“I’m not very fatigued right now.”

Jim Delany speaks Big Six truth to DOJ power:

“There’s no judge or jury in the world,” Delany said, “that can make you enter into an four-team, eight-team or 16-team playoff.”

Tactically speaking, it’s erroneous to assume that college football is structured monolithically in the way that the professional leagues are or March Madness is.  Which is why it’s foolish to brush off this threat:

… Echoing Notre Dame athletics director Jack Swarbrick, Delany insisted that, if the BCS were dismantled, it wouldn’t lead to the kind of playoff Varney referenced in her letter. Schools and conferences more likely would return to a pre-BCS format in which they struck their own bowl deals, top to bottom.

Every new regular season TV deal makes it easier for these guys to do that.  (Bonus points for the James Brown reference!)

Maybe it’s a bluff.  I know there are people like Dan Wetzel who are fully convinced it’s just that.  Maybe they’re right.  But nobody can say they weren’t warned otherwise.

“I know at the end of the day that we’ve operated in total good faith. I know that (the postseason) is better than it was. . . . And if it can’t go forward, it can’t go forward. But I also know that we can’t be enjoined, we can’t be directed or forced into something we don’t think is the right thing for us to do.”

Welcome to BCS poker, folks.

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UPDATE:  Over at Coaches Hot Seat Blog, Joe, with his usual overheated rhetoric, points to a governmental strategy which I agree might impress more than the antitrust threat.

…The approximately $200 Billion Dollars that is sent to colleges and universities in America each year for student-aid and all kinds of research would be TRUMP CARD No. 1 Delany and that you, Jack Swarbrick, Gordon Gee and lots of other folks don’t understand that reality is not a big surprise to us here at Coaches Hot Seat.

If Gordon Gee and other university presidents and chancellors would like to run their schools without student-aid and money from the US Government and thus the US Taxpayer then they can go ahead and give it a try but Gordon Gee and every other college and university president in the country knows their schools would shut-down overnight if not for Federal Student Aid and the research monies that they get each year from the US Taxpayer and that means that this is all going to come down to these Bogus BCS Bastards:

Either institute the same type of postseason playoff tournament that student-athletes in other sports have access to as administered by the NCAA or US Government and US Taxpayer money to your school will cease….immediately.

Joe’s right.  That’s not chump change.  But there are two problems I see with that approach.  First, if it’s such a great and effective idea, how come Congress has been more than willing to let DOJ carry its water with the antitrust threat?  I suspect that’s because of part two: there are a lot of members of Congress with powerful constituents who don’t want the BCS changed.  Just because those aren’t people squawking as much as Orrin Hatch doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

Maybe this is something that changes if DOJ takes a pass.  To me, it might turn out to be an effective strategy if Congress combined the stick of withdrawing financial support with the carrot of an antitrust exemption.  You can’t tell me the school presidents wouldn’t be tempted by that.

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38 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Political Wankery

38 responses to ““I’m not very fatigued right now.”

  1. Biggus Rickus

    Why on earth would anyone think it’s a bluff? The power conferences grudgingly expanded access to the BCS, and for that concession they’ve gotten a potential anti-trust lawsuit. It makes perfect sense that they’d tell the little guys to f off if the BCS is abolished.

    • Wetzel argues that (1) the conference commissioners and school presidents don’t have the stomach for a protracted fight with the government over this and (2) the schools in the power conferences would lose money going back to the old system. Thus, the easy move is to adopt a playoff.

      • Biggus Rickus

        As I understand it, the legal argument revolves around AQ and non-AQ status creating unfair access to the BCS market. Wouldn’t the simplest solution be to do away with AQ status and implement general requirements for a BCS invitation? It would probably be a tough sell for the Big East and ACC, but it would be simpler than trying to implement a playoff that nearly no administrator wants.

  2. Schools and conferences more likely would return to a pre-BCS format in which they struck their own bowl deals, top to bottom.

    I see absolutely nothing wrong with this.

  3. To all of those that think Congress will either cease public funds to universities or eliminate the tax-exemption, I say let them vote on it. Let Orrin Hatch propose such a move, and let’s see which members of Congress will be willing to defund the billions going to higher education because 60 football teams don’t want to share postseason money with 50 other teams. Let’s see how well that goes over in the polls.

    • Hogbody Spradlin

      Realist you’re not living up to your name. The feds could withhold funds by executive order, regulations, automatic trigger, or some other mechanism to hide responsibility.
      I’m surprised the federal funding lever hasn’t come up before. Big brother uses it for everything else.

      • Russ

        Exactly. When universities started denying the military recruiters access to their campus facilities due to the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, Congress shut off access to federal funds to those specific universities. All of the universities save one quickly reversed their decisions and invited the military recruiters back on campus.

        I can easily see the same thing happening for some sort of perceived unequal access to money derived from NCAA activities (such as football).

        • Macallanlover

          They do it in so many, many areas, who could be surprised? Seat belt laws and 18 year old drinking age requirements are both the result of the feds threatening to cut off funds for highways. Look at their intervention in public schools, health care, contracts with government agencies, labeling laws, minimum wage laws, etc., etc. States rights has never been a bigger issue than it is becoming these days as states cannot afford what is being crammed down their throats. States and cities aren’t much better, look at smoking laws, candy free aisles, blue laws, NYC facist mayor wants to take salt off the tables of restaurants. Out forefathers have to be spinning in their graves….land of the free my arse.

      • And the representatives and senators from those states would just abide by it without making any noise? I don’t think so. A Rep from Georgia wouldn’t vote for a resolution honoring Florida’s national championship team. Do you really think all the members of Congress would allow the state universities of Florida, Alabama, Michigan, Georgia, California, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, etc. etc. to get no public funding over the BCS? I call your executive order bluff.

  4. Skeptic Dawg

    While I am not a BCS fan, I do not want to see a D-I playoff in college football. Why? The slippery slope theory. It will start with a plus 1 or 4 team format, but much like the NCAA hoops tourney it will expand to an unacceptable number. We have a 12 week playoff in college football as it is. Win them all and you are in. Drop a game and you may have a chance in the end. Do all of the BCS bowls add value? No. But we do not need a 16 or 32 team football playoff down the line.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      We already have a 1 game playoff. That is what people find unacceptable. The Plus-One (4 team) format solves most of the problems, captures within its format the teams that most fans would agree would include the really best team in the country yet still preserves the relevance of the regular season. Do that and stop there.

      • The plus 1 works for me & nothing else does.

      • Phocion

        Why not call what we have a playoff system that already includes 8 teams? (SEC East&West, Big12 North&South, ACC Swamp and Bermuda Triangle, Pac10 and Big 10)

        “One Game Playoff” belongs in the pantheon of deceit with “Kinetic Military Action” and “Man-Made Disaster”

  5. DawgPhan

    I can tell you that if any GA reps or senators voted for giant cuts to the state’s universities I doubt they could come back to GA. I doubt that any of those guys are willing to put their neck on the line for college football and saying that no state school that plays college football can have student aid money or that they are canceling research grants goes way beyond putting your neck on the line.

    • I think the tax exemption threat is the more likely of the two to be made (indeed, Sen. Grassley has made noises about it previously). But, yeah, in states where the power conferences are strong, I don’t see a vote of that being entertained by their Congressional representatives.

      But combining the threat with a promise to give schools a free hand with salaries and revenues by granting them antitrust exemption? I can see some legit interest in such a deal.

      • Russ

        I’m too lazy, but can someone do a cross reference of states with BCS schools versus states w/out? That will give us a good gauge of how the voting would fall. Off the top of my head, I’m thinking the count would be pretty evenly split.

        • Biggus Rickus

          Off the top of my head, these are the states with BCS schools:
          California, Texas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, Connecticut, Arkansas, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Minnesota, Illinois, Utah, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, New York, Massachusetts, Indiana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, New Jersey

  6. paul

    So, as long as the athletic department is independent, that is takes no money from the university, wouldn’t that negate the threat of withdrawn student aid monies? Isn’t this just another reason why the the big conferences will look very hard at going completely independent? Drop out of the NCAA, stop taking money from the university. Then you can do what you want. I think this comes closer to reality with each passing day. It won’t happen overnight, but it may well happen.

    • Mayor of Dawgtown

      If it happens it will be overnight. It will be so sudden that people won’t believe how fast it happened.

    • Phocion

      Money from Universities = Scholarships, Student housing, Facilities, etc. etc… No way could that happen “Over night” or in any timely manner.

      And how does the affiliation with the school survive?

      Why should the university admit certain players if the Ath Dept is no longer part of the university why ?

  7. simpl_matter

    Anybody dumb enough to thumb their nose at the threat of government intervention needs to take a long, hard look at what Barry Bonds & Roger Clemens are going through. If you dare Congress to get involved, that may just take that dare and show you who the real sheriff is (it’s not a “bringing a knife to a gun fight” analogy, it’s more like “bringing a twizzler to a gun fight”). When you testify before Congress, you’re not just defending the BCS, you’re putting your personal well-being on the line.

    • DawgPhan

      I dont see how bonds and clements relates to this? Do these college presidents have something they are trying to hide?

      • simpl_matter

        Obviously, this is not on the same level as BB or RC. But, remember, neither of those two were accused of any crimes. Their testimony before Congress created a world of trouble for each individual. My point is, you don’t want to be testifying before a Congressional panel (especially after you make public statements that might be construed as challenging their authority) on issues like this. At best, nothing happens. At worst, they get biblical on your ass.

    • Biggus Rickus

      College adminisrators have a great deal more political pull than individual baseball players accused of using illegal substances.

    • Hogbody Spradlin

      “No man’s liberty or property are safe while the legislature is in session.”
      Maybe Mark Twain

  8. Dog in Fla

    Delany,unlike Rafael Palmerio, does know how to testify at congressional hearings

    “On Dec. 7, 2005, Delany appeared at a U.S. Congressional hearing titled, “Determing a Champion on the field, A comprehensive review of the BCS.” In a candid, unguarded moment, Delany showed his hand when he was asked if the BCS existed only to enrich certain conferences”

    http://www.sportsbybrooks.com/could-just-1-person-be-responsible-for-bcs-yes-29278

  9. Macallanlover

    Had we sent Seal Team Six into Chicago several years ago, we would have had a playoff by now (along with solving several other serious issues in this country). Delaney has been near the top of my Most Wanted Terrorist list for some time.

  10. 69Dawg

    There is absolutely no way in hell the congress or any president that hopes for himself to be re-elected withhold any funding from State Universities over this non-issue. Orin Hatch has painted his flip flopping butt into a corner. He can run for re-election in Idaho maybe but if he voted to cut the University of Utah’s money he might just as well slit his wrists. All the Big 6 states are huge in the national electorate. This whole thing is the old if there is anyway we can get those bastard judges who are appointed for life to handle our dirty work then great if not oh well we tried.

  11. Cojones

    This is like wadin’ thru bad peanut butter.

  12. Dog in Fla

    “Delany’s response, in effect: Bring it on.

    In December, he acknowledged persistent criticism and the potential for “BCS defense fatigue.” But “I’m not very fatigued right now,” he said.

    And when it comes time for the throwing of the boots, he better not be fatigued. Delany style is impetuous, his defense is impregnable. He barely knows who you are. He’s a gorilla, he’s a dog. He’s young, handsome, pretty and can’t possibly be beat. He’s wrestled with an alligator, tussled with a whale, handcuffed lightning and thrown thunder in jail. He’s so mean, he makes medicine sick.

  13. MT

    I’m not sure if conditioning Federal student aid for a playoff system would even be Constitutional (see SD v. Dole test).

    Blutarsky, you’re right, the tax exemption would be most ripe for tinkering, but that directly attacks the educational mission of schools and would likely be political suicide