… The college game headlined the political agendas for several lawmakers, particularly those determined to promote a head-to-head playoff system designed to replace the current Bowl Championship Series.
Reps. Joe Barton (R-Texas) and Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), the ringleaders of this movement, in December created the Congressional Collegiate Sports Caucus to examine a playoff. Barton had previously sponsored a bill written to prevent the BCS from deeming its title game a college football championship game unless a playoff system precedes it.
Meanwhile, former Rep. Toby Moffett (D-Conn.), now a lobbyist running Washington, D.C.-based firm The Moffett Group, in December spearheaded We Want a Playoff Now, a campaign aimed at rallying lawmakers and the public against the BCS. And Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Max Baucus (D-Mont.) have also been outspoken on the matter, arguing the BCS is prejudiced against schools in their states.
“Americans care about sports, and they care about fairness,” Cohen said, explaining why he considers the college football postseason a congressional concern. “If something like this isn’t fair, it is the prerogative of Congress, and its job, to address it and fashion remedies.”
This might explain why the BCS in 2011 spent $350,000 on federal lobbying efforts defending itself.
Prior to 2003, the BCS didn’t lobby the government, and it had never spent more than $120,000 doing so until 2009, records show. [Emphasis added.] It now counts former college football great Rep. J.C. Watts (R-Okla.) among its hired guns.
It’s only natural.
“We go to Washington because Washington is interested in this, and we’re achieving our goal of helping educate people on the benefits of the BCS system,” Bill Hancock, the BCS’s executive director, said, citing revenue distribution.
There are all kinds of ways to fill a vacuum, though. Which is why I wonder if the BCS is getting the same quality advice from Ari Fleischer that the Susan G. Komen Center for the Cure’s been getting.