Settling it at the bank

Michael Elkon shares a little more of that NCAA “settling it on the field” bounty with us:

Moreover, the same commercial pressure that is pushing the NCAA to further expand an already gaudy tournament also causes the NCAA to put teams like Duke and Pitt is difficult situations. It cannot be a coincidence that Baylor and Texas A&M are both in the South bracket when the NCAA needs to sell thousands of tickets for a regional at Reliant Stadium. Duke ends up being penalized by the NCAA’s need to maximize revenue…

Two further points here.

  1. No, that’s not the same as what the bowls do.  Bowls, with the exception of the BCS title game, are exhibition events.  Glorified, sure, but exhibitions nonetheless.  Asses in the seats are their raison detre. That’s not the case with a playoff, which at its heart, as so many assure me, is supposed to be primarily about determining a national champion.
  2. Always, always, always, the D-1 football playoff discussion will always come back to this very same economic fairness vs. competition debate – and the money will always win out in the end.  The NCAA is no more immune from that than any other organization, because that’s what its member schools care about the most.  More than the players.  More than the fans.  And that, more than anything else, is why I view expansion as inevitable if the BCS adopts a flawed model for a playoff to start with.  Hell, it’s probably inevitable no matter what, but at least I can delude myself for a while under certain conditions.

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UPDATE: And this is what happens when your postseason stops factoring in fan travel.

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18 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs

18 responses to “Settling it at the bank

  1. Scorpio Jones, III

    I, too, fear we are doomed to some sort of playoff in football, for exactly the reasons you state so well.

    The key ingredient to making this mess even worse for all college football is the 85-scholarship limit.

    Georgia, for instance, a couple of years ago, could have, theoretically, been in a playoff with three tight ends starting on the offensive line and three freshmen at linebacker.

    What will happen if the scholarship limit is not raised is that the bigger schools will propagate a whole new level of scout teams and preferred walk ons.

    Which means the rich will still get richer, more kids will play hurt worse, the competition will not be anywhere near its best, but the money will roll in.

  2. Phocion

    Funny, one of the radio guys was just commenting yesterday that Duke likely got the bracket it did because it was an easier bracket than the others and would lead to Duke making it to the Final Four which is in CBS and the NCAA’s best interest due to the tv share Duke brings nationally compared to any other team in the tourney. NCAA basketball fans either love or hate Duke and, regardless of their passion, they will watch Duke to see them win/lose. Any of the other #1 or #2 seeds don’t bring that type of fan interest and, in a year where the tv contract needs to be renewed/option picked up, the NCAA wants the best rating possible if it is going to have to enter negotiations and open market competition.

    • Chuck

      Duke got a higher seed and a better bracket than they deserved on merit. It’s difficult for me to see how they have been penalized.

  3. Is it me, or is the rate of decay accelerating?

    Don’t worry, Senator. Even though it would be best for the sport, the BCS conferences are not going to give up their equity anytime soon.

  4. Phocion

    As for the football…

    Pretty much all credible playoff scenarios, whether they be 10, 12, or 16 team formats, have stated that the opening round games would be held at the home field locations of the higher seeded team. Economic fairness be damned…if Cincy was the 3-seed for 2009 then they would have hosted a home game regardless of the fact that the Swamp is a much bigger stadium.

    Semifinals and Finals move to the old BCS bowl sites…and the teams cut of the take for those games more than make up for the expense of travel for the teams.

    BTW: what is stoping the framers of a playoff system from stating in the contracts that participant teams get their legitimate travel expense covered before any other monies are distributed to conferences?

    An impartial accounting review board can do this. Nothing says that an LSU vs Oregon game in the Superdome has to result in equal sums being paid to each team for ‘travel expenses’.

    Don’t like that? Then let the NCAA make all travel arrangements for the teams and let them pay the bill before distributing the monies left-over.

  5. Kevin

    I would not like the job of putting those times together in 3 days

    • Dog in Fla

      That’s either a tough way to part your hair in the middle or he picked Duke and just learned that the Kryzyginskis may have to play A&M and then Baylor in Houston.

      • Prov

        It’s me after reading the phrase “settle it on the field” for 4343rd time.

        • Dog in Fla

          #4344 incoming…

        • I think we should SETTLE IT ON THE FIELD. Nit pik at the basketball tourney all you want, but only a self aggrandizing “know it all” believes their OPINION matters more than the actual results of the games.

          Ahhhh, I feel better.

          With unbalanced conferences it is the purest way, most ethical way a champion can be named.

          Before you say it, I know plenty of people that will be glad to take your tickets if it will “de-value” the regular season (assuming you have tickets).

          Senator, playoff talk is your train-wreck sensationalism. Kudos!

          • Prov

            I just don’t think playoffs are the only way to settle it on the field.

          • What do you think, I’m gonna burn my ticket order in protest? LMAO.

            Nah, come an extended playoff, I expect my interest will slowly dwindle over time, just like it did with college basketball.

            • Puffdawg

              Exactly. Just because the reg season would be less important doesn’t mean there would be no importance. There is a big difference there. Just because fans could more easily ratonalize losses does not mean they would quit showing up altogether. But I do suspect interest would eventually dwindle. How can you look at reg season for any sport with a playoff and say there is the same “live and die with each game” approach as college football?

          • Hackerdog

            I thought the self-aggrandizing know it alls were the ones who beg the question about a playoff improving the sport, and then refuse to acknowledge any argument to the contrary.

            In other words, they’re the ones screaming, “Hey kettle, you’re black!”

            • I continue to acknowledge the enormity of the obstacles. Even in a prior comment on this post >> “Don’t worry, Senator. Even though it would be best for the sport, the BCS conferences are not going to give up their equity anytime soon.”

              The inequality of conferences is another factor. I just do not respect voted opinions as much as y’all do.