Congress should stay out of the BCS
I quote an AP story from Dec. 2, 2005:
“HOUSTON – Calling the Bowl Championship Series ‘deeply flawed,’ the chairman of a congressional committee has called a hearing on the controversial system used to determine college football’s national champion.
A House Energy and Commerce subcommittee, charged with regulating America’s sports industry, announced Friday it will conduct a hearing on the BCS next week, after this season’s bowl matchups are determined.
‘College football is not just an exhilarating sport, but a billion-dollar business that Congress cannot ignore,’ said committee Chairman Joe Barton, a Texas Republican. Barton’s panel is separate from the House Government Reform panel that tackled steroids in baseball.”
If Congress had devoted this kind of energy and attention to reading pre-war intelligence and listening to leaders of every major religious denomination on the planet, they might not have voted to allow the President to lead us into Iraq – at least not on the grounds of WMD. And if we’re really so concerned about “deep flaws” in the system, why isn’t there more concern about the 9/11 Commission’s findings announced yesterday that the U.S. is not all that much safer today than it was on 9/11/2001? Or how Valerie Plame’s name got leaked and why we can’t seem to figure out how it did?
I could go on.
Geo-politics aside though, even if we really care about the BCS process (which I don’t, but I know some folks really do), do we need and/or want Congress to be spending their time and our money on setting it right? Congress is not exactly on a roll with respect to efficacy, integrity, and prudent decision-making (see previous paragraph and the laundry list of ongoing ethics investigations).
Personally, I don’t. Nor do I want them fretting about steroids in baseball. (Lot of good that did, BTW, given that Palmiero lied to Congress’s faces and they bought it.) Sports are ENTERTAINMENT. Congress doesn’t hold hearings to make sure male porn stars aren’t using Viagra illegally. Congress doesn’t hold hearings to investigate Pamela Anderson’s bodily enhancements for the sake of entertainment (although some Congressmen might want to).
The governing bodies of the sports themselves should be setting the rules. Sure, if steroids are a dangerous controlled substance, Congress can make laws providing for the punishment of their users and sellers. But last I checked, ball players found with roids in their blood get suspensions. You or I get caught with arguably less dangerous marijuana in ours, and we likely get fired. (Of course Barry Bonds smacking a home-run is far more entertaining than you and me sitting on the couch eating Cheetos deconstructing Gilligan’s Island reruns.)
Congress might want to address that “deep flaw” in the system (or any number of other flaws, see above), rather than spending time hand-wringing over the BCS, which, by the way, is responsible for pitting the No.1 against the No. 2 team in the same bowl game this year to decide the undisputed national champion.
Gee, if the system weren’t so flawed, that game would be even better.
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