools determine where the big money goes. If you want to grow your program, you need big money. Beating big programs can get big money. Telling the big programs to piss off and never play them would have been a stupid move.

So here we are. Now there is a lot more parity in college football. Top teams in non-BCS conferences are crushing bottom and even mediocre teams in BCS conferences. Sometimes top teams from non-BCS conferences even beat up on the best teams from the BCS conferences. Clearly the system favors the established programs and conferences.

Think about this: Two years ago, Washington didn’t win a single game. They got a bigger payout from the BCS than Ball State, a team whose only loss came in their conference championship during the regular season. Fair? Not at all. It keeps the big schools big and the small schools small.

But the small schools are making more money now, remember? Well, if total revenues have QUADRUPLED, then it’s hard to not make more money, isn’t it? Say all you want about what the smaller conferences get now that they didn’t get before, truth is they are getting a far smaller piece of the pie than before, even if the pie itself is much bigger.

So Bill Hancock, my response, and the response you will get from Congress, is to shove it. You don’t know what you are talking about. You claim divine benevolence, but we all know you and the BCS are hell-bent on maintaining the status quo, making sure the “little guys” never become too powerful in the game, thus ensuring you control the money and the power in all of college football. College football has become a big money industry. Controlling all that money among one person, group or organization is called a monopoly. Guess what Congress does to those?

I’ll tell you one thing Bill, you, commissioners, coaches, presidents and directors better figure out what is really best for college football before Congress does. Otherwise they will be telling you how to run a playoff. I doubt they will come up with an idea as good as mine, so feel free to use my college football playoff proposal and get this ball rolling.

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