Obama Vs. the BCS: Really?

David LutherFeatured ColumnistJanuary 30, 2010

First, it was the economy. Then, it was health care. Now, it's college football? I don't remember that section of the State of the Union.

That's right! President Obama has come off of a fairly well-received State of the Union address preceded by two questionable performances in dealing with the economy and health care reform with his latest attempt to bolster his sagging poll numbers: investigating the BCS.

The Associated Press is reporting that the Obama Administration is considering several different actions the Justice Department may take to determine if the Bowl Championship Series violates US antitrust and consumer protection laws.

Assistant Attorney General Ron Welch sent a letter to Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) which stated that the Justice Department may be looking into whether the BCS violates US antitrust laws, and in addition, "the administration also is exploring other options that might be available to address concerns with the college football postseason."

Really? I know that several lawmakes have been upset with the BCS over past years. And it's typically lawmakers from states or districts which have their schools snubbed.

But I find it interesting that the first newsmaking story out of the White House following the President's first State of the Union isn't a new health care bill, or a jobs bill, but a college football fix-it-while-fixing-my-poll-numbers ploy.

We all remember then-President-elect Obama's call for a college football playoff system a year ago. That would be nice in a perfect world, and there are some real possible (and I think easy) ways to accomplish a true post-season national champion (see my article: The FBS: What Big-Time College Footbal Could Learn From The FCS and D-II).

But in this perfect football utopia, it would also be nice to have a job and be able to walk into an emergency room without having to take out a second mortgage on my house.

The "other" conferences in the FBS (those who don't have the six auto bids) will receive over $24 million from this year's BCS. Perhaps in an economy with double-digit unemployment they should be happy with $24 million. If not, I'd be more than happy to cash the check for them.

BCS Executive Director Bill Hancock said, "The consensus of the schools is to go with the BCS. We feel strongly the people in higher education are the people best equipped to manage college football."

That may be overstating it a tad, as I seriously doubt there is a consensus among FBS schools on anything, much less how to handle that national champion selection. I will, however, take the inverse position of Mr. Hancock's statement: I don't think the United States Congress (or the Justice Department) are the people best equipped to manage college football.