I suppose it’s understandable to see the Mountain West’s current effort to rejigger the BCS formula to include more participation from non-BCS conferences as cut from the same cloth as the insurrection that Tulane’s president led a few years ago to get those same conferences a seat at the table. That plucky-band-of-revolutionaries-aiming-to-change-the-system-for-the-betterment-of-all-men stuff usually plays well in America.
Certainly that’s how the Mountain West wants it portrayed.
“I think the way the system is set up right now, it’s rigged,” Colorado State University athletic director Paul Kowalczyk said. “It’s a situation where the rich get richer, and there are consequences for the programs that are not involved in the BCS revenue sharing. It doesn’t just affect football; it affects all of our sports and, in the end, all of our student-athletes. It sets up to some degree a caste system.”
Interestingly, not everybody is buying the narrative, though.
… Regardless, as people applaud the conference as forward-thinking and actively moving toward a new system, they are completely missing the point. The MWC simply wants into the party it said it never wanted to be a part of. You can’t blame them. Their success has made them look at it, well, the way the BCS conferences do. Whether they get in won’t change the message that they are sending, though.
To the other non-BCS schools the MWC is saying, “If we are invited, don’t expect us to keep hanging out with you.”
Dennis Dodd says much the same thing.
Even more interestingly, it sounds like conferences such as the Sun Belt would like to tell the Mountain West to piss off when it comes to this proposal.
Wright Waters doesn’t want the Mountain West to get the seventh automatic BCS bid.
The Sun Belt Commissioner said that if the BCS had seven automatic bids, it would shut the rest of the non-automatic qualifying schools out of potential BCS bowls.
“There are only 10 slots,” Waters said. “If you go from six to seven automatic qualifiers then you’re filling three at-large spots rather than four. And when you’ve only got four, every one of them is important. I am not in favor of a seventh automatic qualifying team.”
Waters knows what’s hanging over every non-BCS conference’s head with threats like the Mountain West’s: the risk that at the end of the day the big boys pick up their football and go home with it.
“I don’t know what [the Mountain West's] plan is and any time you take on a project of this magnitude, you better have a really good exit strategy because at the end of the day, the BCS is still a voluntary organization. Our leagues volunteer to be part of it. I think when you join a club, you also subscribe to the club’s rules.”
That’s something Congress ought to keep in mind, too.
UPDATE: This ain’t no Three Musketeers scenario.
Western Athletic Conference Commissioner Karl Benson was the only commissioner from a non-automatic qualifying conference on Craig Thompson’s conference call last Friday.
And he hung up early.
After Thompson, the Mountain West Conference commissioner, explained that his plight was only for his own conference and not the rest of the non-automatic qualifying schools, a computer voice came over the line that said Benson had left the conference.
It wasn’t intentional. Benson left the teleconference early because he was on vacation with family and friends, but the tone his abrupt departure set was not unlike the feeling he and his counterparts felt when they heard of Thompson’s visit to Capitol Hill…