BCS Shows Us The Money: Are The Mid-Majors Getting Ripped Off?

Del KerbyContributor IJanuary 26, 2011

GLENDALE, AZ - JANUARY 10:  Auburn Tigers cheerleaders perform during the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game against the Oregon Ducks at University of Phoenix Stadium on January 10, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

On January 25, 2011, the BCS released its revenue numbers and they defended how great the BCS was for the non-automatic qualifying conferences and I quote:

"For the second straight year, the non-AQ conferences will see a record amount of revenues because of their participation in the BCS, which shows the strength and fairness of the current system. The fact is that all of Division I football is better off because of the BCS, financially and otherwise," said Bill Hancock, executive director of the BCS.

In Mr. Hancock's mind, he thinks it is fair, and he's specifically justifying why the non-AQ schools should stick with the BCS.  I'm sure the non-automatic qualifiers might want to take another look at being part of the BCS.

The revenue disparity is beyond belief when you look at just the dollars.  The automatic qualifying conferences received a record total payout of $145.2 million dollars.  The non-automatic qualifying conferences received a record total payout of $24.72 million dollars, and that was only because TCU made it to the Rose Bowl.

If TCU hadn't made it to the Rose Bowl, the non-AQ conferences would have received millions less.  Fortunately for these conferences, a non-AQ has made it to a BCS bowl game in 5 of the last 6 years; thus they have received at least more than just table crumbs.

I'm sure every BCS AQ conference is laughing all the way to the bank.  They pay out a pittance to the non-AQs, and reap the rewards of a system skewed to keep their choke hold on college football.

When are the mid-major conferences going to learn that they deserve a better seat at the table?  The rift between the AQ and non-AQ conferences is growing, both financially and philosophically.

When President Gee of Ohio State says that the mid-major conferences have no right to play for a national championship, is that good for college football?  Saying that the conferences do not play at a level of competition deserving of that opportunity.

Fans of the BCS AQ conferences constantly berate the mid-major power teams like TCU and Boise State, because of their out of conference strength of schedule.

Boise State President Bob Kustra and AD Gene Bleymaier are trying to improve their schedule.  President Kustra has stated that he has the documentation to prove the efforts made to schedule more BCS AQ teams and how Boise State's overtures have been rebuffed.

They have met with little success, especially from the Big-10 and SEC.  Those conferences would rather play the bottom feeders and FCS teams in their region to protect their pre-season ratings in the polls.  Of course, there is always one game against a quality out of conference team so they can say, "Hey we played a quality out of conference schedule".

Unfortunately, these efforts are not paying off for Boise State and did not pay off for TCU.  So, TCU decided rather than continue to try and change the system, they'd join it.  This has immediately improved TCU's financial status. 

The Big East will receive $21.2 million dollars alone this year.  That is almost equals the entire payout for all of the non-AQ conferences. TCU is joining a conference that is weaker than the Mountain West and probably on par with the Western Athletic Conference.  Can anyone answer why they are an automatic qualifying conference?

What can the non-AQ conferences do?  That's the $147 million dollar question.  Oops, I meant to say the $24.72 million dollar question.

Do they walk away from the BCS and create their own financial system (that's what the BCS is) using the non-BCS bowls?  Would the four major broadcast networks be interested in working out a deal with a mid-major bowl system and their advertisers, thus increasing revenue? 

The mid-major conferences would need to examine this idea as a business model.  Could enough buzz be generated to make the decision sound from a revenue standpoint?  Would there be enough corporate sponsors willing to invest in supporting a new bowl system?  A system built on the premise of national championship playoff and not a popularity contest. A system where every college football fan could watch the games, like during the regular season, versus the majority being unable to watch thirty-one of the thirty-five bowl games and none of the BCS bowls because they are on ESPN.

The fan base of the mid-major conferences would probably embrace this idea as I believe a majority of college football fans in general would (for those mathematically challenged that means fifty percent plus one).

I mean really, after all the vitriol regarding the non-AQ conferences, why wouldn't they?  Many fans are turned off by the BCS and the joke it has become.

Turned off to the fact that a non-AQ will never play for the BCS Championship even though they probably earned it (can you say TCU), by the " fairness of the current system " in regards to revenue distribution and the unfairness of non-AQ representation as a whole. 

People will say that it will never work.  They will say the idea is insane and that I'm on crack.  Well, maybe I am cracked.  But, it was said the American Football League would never fly, and that people would never be interested in women's professional sports.  Well, we all know where those arguments went.