Bowl System, BcS Being Investigated by Powerful Political Types



The BCS (or should I say the BcS, or BC$) has been the target of criticism from fans, the media, all the way up to President Barack Obama. There is an overwhelming mandate for a college football playoff, yet the college football bowl system remains in place.

Now a group with political juice is trying to bring a call to action. An inside-the-beltway political action committee is on the move.


According to the New York Times:

The lawyers behind the committee, Playoff PAC, seek a playoff system in college football more akin to the N.C.A.A. basketball tournament.

They are not just producing attack ads; they are also going after the bowls’ finances. In complaints to the Internal Revenue Service, they have raised questions involving three of the four bowls that make up the five-game Bowl Championship Series about interest-free loans, high salaries, lobbying payments and lavish perks for some bowl executives. They have also made accusations about illegal campaign contributions.

Most recently, Playoff PAC described to the I.R.S. an all-expenses-paid Caribbean cruise that the Orange Bowl hosted for 40 athletic directors and conference commissioners, and their spouses, although it appears no business meetings were scheduled during the trip.

“They are using these tax-exempt entities as their own private fiefdoms,” said Matthew Sanderson, a founder of Playoff PAC.

This is a must-read piece! Check out the whole article by going here

On the flip side: BCS Executive Director Bill Hancock gave a rather nausea inducing speech to the Football Writers Association of America yesterday. You can read the whole thing here, but I found these two soundbites of reverse logic and twisting reality on it’s head to be…well, my heart goes out to you TCU and Boise St. fans, this is utterly deplorable:

And did you see those TCU players dancing and hugging and dashing around the field?  Winning their bowl game was way more than simply a great way to end a season—it moment that will be etched into their hearts forever.

I am disappointed, but not surprised, by the childish invective from a few undertakers who throw stones but are accountable in no way for the future of the game and for the athletes’ experience.  But you know that words like cartel, commies, corruption and criminal when used to describe the BCS event are just plain silly.  At its heart, the BCS is a group of schools collaboratively doing what is in the best interest of their students.  And for the game.

And, for goodness sake, what kind of corrupt cartel would create an arrangement where TCU can win the Rose Bowl?  The Horned Frogs played in the Granddaddy of Them All solely BECAUSE of the BCS.

And Boise State was THIS close to playing in tonight’s game.  The BCS is fair, and this year—more than ever—proves it.


In Hancock’s defense, people are still watching these bowl games on television and traveling to them. Despite the bloated over-expansion of the system, these games are certainly not “meaningless exhibitions” as some call them, because we keep tuning in. And attendance is holding steady while ticket sales for the NBA, NFL, MLB, and NHL are all steadily decreasing.

ESPN’s Sugar Bowl telecast was the network’s second-highest rated college football game ever, trailing only the Jan. 1 Rose Bowl. The game earned an 8.4 rating, and pulled in 248,000 unique viewers on which is the highest viewership in the history of the platform.

Jan. 1 posted the highest-rated and most-viewed day in the 31-plus year history of ESPN and the week (Dec. 27 – Jan. 2) was its highest-rated and most-watched, according to Nielsen. Fox’s telecast of the Cotton Bowl Classic earned a 5.8 rating, making it the network’s highest-rated Friday night program in more than a year. The game’s rating was up nearly 30% from last season.

Also bowl game attendance overall “increased” 0.8% this season. This works out to a whopping 363 fans per game. Still, it’s not decreasing. So they have that going for them; which is nice.

Things have come a long way since the 1980s, when it seemed like a Fiesta Bowl between a #2 and a #11 team had as much impact on the national title as any game. And we had to wait a few days until after everything was done to get a “UPI Champion” and a “AP Champion” crowned. So yes, we’re out of the caves now; but we’re still nowhere near the age of enlightenment towards getting this mess resolved.

Progress has been made; but there’s still a lot of progress yet to be had.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports , a Midwest webzine. He’s also a regular contributor to the Tribune’s Chicago Now network, Walter, Yardbarker Network, and Fox

You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank


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