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Public Still Getting No Say in BCS Playoff Discussions

It is very troubling that the future of college football’s postseason, which in turn affects entire athletic departments, which in turn affect entire public universities, is being determined by 11 conference commissioners and the BCS’ executive director, none of whom are public employees. There have been no public representatives in the meetings that have taken place and none are scheduled to be included in the June 20 meetings in Chicago. (But rest assured that television executives have been included.)

Sure, public university presidents will ultimately have the final say on whatever proposal(s) the conference commissioners and BCS Executive Director Bill Hancock put in front of them, but why didn’t this process start with them? And think they have the political will or resources to truly reshape the system? Not a chance. College football is still very much in the hands of a cartel of conference commissioners and cronyism is still rampant. Most troubling is the likely possibility that the two semifinal games (and possibly the final game) will be played in the existing bowl structure. Dan Wetzel, author of Death to the BCS, explains why this is so problematic:

Bowls have been horrible partners – unless you were an athletic director who received free Caribbean cruises or complimentary scotch and cigars on the 19th hole of the Arizona Biltmore. Of course, those were paid with what was college football’s money in the first place.

There isn’t a single bit of financial sense in outsourcing your most valuable product. None. Federal tax filings show that when BCS bowls have hosted the title game, they pocket between $10 million and $12 million in profits – even after all the high salaries and strip club tabs.

Now the commissioners want to give the bowls the semifinals, two games which each should be worth more than the current title game? When you extend it over an eight- or 10-year period, then college administrators will be handing over an estimated $300 million (and likely more) in profits to their already well-greased friends in what essentially is a no-bid contract.
That’s $300 million-plus that should stay with the schools.

Think our public schools and universities couldn’t use $300 million-plus? If college football’s playoff are simply handed over to the bowl games (and university presidents are complicit), the heart and soul of the BCS will still very much exist, even if the name does not. It may be time for Congress to intervene — before it’s too late.

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