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Henry's Highlights
Wednesday, July 13, 2005

By Henry Hinton

BCS has no shame



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Is it just me or do they screw up the Bowl Championship Series worse each time they purport to fix it?

Here they go again, plugging the voting hole left by the Associated Press's departure in favor of a grouping of media, former coaches and players. Oh, that ought to make it more equitable (chuckle).

Let me get this straight. The answer to making the BCS formula a more fair system is to introduce more guys that have cronies inside college football?

The truth is the BCS cannot be fixed. And it cannot be defended no matter how many adjustments are made.

The answer then and the answer now is to stop the double talk and spin about a playoff system and get on with it. If it works in other divisions of the NCAA, why not in Division I?

The hypocrisy of it all is laughable. One of the major arguments against the playoff system from the beginning has been the number of games necessary to determine a national champion. Since that time, conference championship games, preseason charity games and now a 12th regular season game have been introduced.

Think about it. These are the same guys that allow basketball scheduling that literally makes it impossible for a student-athlete to attend class. Teams like East Carolina are forced, due to economics and scheduling problems, to miss weeks at a time during the season.

Too many games? Poppycock.

Maybe we should take a tip from the recently outed Deep Throat. Remember Hal Holbrook’s characterization in the movie “All the President’s Men?"

“Just follow the money," he said.

The same advice could be valid for anyone trying to dissect the convoluted scheme at the heart of the BCS. Bottom line: The powers that run college football have created a group of haves and a group of have-nots, with the haves running the BCS and milking it for all they can to the competitive and financial detriment of the have-nots.

Smaller, lesser known programs have fought this all the way back to the inception of the old College Football Association in the ‘70's.

East Carolina won that long-ago battle but now finds itself on the bottom end of the stick once again. As a member in good standing of Conference USA, the Pirate program is on the outside looking in.

Director of Athletics Terry Holland acknowledged the problem in an interview earlier this summer on Talk 1070. In outlining the priorities on getting the program back on track, Holland listed inclusion in the BCS system as job one.

“Our first obligation has to be to make Conference USA a player in the BCS system,” Holland said. “Let’s face it, Utah did it. We can’t say it can’t be done. There’s more access now than when Utah did it. So it’s improving a little bit every year. We have to find a way to make our conference competitive enough to be able to have access to that whole championship series.”

Bettering the league’s status and improving its chances of inclusion in the BCS is a noble goal but one that will continue to be an uphill battle.

As a result, Holland continues to leave the options open. He has said repeatedly that ECU would do what is best for its own future.

“We’re loyal to Conference USA or whatever our conference may be,” Holland said in the June 10 interview. “But when the time comes we’re going to do what’s best for our school so we’re going to be very audible. We’re going to be above the board with Conference USA but in the end we know that no one is going to care about East Carolina when the time comes except those of us who are here.“

One might interpret this to mean that ECU will do whatever it can to become a player in the BCS, including leaving C-USA. This new system announced earlier this week seemingly does nothing to give the league a better position.

Holland will keep plugging and the final chapter of this book is yet to be written. However, the powers that control college football will continue to close ranks and try to make the rich richer.

Ultimately college administrators whose institutions are not included may have to do what they have threatened from the beginning — take the BCS to court.

Deep Throat said it best. “Follow the money.”


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02/23/2007 10:16:28 AM

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