Glamour, fame and fortune—years ago it could have been the perfect dictionary definition for college football's critically acclaimed Bowl Championship Series. Since its formation in 1991, the BCS system has been one of the largest standing collegiate athletic organizations in the country; developing and molding America's university game. But the luster of what was one of the sport's finest achievements is slowly wearing off as public speculation questions the integrity of whether or not it is still a sound program.
Coming on its 20th year, many analysts as well as the general public view the BCS system as "broken" and see no signs of recovery on the same path that college football is currently taking. As mass media and technology become more advanced, evolving the efficiency of how the game is played, the mighty program seems to be losing ground even though it has adapted to the changing age. Not to mention the economic recession has dealt a heavy blow to university funding, let alone the investments that are advance once a team makes it to one of the bowl events.
As the system becomes thrown into the spotlight as of late due to fans over the past two years calling for a playoff system, the analysis begins of what are the pros and cons of this college-based organization in cahoots with the NCAA. It is inconceivable that any structured athletic program, however solid it may be in the books and in performance measures, can be perfect; but the BCS lacks the stamina it once had to reward big-brand teams with the cash money they deserved from televised pedestal appearances.
The Bowl Championship Series as a whole is a multi-million dollar industry which is a separate entity from the NCAA, something that many people are confused with. When fans recently called for the NCAA to institute a playoff system which eventually went before the United State Supreme Court, the NCAA could only shrug and explain that they have no control over such a drastic measure to college football.
But the point lies within the BCS—if they are a big wheel in the business then how is it possible that famous football programs are losing money by participating in lower- and middle-tier bowls? It is an allegation that has been steered clear of by many in the press and others refuse to accept the fact. The price rate for a full team of more than 80 football players and coaching staff, plus airfare and other extremities totals a cost that is far too great than the revenue brought in by actually participating in the bowl.
One thing that can be the problem is that times are undoubtedly tough on individuals since the price of tickets to sporting events have increased and specialized employees have been laid off. There is no question that this could be a possibility for problems that are becoming increasingly prevalent.
Bowl Games Are A Bust
Many skeptics believe that the BCS system holds no financial gains for anyone other than the CEOs and hierarchy that operate the series. This is an untrue statement. Each game is sponsored by more than a few large recognizable companies in the corporate world, some of which are Chik-fil-A, Meineke, Tostidos, and many other reputable names. Together these franchises create a large revenue stream for the cities which hold the games with different events planned before and after kickoff.
Without these sponsors much less the bowls in general, many cities and towns would be lacking a large portion of taxable purchases which these provide. For some, this is the biggest festival of the entire year.
What The Future Holds
The BCS obviously has had brighter days in its life time and with the tighter squeeze from many of collegiate football's most influential figures (even from the federal system), it is hard to tell what the future will be for America's college sports phenomenon. But if the Supreme Court calls for hearings from Bowl Championship Series executives, it is very possible that this organization we have all been able to tolerate for more than 20 years will soon be only remembered in college sports history classes.
Many people have benefited from the BCS's idea of better opportunity for teams (which Boise State and TCU can account for). It is more than likely though that college football will have a playoff system, although for some it is the last thing they want for the sport, but it is an idea that the NCAA has not taken off the table in more than two years. For them it might always be their "invisible hand" for a better solution to the difficulties with the league. One thing is for certaintime will tell.—