Saturday, January 10, 2009
Obviously, I'm a full-fledged playoff advocate for Division I-A football (I prefer the 16-team method; 11 conference champs and 5 at-larges), so with that said, SI's Andy Staples presented a rather interesting case for one, particularly regarding public universities. What's remarkable about it is this:
ACC commissioner John Swofford, the current BCS coordinator, readily admitted Thursday that there is more money in a playoff than in the current system. Then he spent almost 10 minutes enumerating the various excuses for why there isn't one.
"The community isn't there. In a nutshell, I think the reason is there are parameters that particularly the presidents want to see maintained," Swofford said. "You're looking at things like the number of games played. You're looking at things like the sport basically remaining a one-semester sport. You're talking about concerns over having playoff games during most schools' exam periods. All of those things come into play, as well as -- and I know you're getting tired of hearing this -- the quality and uniqueness of the regular season."
Amazing admission, but maybe not, if you consider that the idea isn't the total money that could be earned -- it's how much can be kept amongst the conferences and their teams. The reason the BCS still exists is because the conference commissioners do not want to give up control of a playoff to the NCAA, which would re-distribute the profits among it, the conferences, and to other programs in what would be a smaller piece for the conferences and teams than they currently get.
So, with that in mind, consider the country's economic crisis, which is affecting public universities in a very real manner (speaking as a California resident and media guy, I've run a bunch of stories about the UC and CSU systems in the past year dealing with some major budget cuts). Generally, I don't think anyone really enjoys the grandstanding that goes on when the federal government holds publicized hearings on such matters on TV, but considering the money that would go to universities, both public and private, if Staples' math and Swofford's assertions of more money in a playoff are to be believed, why isn't every state and federal legislator pushing the heads of their public university presidents to pressure the NCAA?