$ettling it on the field

Dennis Dodd’s interview with Orrin Hatch regarding the Senator’s crusade against the BCS is worth a read.  It’s a commendable effort.  Dodd does a good job of asking questions and getting out of the way to let Hatch describe what he’s after.

When you get done reading it, you will again realize that Hatch’s primary goal isn’t open competition, it’s redistribution of income – pretty funny, considering the state of political debate in Washington these days.  Here’s a sampler of what he had to say to Dodd:

… The bigger problem is the money and the principles of fair play being taught to our young people by those who they look to for leadership.  Teams from the conferences that receive automatic bids share an enormous pot of money generated by the BCS, even if they lose every game and finish at the bottom of the standings.   At the same time, nearly half the teams in college football share a much smaller pot, even if they are fortunate enough to play their way into a BCS game.  This creates an inherent disadvantage, not just on the field, but with regard to recruiting, facilities, and funding for other athletic programs.  Given the amount of money involved here, which is unprecedented in the history of collegiate sports, I think these inequities warrant the attention of Congress.

… As far as the current agreement is concerned, it is my understanding that the current BCS agreement expires next year and that there is a proposal on the table to extend it through 2014.  The deal is not yet in place and a number of the conferences, particularly the Mountain West, have expressed serious concerns about the proposed extension.  Frankly, I think this proposal is the reason for Congress to get involved right now.  The current system has been condemned by virtually everyone, yet the interested parties see nothing wrong with continuing the status quo for the foreseeable future.  I think that’s just outrageous.

… But, in general, I think the funds should be allocated in a way that is based on the teams’ performance on the field.  Right now, the money may as well be handed out at the beginning of the season because, in the end, we all know which schools and conferences will be getting the money.  That, more than anything, is the problem with the BCS.

Look, like it or not, what Hatch is proposing would radically restructure the sport of college football.  The fact is that right now, the money flows where the interest is.  As a general rule of thumb, the BCS conferences are better draws and generate better TV ratings than do the non-BCS conferences and that’s why they get the lion’s share of the money.  Hatch would do away with that.  He’s got a different model in mind.

Dodd: I have found that many of the Congressmen and Senators don’t know the basics of this system — re: the NCAA has virtually nothing to do with the postseason. Do you understand that this a system that all the conferences have agreed to until 2014?

Hatch: The NCAA is clearly not involved in the college football postseason, and that may be part of the problem. [Emphasis added.] As it stands right now, the decisions regarding the postseason and the road to the national championship are decided, in large part, by the elitist conferences involved in the BCS, working with television networks and corporate sponsors to generate massive amounts of revenue.

That’s got March Madness written all over it.  And don’t think the NCAA wouldn’t be happy to step in if asked.

Not that I think the power conferences would ever let things get that far.  But for those of you who continue to insist that it’ s not realistic to contemplate a D-1 playoff with more than a four-school or eight-school format, you might want to reconsider your vision of reality.

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UPDATE: While you ponder what Hatch is up to, throw this into the mix.

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17 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Political Wankery

17 responses to “$ettling it on the field

  1. NebraskaDawg

    Now if the politicians could just figure out a way to tax the hell out of anything and everything related to the BCS. Because it’s never really about “fairness” it’s always about government control and money.

    • Maybe I’m just being paranoid, but I suspect that if Hatch offered the NCAA control over the D-1 football postseason along with an antitrust exemption, it would agree to anything he wanted in a New York minute.

      • NebraskaDawg

        Without a doubt, if anything just to keep the government’s interference from screwing it up like they have done banking and autos.

  2. heyberto

    The government should stay out of this completely. Doesn’t Dodd have enough to worry about?

  3. To use an old Neal Boortz quote, “The primary purpose of the Democratic party is take property from those who earn it and give it to those who don’t.” Does Hatch not ponder that the reason that SEC schools get such huge television contracts is because we fill our 90K+ seat stadiums to capacity every Saturday and more fans in the South watch college football than other areas? I mean has this guy never taken a basic marketing class? You pay advertising fees based on the readership or viewership. I guess that’s too simple for a politician to understand though.

    • NCT

      I’m not sure what the Democratic party has to do with this post, since Hatch is a Republican. Maybe you should run this interview by Boortz.

      • Damn, you got me. I just assumed by his actions. You know what happens when you ass – u -me…

        • heyberto

          Well don’t beat yourself up… the Republican party isn’t truly conservative anymore… Its more liberal than its ever been, and you can expect that trend to continue.

  4. Left to Right

    Hatch’s primary goal is scoring cheap political points in his home state of Utah, where this sort of stuff plays well. He’s no more serious about changing the BCS than the man on the moon. And he knows this stuff has no chance of ever becoming law simply because there are far more congresspeople from Big 6 conference states than there are from all the other states.

    • Don’t be so sure about that. Among those currently involved in challenging the BCS are Reps. Gary Miller (R-Cal.), Joe Barton (R-Texas) and our own Lynn Westmoreland (R-Clueless).

  5. DC

    not that it matters, but, auditdawg, you do realize that hatch is a republican senator from utah, right? let’s leave the boortz quotes at home, eh?

  6. Pingback: Shouldn’t Cinderella have to earn her place? | MrSEC.com

  7. Kevin

    Senator- can you help with wrap my head about the kind of $ we are talking about? What are the multiple sources that big schools receive money from vs. small schools. What are the discrepancies. What kind of money are each seeing at the end of the season with the bowls/BCS?

    Over and over i read about power conferences sharing this big ‘pot of money’ but I don’t really understand the actual figures, or from where it’s all coming.

    • Kevin – ESPN’s BCS TV contract will pay $125 million per year for four years. That’s for the broadcast rights to four or five games a year (I’m not sure if the Rose Bowl payment is in addition to that or not).

      But what these guys – the NCAA, Hatch, etc. – are looking at is the money paid by CBS for the broadcast rights to March Madness. That’s more like $545 million per year.

      The problem with this sort of thinking is believing that it’s not a zero sum game, that you can suddenly have a large D-1 tournament without affecting the value of the non-BCS bowls and the regular season broadcast rights. That’s not going to be how it would shake out.

      I can’t see how the power conferences are going to agree to cut their throats over this.

  8. MS Dawg

    Wow if the Senator only put so much thought into fixing the economy, we might not be in the mess we are in.

  9. MacAttack

    Some people want the BCS to really screw up so it will implode and we will HAVE to do something else. I figure we could always ask George W what he would do…..I am sure he will lead us that way