Guest Author - Mona McKenzie
The Bowl Championship Series (BCS) just named Bill Hancock its first-ever Executive Director. Hancock has been around college sports for quite a while, initially as the NCAA Menís Basketball Final Four Director, and most recently as a BCS administrator. With a new title and responsibilities, Hancock will be faced with the question that all inquiring minds want to know the answer toÖwill college football ever have a playoff system? All indications are that a playoff system will not happen any time soon, short of a Congress-mandate.
In naming an Executive Director, it seems as though the BCS is gearing up for any challenges, legal or otherwise, to dismantle the system. Since its inception, BCS opponents have vigorously pointed out all the defects in the system, starting with the fact that a computer all but runs the show. Year after year, pundits debate why teams with great records, like Texas and Utah, are left out of the National Championship game (played by the BCS #1 and #2 ranked teams) while other teams and conferences seem to be on the fast-track into the game.
The BCS is run by athletic directors of 10 football conferences - Atlantic Coast (ACC), Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Conference USA, Mid-American (MAC), Pacific-10 (Pac-10), Southeastern (SEC), Sun Belt, Western Athletic (WAC) - and Notre Dame as an independent. These athletic directors run very powerful, successful and profitable sports programs and have an undeniably large stake in assuring the prolonged success of the BCS as is, without incorporating a playoff system. Of course, just saying a playoff system isnít needed wonít settle the issue.
The crux of the matter is money. The schools represented in the five BCS bowls Ė Fiesta, Orange, Rose, Sugar and National Championship Game Ė take home the vast majority of the spoils from all college football postseason match-ups. Schools not slotted for the BCS bowls must settle for one of the 29 other bowl games, though they would love to have their teams showcased on a national level, and bring home a fat participation paycheck.
There are some who feel that the current BCS system is not only unfair, but, it violates federal antitrust regulations. One such BCS opponent is Senator Orrin Hatch (R) of Utah. Senator Hatch has stated repeatedly that the BCS should be investigated by Congress and the Department of Justice for anti-trust violations. Could it be that Senator Hatch is upset that his stateís own Utah Utes were denied an opportunity to play in the BCS National Championship Game when they were 12-0, thus all the fervor about a playoff system? Probably so. Would Senator Hatch push for a playoff system if Utah wasnít directly affected? Donít know. Even President Obama has stated he is in favor of a playoff system. Itís likely that Senator Hatch and others have a point. It is hard to justify keeping a team with a perfect record out of the National Championship Game. However, our country has a lot more on its plate than the fate of the BCS.
That said, a meaningful effort should be made to ensure that deserving schools have an opportunity to play in the National Championship Game. Mr. Hancock, I hope you are ready to rumble!