House panel passes college football playoff bill

Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2009 11:29 AM
Last updated 12:04 PM
  • Follow Latest News

WASHINGTON – A House subcommittee approved legislation Wednesday aimed at forcing college football to switch to a playoff system to determine a national champion, over the objections of some lawmakers who said Congress had more pressing matters on its plate.

The bill, which faces long odds of becoming law, would ban the promotion of a postseason NCAA Division I football game as a national championship unless that title contest is the result of a playoff. The measure passed by voice vote in a House Energy and Commerce Committee subcommittee, with one audible "no," from Rep. John Barrow, D-Ga.

"With all due respect, I really think we have more important things to spend our time on," Barrow said before the vote, although he stressed he didn't like the current Bowl Championship Series, either.

The bill's sponsor, GOP Rep. Joe Barton of Texas, said the BCS system is unfair and won't change unless prompted by Congress.

The vote came three days after the BCS selections were announced, including the Jan. 7 national title game between No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Texas.

In a statement before the vote, BCS executive director Bill Hancock said, "With all the serious matters facing our country, surely Congress has more important issues than spending taxpayer money to dictate how college football is played."

The subcommittee chairman, Rep. Bobby Rush, an Illinois Democrat who co-sponsored the bill, said, "We can walk and chew gum at the same time."

Yet Barrow wasn't alone in criticizing his colleagues' priorities; Reps. Zach Space, D-Ohio, and Bart Stupak, D-Mich., made similar arguments. Space said that with people facing tough times, the decision to focus on college football sends the "wrong message."

The bill has a tough road ahead, given the wide geographic representation of schools in the six conferences - the ACC, Big East, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-10 and SEC - that get automatic BCS bowl bids.

"The schools in those six conferences, which have such a huge financial benefit from the system, have enormous clout," said Gary Roberts, dean of the Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis and a sports law expert. "I don't see anything coming from this."

The current college bowl system features a championship game between the two top teams in the BCS standings, based on two polls and six computer rankings. Eight other schools get the Orange, Sugar, Fiesta and Rose bowls.

Under the BCS, the champions of those six big conferences get automatic bids, while other conferences don't.

Although Alabama and Texas finished with undefeated seasons, so did several other teams that will not get a chance to play for the title game, including TCU, Cincinnati and Boise State.

Each will get to play in a BCS bowl: Cincinnati is the Big East champ; TCU, champion of the Mountain West, gets a bid awarded to a nonautomatic qualifying conference that meets certain criteria; and Boise State, winner of the Western Athletic Conference, gets an at-large bid.

At a May hearing, Barton warned college football officials that unless they took action toward a playoff system within two months, Congress probably would act. It took a little longer, but the timing of this week's vote isn't exactly a coincidence.

"Part of it is because BCS is in the news," Barton said before the meeting.

There is no Senate version, although Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, has pressed for a Justice Department antitrust investigation into the BCS.

Shortly after his election last year, Obama said there should be a playoff system.

"I'm going to throw my weight around a little bit," Obama said at the time. "I think it's the right thing to do."

Comments (12) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
jaymay12
0
Points
jaymay12 12/09/09 - 11:47 am
0
0
Now that is a much needed

Now that is a much needed change.

confederate american
0
Points
confederate american 12/09/09 - 11:48 am
0
0
government now ruling on

government now ruling on football,this country is doomed to many stupid people walking around

ron_rlw
1
Points
ron_rlw 12/09/09 - 11:50 am
0
0
Amazing the government

Amazing the government doesn't anything better to do than to start controlling sports ... just one more thing for them to control.

LaTwon
1
Points
LaTwon 12/09/09 - 12:56 pm
0
0
what aspect of our lives do

what aspect of our lives do they not want to rule. revolution now

BCG
0
Points
BCG 12/09/09 - 12:56 pm
0
0
We may not like current

We may not like current system but CONGRESS should not be involved in such matters!!! We do not pay them for sticking thier nose in where it should not be. The same opinion for the waste of taxpayer money on looking into steriod use in sports..... and on and on. BIG GOVERNMENT needs to take a hike!!!!!!

uptheseventhplanet
1
Points
uptheseventhplanet 12/09/09 - 01:14 pm
0
0
We all know congress would

We all know congress would never screw anything up.

justthefacts
25496
Points
justthefacts 12/09/09 - 01:30 pm
0
0
Maybe the good Senator from

Maybe the good Senator from Texas will drop his legislation if Texas wins the game in Pasadena.

CoastalDawg
125
Points
CoastalDawg 12/09/09 - 02:35 pm
0
0
Just as congress should never

Just as congress should never have been involved in the baseball steroid fiasco, it should never involve itself in the operation of ANY sport. If the NCAA can't handle it (and obviously they WON'T),it's time to get rid of that organization and try again. But congress? I have to agree with Congressman Barrow on this one, why in the world would congress become involved in college football? Where is the constitutional mandate for THAT? Oops, momentary lapse - congress isn't CONCERNED with things constitutional otherwise we wouldn't have the mess now that we have there and in the White House.

KSL
144925
Points
KSL 12/09/09 - 02:48 pm
0
0
Congress needs to mind its

Congress needs to mind its own business.

1of the frontrowgang
0
Points
1of the frontrowgang 12/09/09 - 03:20 pm
0
0
Congress could screw up a one

Congress could screw up a one car funeral. It has no business in football.

austinevans
0
Points
austinevans 12/09/09 - 07:54 pm
0
0
[filtered word], Congress is getting into

[filtered word], Congress is getting into this also?? The lib dems have no limit to what they think their role is!

grizzilies
0
Points
grizzilies 12/09/09 - 09:20 pm
0
0
Can you tell my wife and I

Can you tell my wife and I when we should do it congress?

Back to Top
loading...
Search Augusta jobs