Utah Senator Orinn Hatch Writes an Op Ed For ESPN

Tom GlassmanContributor IJuly 14, 2009

WASHINGTON - APRIL 23:  A detail photograph of the ball given to U.S. President Barack Obama by the University of Florida mens football team at the White House April 23, 2009 in Washington, DC. Obama hosted the 2009 national champion Gators, who presented the president with a custom jersey and football.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

If you haven't yet read the article by Senator Orinn Hatch on ESPN.com, please take the time.  

I was very skeptical of Sen. Hatch when I began to read this article in regards to the Bowl Championship Series legality which he calls into question.  As anyone can see, the BCS is an unfortunate system hopelessly built on biased rankings under the guise of objective computing. But illegal? 

Why not? 

He speaks vehemently about the need for change based on competition before he hit on what I thought was his best point: The money. 

"Worse still is the fact that the BCS doesn't even provide equal rewards for the schools they do allow into their games." Sen. Hatch Laments. "Instead, revenues from the BCS are distributed according to pre-arranged agreements, making performance on the field almost irrelevant."

"By illustration, four conferences had exactly one team playing in a BCS in the 2008 post-season. Three of those conferences were guaranteed nearly $19 million to distribute among their schools. One of those conferences, the Mountain West, had to settle for slightly more than half that amount."

Wow.  No matter how big a school you are, missing out on $9.5+ million dollars is going to hurt significantly. 

Think if your school missed out on millions of dollars by missing a bowl game?  Not all of that money goes to athletics and the quality of school affects the quality of education.  The quality of education greatly affects the quality of the community!  State and national representatives would be crazy NOT to want a fair BCS system and fight for it every chance they got. 

It would be like donating several million dollars to the school. 

It would take true generosity for the six BCS conferences to give up their obvious oligopoly over this ever lucrative market. 

This discussion need not become about liberals vs. conservatives in this lovely false dichotomy we tell ourselves to argue relentlessly against the "other side." In truth there is no other side, we Americans only have each other.  Though undoubtedly (just look at the ever increasing size of Obama hits on the discussion board for the story) a discussion brought up by a politicians inevitably turns to politics. 

It is an unfortunate irony that politicians are voted in and hated at the same time.  Sen. Hatch has been criticized more than his fair share over this issue though in his mind he is shining a justifiably bright light on an issue which badly needs to be rethought. 

This is not about whether Utah could have beaten Florida, or even the Mountain West vs. the BCS. This is about EVERYONE deserving a chance to compete at the same level.  If you go undefeated, you should have a chance, either by playoff or by seeding into a major bowl game. 

I for one, applaud Sen. Hatch for his efforts.