Feinstein On The Brink, indeed

This fairy tale posted by John Feinstein is borderline delusional:

… Oh please. If the NCAA wanted control of football it could acquire it in about a 15-minute meeting with the BCS commissioners and presidents. Here’s how it would go:

NCAA: “We are starting a football tournament next season. We are going to sell the rights to corporate America and the TV networks the way we sell the rights to the basketball tournament.”

BCS goons: “We have the BCS. We won’t participate.”

NCAA: “No problem. You can turn down the invitation to the football tournament. By the way, any school that doesn’t participate in the football tournament can’t participate in or receive revenue from the basketball tournament.”

Now, the BCS will scream and yell and threaten legal action. Fine. To begin with, the NCAA already set this precedent years ago when it told basketball teams it had to play in the basketball tournament if invited. It’s known as the, ‘McGuire rule,’ because it was put in place after Al McGuire took Marquette to the NIT in 1970 because he thought his draw in the NCAA’s was unfair.

What’s more, the NCAA is a private organization. Membership is voluntary. It can make any rules it wants (and does) and any member has the right to drop out if it doesn’t like the rules. Aha, you say—the BCS schools will drop out and form their own organization. Not as easy as it sounds. For one thing, the basketball contract for the next 14 years is with the NCAA. And, even if they formed their own superpower tournament the magic of the tournament would be completely lost. Butler makes the NCAA Tournament a must-see event. So does Cornell. The superpowers are semi-pro teams with zero romance attached to them other than by their own fans. The BCS would be cutting off its nose to spite its face if it went rogue. The easiest and best way would be to go kicking and screaming into an incredibly lucrative—for all—football tournament.

I’m going to skip right past his total lack of understanding of US antitrust law and blow by his Cinderella infatuation to get to this one simple question:  does he honestly believe that an organization that just restructured its signature sporting event for the sole purpose of creating more broadcast revenue would leave the staggering amount of money that the football postseason already generates to the conferences as a matter of choice?

Give me a break.  Of course the NCAA wouldn’t.

I can only imagine the column he’d have written in the days before Oklahoma and Georgia challenged the NCAA’s control of football on television.  “Not as easy as it sounds”, my ass.



Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Media Punditry/Foibles, The NCAA

10 responses to “Feinstein On The Brink, indeed

  1. Cojones

    Right on! It’s about time someone shot this crap down. This goes for ALL the expansion talk. Saw this article the other day and agree that Feinjstein is an idiot, but their are others who should be challenged as well. “Mr SEC” for one. They just change the teams in their stupid suppositions. It resembles a chain letter among idiot writers and it sucks in the Howdy Doody crowd. Enough already!


  2. Cojones

    Oops! Left the “as well” off after “expansion talk” .


  3. Feinstein ignoring facts and getting some of them just wrong in order to go on a self-righteous rant? Who saw that coming? The only surprising thing about this is that he didn’t wait until people had moved on from the topic before writing it.


  4. I think you should open all of your Feinstein counterpoints with, “John, you ignorant …”

    I suspect the BCS conferences would leave the NCAA basketball tourney, and all others, long before they would share the BCS football riches with the NCAA.


  5. Is he actually proposing that an NCAA basketball tournament without the participation of the BCS conferences would still be a success?

    Sorry, but Butler and Cornell do not make the tournament a must-see…for those who are tuning in to see the little guys (and I’m not one of them) are only doing so because they want to see the little guy take down the Goliath. If you remove the Goliaths, nobody is going to tune in to see a tournament of nobodies.



  6. Who does he think the NCAA is? It’s not an SEC-like (no, the other SEC) regulatory body handing down its canon to a waiting group of subjects.

    The NCAA is the collective will of the membership. If the members (OK…university presidents) of Division 1-A wanted anything other than what they have, they’d have it.

    For Feinstein and others who talk about the oversight of college athletics, it would be a good idea to substitute “college presidents” where they would refer to the NCAA. That greatly oversimplifies the bureaucratic structure, but it would help them avoid column after unfortunate column of suggesting that a large group of college presidents should threaten themselves.


  7. EastCobbDawg

    Feinstein is a doofus.

    So fine then, the BCS conferences create an alternate spring basketball tournament and open it up for non BCS members who would like to attend by invitation up to a field of say….64. Everybody is eligible to play so the little guys are happy and the money probably doesn’t really change. If the NCAA wants to block the little guys, then the little guys can go sue the NCAA.

    The BCS Conference Tournament is a Who’s Who of traditional basketball powers with every tournament winner since UNLV in 1990. Let the NCAA try to sell their tournament without the top ratings teams that television execs pay for. It would be like playing a golf tournament at some public course with a bunch of no names and calling it The Masters.

    Didn’t UGA and Oklahoma settle the issue of control over media rights years ago? The NCAA has no power over this.


    • You got it right. I’ve been rooting for this for quite a while now once I realized how little the Big 6 need the NCAA and how much they need the Big 6. That nice new TV deal the NCAA signed with CBS/Turner doesn’t work without UNC, Kansas, UCLA, UK, Duke and any other major fanbase that is out there.

      Good luck to Feinstein selling the pageantry when the #1 seed Butler faces UM-BC, Hawaii, UW-GB, FAU, Wichita State and Seina en route to their next title. Ratings boon I tell ya.

      If there’s a way to get away from it I’m all for it. Run the system with checks and balances, keep it all above board and instead of having a body that just hands down arbitrary punishment have a board of “conference representatives” that work to decide the rules.


  8. HudiBlitz

    Feinstein, being a New Yorker and a Dukie, fundamentally does not get college football. His basic mantra, like that of most other Northeastern sportswriters, is to wish that all sports were like the NBA. Why, I’m not exactly sure. I guess it would allow him to be (even) lazier.


  9. Dave

    BCS conferences would leap at the chance to have their own tournament. It would eliminate revenue sharing and basically create a post-season tournament where all their teams get to participate. The increased exposure in the short-term would outweigh any revenue loss, and I doubt it would take long for the new revenue model to overtake the current one.

    I don’t think the Mountain Wests and Atlantic-10s of the world want to encourage the Big 6 BCS conferences to think long and hard about creating in essence their own athletic division.