Congress Debates College Football Postseason Arrangement

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You got to hand it to Congress – with the Taliban threatening to over run Pakistan, North Korea planning to launch a nuclear test and with Chrysler working its way through bankruptcy, you would think that our elected representatives would have something more important to take up than the College Bowl Championship Series (BCS) arrangement. Unfortunately, that is exactly what our wrong priority Congress men and women are now discussing, underscoring the insanity currently gripping Washington, DC.

college footballLest you think I’m picking on Democrats with this issue, it is a Republican congressman – Joe Barton of Texas – who has likened the current bowl arrangement as something truly unAmerican. At a congressional hearing last week, Barton said the current system, the Bowl Championship Series, is “like communism — you can’t fix it.”

College Football Playoff Act of 2009

Back in January, Rep. Barton introduced the College Football Playoff Act of 2009 (HR 390 IH), a bill designed “To prohibit, as an unfair and deceptive act or practice, the promotion, marketing, and advertising of any post-season NCAA Division I football game as a national championship game unless such game is the culmination of a fair and equitable playoff system.”

Specifically, the measure would make it “…unlawful for any person to promote, market, or advertise a post-season National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) football game as a championship or national championship game, unless the game is the final game of a single elimination post-season playoff system for which all NCAA Division I FBS conferences and unaffiliated Division I FBS teams are eligible.”

Barton cited the inequality of the current bowl arrangement which pays member schools as much as $17.5 million for appearing in one of the top echelon bowls. All bowls have a pay out system in place ranging from the multiple millions down to $300,000 depending on the bowl.

Would Restrict Merchandising Too

The bill would also restrict merchandising in that, “It shall be unlawful for any person to sell, market, or advertise any merchandise related to a post-season NCAA Division I FBS football game that refers to the game as a championship or national championship game, unless the game is the final game of a single elimination post-season playoff system for which all NCAA Division I FBS conferences and unaffiliated Division I FBS teams are eligible.

Again, the Congressman is attempting to short circuit the current bowl season arrangement by going after the second revenue generating issue – merchandising.

Under the current post season system, teams are chosen based on polls and computer rankings. However Barton says that a playoff system would do a better job of rewarding athleticism.

Rep. Barton noted that Congress should be involved with the NCAA BCS decision making process because the bowl series deals with interstate commerce and generates more than one billion dollars annually in revenue. Barton is a ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over interstate commerce.

Misplaced Priorities

The Barton bill hasn’t been taken up yet by Congress, but the issue of post season football is currently being debated by his peers. With General Motors close to failing and with health care and the nation’s economy in shambles I, for one, cannot help but see this entire issue being one of misplaced priorities.

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