The BCS, playoffs and Econ 101

One of the most amusing blind spots of extended playoff supporters and the people pushing for mid-major auto-qualifying in the BCS (outside of the title game, remember) is the law of supply and demand.  Despite that these folks are getting smacked in the face almost daily with the frenzy over conference expansion, which is totally driven by economics, they choose to be totally oblivious to the forces that drive the D-1 postseason.

That’s why, in response to an obvious point by the haves

“Those six conferences have automatic qualification through the 2013-14 season by virtue of existing contracts with the bowls and ESPN,” BCS Executive Director Bill Hancock said. “There are two ways that the conferences earn annual automatic qualification: either through market demand — that is, a bowl chooses to contract with one of the conferences — or by qualifying on the field (through the three criteria).”

the best those sympathetic to the cause of the have-nots can do is simply ignore the “market demand” argument, which is what the author of that piece does.  I mean, who needs all that pesky supply and demand crapola getting in the way of a good whine?

Equally befuddling to me is the argument put forth by Ron Morris that higher assistant coaches salaries are in impediment to a football playoff because… well, I’ll let him explain:

Understand, though, the more athletics departments become fiscally irresponsible, the more they push themselves away from a football playoff.  University presidents continue to point to escalating salaries as another example of how athletics departments are divesting themselves from college campuses.

That doesn’t make a lick of sense unless you believe that any form of a postseason playoff will be a net revenue loser for the Big 6.  On the other hand, if you’re an academic or an administrator who disapproves of that damned supply and demand stuff…

School presidents begrudgingly justified head coaching salaries that have reached three and four times greater than their own. But when an assistant coach such as Johnson makes $200,000 more than USC president Harris Pastides, it sends a strong signal to university presidents that college football is out of hand . . . and that a playoff system is pushed further and further to the back burner.

… maybe walking away from a playoff can be justified out of a sheer sense of spite.

All I know is that it’s a sad thing when a doofus like Hancock displays a better grasp of basic economic theory than the ivory tower folks do.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs

2 responses to “The BCS, playoffs and Econ 101

  1. Dawgaholic

    (1) University Presidents, Professors, etc. do not affect the bottom line in the same way as successful football coaches. If they do, they will be compensated likewise.

    (2) When examining the revenue differences between 11 plus win seasons and other seasons, many BCS conference coaching staffs are still woefully underpaid.

    (3) If the mid-majors would take the path of FSU, Miami, and other lesser respected programs of years past and play anyone anywhere, they would have the opportunity to earn respect. If teams refuse to play them, then make those refusals public. (Teams refusing to pay them 7 figures for a road game is not refusing to play them.)


  2. Sam

    College presidents are primarily fundraisers for the university’s academic mission.

    Football coaches have very little impact on the academic side of the fundraising.

    Compare what the grant money brings in (and that money directly impacts the academic mission). I love it when people think the college football coach is great for donating a few grand to the library. Profs can bring in millions of dollars in federal grant money—money that buys lab equipment or pays for graduate students.