(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.


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Saturday, December 03, 2005

Don't They Know There's a War Going On?

Congress is proposing to look into the Bowl Championship Series.

Just what we need, a congressman from a football-happy state looking into the BCS.

What's the point?

This isn't a matter for a legislative body to regulate the same way it was somewhat of a freak show when the senior Senator from Pennsylvania, Arlen Spector, publicly opined last week on the legalisms surrounding the Philadelphia Eagles' handling of the Terrell Owens matter.

That the BCS is silly and can't get out of its own way and even greedy is open for debate. That Division I-A would be much better off with a nationally captivating playoff system also is open for debate. Whether or not the guys who play Division I-A college football at the BCS schools are really student-athletes and not athlete-students given some of the hijinks that go on regarding getting them into school and keeping them eligible is open for yet another debate. To me, only the latter might be worthy of a congressional investigation, because that implicates how minors are dealt with and whether they're dealt with fairly (in terms of being permitted to take meaningful courses, having the ability to get their degrees and so forth), and then you'd have the argument of whether the Federal government has the right to do so or whether that power is reserved for the states. Who, of course, probably won't do anything about it lest they give a rival state that sits idly by and does nothing a competitive advantage to get the better players by having less accountability to them. Plus, which elected official at the Federal level from a football-happy state really wants to pass laws that could harm Good Old State's chances of getting into a BCS bowl game?

Congressman Barton, if you really want to do some good to this whole situation, put private pressure on the BCS schools to go along with the NCAA and figure out some kind of meaningful 8- or 16-team playoff that will surely captivate the nation. If the big-time schools are concerned that they'll lose bowl money, then have a 32-team playoff that would envelop 16 Bowls. Get them to play an eleven- (and not twelve-) game schedule, and then have your playoff system. Let, say, 6 non-BCS schools into the tournament. Do whatever it takes, and make the product better.

Just don't legislate a thing.


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