Keep the Politicians Out of the BCS

Gary BrownCorrespondent IIMay 25, 2010

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 04:  A detailed picture of a football during the Fiesta Bowl between the Boise State Broncos and the TCU Horned Frogs at the Universtity of Phoenix Stadium on January 4, 2010 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

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In his reply to a Congressional inquiry regarding the BCS, the group’s executive director, Bill Hancock, hit the nail on the head when he wrote, “decisions about college football should be made by university presidents, athletics directors, coaches and conference commissioners rather than by members of Congress.”

The idea that congressional members want the Justice Department to investigate the legality of the BCS, or the notion that hearings should be conducted on the subject illustrates just how power-drunk many elected officials are.

It also speaks to how determined they are to stick their nose into any element of life, especially if they think it will win them favor with their constituents.

Leading the charge in the House are Reps. Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii), Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.) and Mike Simpson (R-Idaho). In the Senate, the main voice indicting the BCS is Orrin Hatch (R-Ut).

Did you notice a common thread to these leading congressional BCS gripers? They all have schools in their states that have felt slighted by the architects of the BCS system.

Of particular absurdity was a comment by Abercrombie when he said, "Who elected these NCAA people? Who are they to decide who competes for the championship?"

He apparently does not understand that the NCAA leadership is HIRED by the members of the NCAA and not subject to an election process. He also apparently believes, in arrogance, that he is better suited for making these decisions than the NCAA membership.

Apparently, he does not realize that membership in the NCAA is a voluntary decision made by the members and not something that was forced upon the schools that join.

Apparently, he does not get that the members have the power to make any changes they wish regarding their organization and the group has decided the BCS system is what they want to do right now.

Apparently, he does not get that this is the right of any independent organization.

What is ironic is the sanctimonious way these Congress members call for fair play and a level playing field for all competitors, while they go out of their way to make sure any race they're in is fixed.


Below are a few examples of the way the field is slanted toward a current member of Congress.

One tool is a process called gerrymandering. The purpose of this action is to create a district where it is virtually impossible for a competitor to arise that can defeat them in an election. 

Another weapon they have at their disposal is the use of franking privileges. The original intention of this free postage provision was to provide a way for members of Congress to communicate with their constituents.

Today, it seems their desire to communicate with the folks back home greatly increases around election time, and this freebie is a means to make sure their name is in front of voters at no cost to them.

While mail sent using the franking privilege cannot be political in nature, it is hard to find an explanation why there is such a large increase just as voters as going to the polls.

Oh, and their competition has to pay to send you any such mail.

Another big advantage to being in office is the war chest that is usually available to an incumbent being taken on by a challenger. In 2006, the typical incumbent spent just under three million dollars to defeat a challenger to their seat. How much did the opposition have available to spend in most contests? Less than two million dollars.

Incumbents find it easier to raise cash than challengers. Wonder if it has anything to do with their ability to kill legislation in committees or to vote the “proper” way at times?

Here is my advice to these pandering politicians: Before you start screaming about the unfair competitive situation the BCS creates, go fix your own system that is designed to do nothing but prevent challengers from kicking you out of office.

If politicians really wanted fairness, they would make sure their challengers had as many campaign dollars to spend during an election as they do.

They would point out their failures with headlines just as bold as their proclamations of success.

Oh, and they would also never use the census as an opportunity to create a district where they can’t lose.

As sports fans, but more importantly as citizens, it is time we started making demands of our representation in Washington and state legislatures across the country. It is time we tell them to stop wasting time with college football and other areas where they have no business sticking their nose.

They need to get the message that we expect them to be busy with the work we sent them to do, items that can actually change our national fabric.

You know, out of control spending, social security reform, national defense and an absurdly broken tax code.

They need to understand that we want to watch our games in peace without their grandstanding and hearings.

Let's see them stop their hypocrisy and even the playing field for their competitors in the next round of elections before they tackle the competitive balance of college football.

They need to understand we know they were elected to office and we are the ones who can vote them out.