BCS bigwigs say no to playoff, maybe on other
[ Originally posted 07.22.03 ]
Forget about a
college football playoff for now.
The committee overseeing changes to the Bowl Championship Series won't
consider using a tournament to determine the national champion despite pleas
to open up the postseason to more schools.
The BCS Presidential Oversight Committee on Monday directed the six
conference commissioners to come up with proposals for changing the BCS
without a playoff.
"I'm skeptical a national champion could be determined in a playoff without
infringing on a student athlete's welfare," said Penn State president Graham
Spanier, a member of the committee.
The panel also said it would meet with representatives from the other five
Division I-A conferences Sept. 8 in Chicago to hear their concerns about the
Tulane president Scott Cowen,
who is holding a teleconference with 44 other
university presidents from non-BCS schools on Tuesday, said
the invitation was a positive step.
But he was disappointed that the committee refused to consider a playoff,
which the NCAA has in all other divisions and sports and which would improve
access for schools from non-power conferences.
"If we're going to have a dialogue, all options have to be open," Cowen
said. "If they are eliminating options before the dialogue, then what are we
"No matter how good we are, we can't get into BCS bowls. The rankings are
biased against non-BCS schools."
In 1998, Tulane went undefeated but could only play in the Liberty Bowl
because it was ranked 11th in the BCS standings. Teams from non-BCS
conferences are guaranteed a bid to one of the four bowl games if they are
ranked in the top six.
Money is a major issue. The Rose, Fiesta, Sugar and Orange bowls generate
more than $100 million a year for the BCS conferences. The BCS gives about
$8 million a year to the schools from the other five conferences.
The BCS was formed in 1998 in an effort to match the top two teams in a
national title game. The system takes the champions from the six major
conferences Pac-10, Big 12, Big Ten, ACC, SEC and Big East and two
at-large teams to play in the BCS bowls.
The system worked perfectly last season when it paired Ohio State against
Miami in the Fiesta Bowl in a matchup of the only undefeated teams a
matchup that couldn't have happened under the old system of conference
"Since we reorganized a little bit to allow for No. 1 vs. No. 2 game, there
really has been no change in the schools that would have qualified before
and that qualify now," Spanier said.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln chancellor Harvey Perlman said the
commissioners could consider adding a championship game after the four BCS
games, as well as adding another game to the system to give schools from
smaller conferences a better chance to get into a major bowl game.
The committee also said the Big East would remain a member at least until
the current contract ends after the January 2006 bowls despite losing
powerhouses Miami and Virginia Tech to the ACC.
Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said the Big East's chances of remaining in
the BCS in the next contract depend on how attractive the reconstituted
conference would be to television networks.
Also, the Big Ten is not looking to add a 12th team and wouldn't want to
start a conference championship game even if an NCAA rule change allowed it
for conferences with 10 or 11 teams.
While such a game could generate as much as $12 million for the conference,
Delany said the drawbacks outweigh the extra money.
"It makes it much more difficult for your champion to run the table," Delany
said. "Then, the loser of the game is 'less interesting' to bowls because
it's coming off a loss. Also, fans who made a major trip from their homes to
the venue may be less inclined to go to a bowl game. Lastly, it inevitably
has a way of diminishing traditional rivalries in a conference."
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