Is it time for Congress to save college football?
Congress has spent the country blind, inflated a disastrous housing bubble, subsidized every special interest with a letterhead and lobbyist, and created a wasteful, incompetent bureaucracy that fills Washington. But now, argues Playoff PAC, legislators should take a break all their good work and save college football.
If there’s one process which Americans — at least sports fanatics — love to hate it is the Bowl Championship Series. The curiously convoluted BCS process mixes polls and computer analysis to rank teams and offer bowl bids. The goal is to match the number one and two ranked teams and produce a “national champion.” Four out of five Americans surveyed want another system.
Alabama and Texas, slated to meet for the title on January 7, might really be the best teams this year, though I don’t claim to know, since I don’t follow college football. All that matters to me is that Florida lost to someone (I’m a graduate of forlorn FSU) and is out of the championship running. Not that I would watch the big game if FSU were playing in it.
However, undefeated Texas Christian University and University of Cincinnati complain they were unfairly frozen out of the championship race. In fact, most every year there is controversy over the worthiness of a contender or, more often, the worthiness of uninvited potential contenders.
Matthew Sanderson, co-founder of Playoff PAC (and graduate of the University of Utah, a perennial “victim” of the BCS) says: “We need real reform in college football. Let’s stop running this game needlessly on two cylinders and start a playoff.”
Or more accurately, he wants Congress to force a playoff.
Makes you wonder what policy model legislators would use to redesign college sports. Maybe the financially responsible Social Security system. Or the ever efficient Postal Service. Perhaps the “let’s buy everyone a home” Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. And don’t forget the consumer-friendly IRS.
Rep. Joe Barton (R-Tex.) has introduced legislation to “fix” the BCS. His district contains Fort Worth, where TCU is located. Barton calls the current system “communism” and denounces “this year’s BCS failure.” The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection approved Barton’s legislation last week.
His bill would define as an “unfair or deceptive” trade practice marketing any contest as a “national championship game” unless it was “the final game of a single elimination post-series playoff system.” The legislation also would ban the sale of “any merchandise related to such game.”
Of course, if Congress is going to start policing sports claims, it is going to be very busy. Consider a so-called “World Series” based in one country, with one team from one neighboring nation (Toronto Blue Jays) tossed in as a seeming afterthought. Sounds like an “unfair or deceptive” practice to me!
I suppose a game can be a “Super Bowl” when it involves teams from just one country, but the original Super Bowl technically was the “AFL-NFL World Championship Game” and the then two separate leagues talked about the contest determining “the world champion of football.” World champion? Decided in an America-only contest? I’d hate to have to defend that as a true, honest, and fair description of the game.
Rep. Gary G. Miller (R-Ca.) has introduced the “Championship Fairness Act,” which would bar any university from receiving any federal funds if it maintained a Division I football team but did not participate in a playoff system for the football championship. The best argument for Miller’s proposal is that it would cut off funds that probably shouldn’t be going to universities anyway.
Some legislators appear to view debating BCS as relief from performing more onerous duties. Rep. Gene Green (D-Tex.) proclaimed: “Our Energy and Commerce Committee has been spending weeks, and actually months now, working on carbon sequestration and health care, and this is much more fun to talk about.”
Wonderful. Members of the committee have selflessly busied themselves developing proposals to wreck the U.S. economy and nationalize the health care system. So they believe now are entitled to relax by voting to “fix” college football.
It’s not only the House that wants to spend our money talking about “fun” things. So does the world’s greatest deliberative society located on the other side of Capitol Hill.
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