BCS on ESPN Is a Conflict of Interest: How Will Execs Handle BCS Bashing?
Every day you turn on ESPN, it is almost inevitable that someone, some way, is going to voice their "expert" opinion on why there should or should not be a playoff in college football.
ESPN is reportedly coughing up $125 million a year for the rights to broadcast the Bowl Championship Series games from 2011 through 2014, except the Rose Bowl, which ABC (the parent company of ESPN) holds under an older separate contract, which includes the 2014 National Championship game.
I am undecided on the whole playoff argument. Right now I'm a defender of the BCS because my Gators are on their way to their second BCS National Championship in three years. But if Penn State hadn't lost, maybe I'd feel differently. I would go for a four-team playoff. I am definitely against an eight-team playoff, however.
So with all these different objections to the current BCS system, how will ESPN react now that they are the BCS broadcasters?
Now let's think about this. We all know that ESPN is THE main source of sports news, information, and programming for most people in the country. What ESPN thinks is important, IS what's important. Do I like it? No, but that's the world we live in.
So with hundreds of millions of dollars on the line, I can't imagine that ESPN executives would be to terribly thrilled to see all of these TV personalities on every show like Mike & Mike, Around the Horn, and PTI talking ad nauseam about why the BCS is garbage and should be dismantled in favor of a playoff system.
If you don't believe in the power of the ESPN Information (Propaganda?) machine...look at the story of John Amaechi.
Now here's a guy who was a decent basketball player who played in the league for a couple years and had one kinda good year with Orlando in '99-00, where he averaged 10.5 points in just over 20 minutes a game. You wouldn't know it by the attention the "NBA Star" got from ESPN.
On Outside the Lines, Amaechi came out that he was gay...duh duh duh...
OK, great...good for you. It's a good story, I guess. But it's not a big deal. He was gay and played in the NBA...and was NOT a star by any means. That is newsworthy for about three days because there is no controversy. Give me a player who is gay and currently playing—now that is something that is worthy of a lot of buzz.
However, with ESPN pumping this story for weeks and asking every single NBA player past and present what their opinion was, something was bound to happen.
After weeks of boring "Yeah, that's cool" or "I'd be OK with that" comments, along comes Tim Hardaway...saying ignorant things about how he "hates gays."
Bingo! ESPN had hit the jackpot. This is exactly what they wanted out of the story, and they got it...along with weeks of bashing Hardaway and forcing out of him a half apology, if you could even call it that.
But we all know you still do, Tim. Just don't say it.
The point is, ESPN executives manufacture stories. There is an agenda that is carried out.
So back to the topic of the BCS. The higher-ups at ESPN can and will have a say in what is being talked about on their network. That includes ESPN.com too. I would not at all be surprised if there is a big drop-off on BCS bashing.
If ESPN will fire Harold Reynolds for hugging people, then think what they'll do when Mike Golic defies the powers and goes on and on about the Division III football playoff system. He'll one day disappear to the land of the unknown...and hang out with Trev Alberts.
Maybe this is an overreaction, but with less people publicly pushing playoffs and submitting to the BCS and ESPN execs, the hope for any sort of reform becomes even more and more unlikely.
Then again...maybe it is some sort of sinister, yet genius plan to somehow sabotage the BCS through bad publicity and marketing tricks...like playing all the games on ESPN U or ESPN Deportes...
Everyone loves a good conspiracy.
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