$0.02: This time, Congress’ meddling makes sense
December 6, 2005
This is how it works these days: Exciting sporting events lead to money, which leads to controversy, which leads to outrage, which leads to Congressional involvement. And for the first time, I’m all for it.The latest issue our nation’s political leaders are tackling is amateur sports. College football to be exact. And I don’t think I’m alone when I say they’ve got good reason to intervene. College football has morphed from a thrilling display of purity into a critical business market for universities across the U.S. I’m not talking about Nebraska’s reputation taking a hit for one lackluster season, either.
This is about direct revenue. A school that qualifies for a Bowl Championship Series (BCS) game gets about $15 million. The most you can hope for in a non-BCS bowl is a fraction of that. Forget our hopes for a playoff system for a moment. And consider the $15 million part one more time. A school gets that. For the way its students perform on a playing field. When Congress’ House Energy and Commerce subcommittee announced last week that it will comprehensively review the BCS and postseason college football, its chairman called the BCS “deeply flawed.” Honestly, who can argue with that? The BCS got lucky this year, with just two teams – Texas and USC – finishing the year undefeated. Now that Congress is getting involved, I hope we as fans follow in the BCS’s footsteps, and get lucky in our own way. Maybe the politicians can do the right thing, and construct a playoff. Otherwise, it’s only going to get worse …
Speaking of the Trojans and Longhorns, welcome to the closest thing the college game has ever seen to Super Bowl hype. Except this time we have a full month of it, not just two weeks …Can’t say it enough: If they don’t award Reggie Bush the Heisman Trophy this Saturday, it will be the second straight year he’s been the best player in college football, but hasn’t won the award that recognizes that title …So much for Colorado’s shot at upsetting Texas in the Big 12 Championship game, huh? It was 70-3 midway through the third quarter! What USC did to UCLA later in the day was ugly; but what the Longhorns did to the Buffs bordered on obscene. How do you walk around Boulder after something like that happens? The day’s most telling statistic: If Texas had continued to score on the 70-3 pace it set over the first 38 minutes, the final score would’ve been 111-5 …
Continuing on the quest for the perfect sports name, we can eliminate one more: Smush Parker, the L.A. Lakers’ guard …Bode Miller and Daron Rahlves could become household names if they do at the Olympics what they did at Beaver Creek last week. And if you think they already are household names, you’re mistaken. Here they are. To the rest of America, they’re still relative nobodies. They play it down all they can, but there’s a lot riding on their performance in Italy in February. All of skiing would benefit if they do well …In parting, what are we doing in a place where you risk bodily harm by exposing your skin? (It’s supposed to get up to minus-2 today.) I guess if the rest of the world knew what we know, that question would be a no-brainer to them, too.Devon O’Neil can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 13630, or at email@example.com.
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