“But the six (BCS) conferences will have to believe they are equal to or better off than they are now.”

The header is a quote from Nebraska chancellor Harvey Perlman at yesterday’s less than momentous Senate hearings on the BCS.  File that under “Moment of ‘Duh'”.

I’m not going to waste your time with the utter predictability of what was said (you can read Year2’s recap for that, if you’d like), because you really don’t need to know any more about what went on than this:

The hearing
Of the 10 senators on this committee, 2 were present. Chairman Herb Kohl left after opening the hearing, leaving one.

Maybe they were all out getting their hair done.  Or maybe they didn’t find Hatch’s vanity project worth wasting any time on.

Young: “I appreciate those comments very much and I do appreciate the tremendous football team Nebraska fields and wish they would be willing to play us.”

Hatch: “There you have a challenge. You tell (AD Tom) Osborne I want a university of Utah game.”


Where do things go from here?  Well, expect Hatch and Shurtleff to continue publicly nagging the Justice Department to open an inquiry, requests/demands which I’m sure will be given all due consideration – or at least all of the consideration due two politicians who have given the Obama administration so much support on so many other issues.

Expect more whining and temper tantrums from the Mountain West.  Like this act of short term self-immolation (h/t The Wiz of Odds):

Boise State would not be eligible for the lucrative Bowl Championship Series after the 2010 regular season if WAC and Mountain West presidents decide not to sign a new deal by Thursday afternoon.

The 18 presidents must decide whether to join all Division I-A football leagues in the powerful postseason bowl coalition, or risk millions and more in hopes of changing the system to improve access and payouts for their schools.

As they say in the Guinness commercial, brilliant.  These guys are living the dream – the pipe dream.

“It’s not in the best interest of the non-automatic qualifying conferences,” Boise State president Bob Kustra said of the potential deal, which would extend the current qualifying standards for teams to play in BCS bowl games. “… There’s considerable pressure to sign it. But it could be that Hatch’s call will influence the majority of presidents to not sign it.”

Notice he doesn’t say where the pressure is coming from.  It’s sure not coming from the Big 6, the bowls or ESPN.

Maybe it’s coming from the kids.

… But none of those undefeated teams was ever named a national champion.  [University of Utah President, Michael K.] Young says college students are watching an injustice.

”We are preaching one thing in the classroom and doing something else,” Young said.  “Kids get the hypocrisy of that in 30 seconds.”

They get short-sighted stupidity fairly quickly, too.

“There are really two choices: not signing it at all or signing it with a statement saying we’re signing it under duress,” Kustra said.

Not signing the agreement would be a considerable risk, not only because the leagues would lose their share of millions of BCS and ESPN dollars, but because their teams would be shut out of the biggest bowls – an outcome that would have trickle down effects into recruiting, coach retention, athletic budgets and overall prestige.

The expression “cutting off one’s nose to spite one’s face” comes to mind here.  How these guys are going to turn a voluntary decision not to participate into an antitrust violation should be fascinating to watch.  I’m kidding, of course; there’s no duress here, just adolescent petulance over not getting their way.  And these guys have no clue if there’s even a valid payoff for their defiance.

WAC presidents have been made aware of the ramifications of not signing it, Kustra said.

But, he said, “it may be a risk worth taking” for the WAC and Mountain West.

The thinking is that with 18 universities – spread from Louisiana to Hawaii and from Idaho to Texas – taking a stand on the issue of access, Congress or the Justice Department would be forced to act.

Or it might even prompt the BCS to do something.

Not if the government declines to get involved.  Otherwise, if these guys believe they can appeal to Jim Delany’s sense of shame, they’re even dumber than I already give them credit for being.


UPDATE: Berry Tramel’s column on this is a must read, if only for two things.

First, this little tale of buyer’s remorse.

True story from a BCS insider: Last December, all 11 leagues in Division I-A voted for the new BCS/ESPN contract that goes into effect for the 2010 season. BCS and ESPN officials then huddled for four days to iron out details of the already-accepted agreement.

But when the completed contract was ready to sign, the Mountain West balked. What happened in those four days?

Utah upset Alabama in the Sugar Bowl and completed a perfect season.

Second, from the department of go-ahead-and-make-my-day, this:

BCS spokesman Bill Hancock said ESPN has informed the conferences that its payout won’t change, regardless of whether the Mountain West is involved.

Now that’s market share we can believe in.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs, It's Just Bidness, Political Wankery

6 responses to ““But the six (BCS) conferences will have to believe they are equal to or better off than they are now.”

  1. The Realist

    I have an idea. Let’s let the conferences that want a playoff have a playoff. Let’s gather some sponsors, and set up a playoff. 4 teams, 8 teams, 16 teams, whatever. Like the NIT of football. They can invite whoever they choose based on whatever criteria they choose. I doubt they’ll get a champion of a BCS league to participate, but they might could get an 9-win SEC team to forego their 15th Outback Bowl in a row to take on the likes of an undefeated Utah, Boise State, etc. in a “playoff.” Then, if the playoff works so damn well, the BCS might take notice of the better business model and change.

    Playoff mongers… unite. Make this happen. I wouldn’t even mind if the NCAA declared the winner of this playoff the “national champion (wink, wink).”


    • That’s why I don’t understand how Orrin Hatch genuinely believes that the BCS is anti-trust. There’s absolutely nothing stopping the Coalition conferences from setting up their own system of post-season play. This isn’t like what happened with Microsoft where they forced retailers to install Windows on every computer they sold wherein the retailers had no option (if you tried to sell computers without Windows, you would likely go out of business).

      If they want a playoff, they are free to do it. I just think it’s another case of idiot politicians trying to score cheap political points by playing on emotional issues at the expense of John Q. Taxpayer.


  2. This plan would make the BCS confrences better off, and provide a real opportunity for the non-BCS schools to have access to championships and money!

    No, Senator, it is not perfect and does not hold on to all of the tradition and history of college football, but makes a strong effort. Curious as to your thoughts.



    • I think you’re gonna have travel problems with it. How many schools have fans that will be able to make all those games on short notice? And I’m still not sold on why the tourney field has to be eight, as I’m not sure there’s ever been that many viable MNC contenders at the end of a season.

      That’s probably why I prefer BCS Guru’s proposal.


      • Yes travel is going to be an issue, unless you scrap the BCS bowl sites and are not concerned about weather. With the exception of Big East to Miami and Big 10 to Pasadena, I tried to keep teams relatively close.

        As for 8 teams, it provides 8 teams with BCS type revenue and a shot at the championship. I couldn’t agree more that they all might not be deserving, but it does address a 2 loss team from a power conference versus an undefeated team from the Pac10. How do we to really know which is more deserve given the level of competition?


  3. Barry Tramel’s column addresses the financial side of the “why are they complaining” stance. And he is spot on saying they have reaped for more benefits in the past few years than all of preceding combined history.

    My prayer tonight will be for undefeated champions from the 4, or more, BCS conferences. Let’s share some of the bitter taste West Opelika was left with following their undefeated SEC season. Perhaps the boosters can get the attention of these presidents.