BCS goes to Washington


Issue: "Arafat: The devil you know," Sept. 20, 2003

The BCS is so unpopular, it's even drawing criticism from THE Congress. In early September during a congressional hearing on the Bowl Championship Series, members of the House Judiciary Committee told college football officials they weren't pleased by the way the game designates its national champion. Lawmakers characterized the BCS more as a marketing scheme than a fair way to determine college football's elite.

Formed in 1998, the BCS uses factors such as poll placement, schedule strength, and quality wins to rank each week the best college football teams. The six athletic conferences aligned with the BCS send their champion to a BCS bowl game, leaving only two at-large spots available for college football's four most lucrative bowls.

"Fundamental fairness trumps the fundamental of good marketing," House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) said. Revenue projections show that the four BCS bowl games can expect to gross over $80 million with just an estimated $6 million going to the 55 non-BCS schools. Over $80 million would go to the 62 BCS schools. The hearing was titled, "Antitrust Aspects of the Bowl Championship Series," signaling that the next time the BCS is raised before Congress, college administrators may receive more than just a tongue lashing.

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