Sports economist Andrew Zimbalist likens it to Major League Baseball allowing the Yankees, Red Sox, and Phillies to decide who makes the playoffs — and guarantee themselves the biggest paydays. So he and 21 other economists filed a complaint last spring urging the Justice Department to investigate the BCS for anti-trust violations.

Despite having access to the country's best mathematicians, many argue, the BCS can't even get its computer rankings right. Famed sports statistician Bill James has said they're based on "nonsense math." Hal Stern, a professor at the University of California-Irvine, has even called for a BCS boycott in the Journal of Quantitative Analysis.

Then there are the university presidents. Faced with continuous funding cuts, at some point they're bound to go looking for new revenue.

Since March Madness generates more than $600 million a year, schools might belatedly realize that a playoff for football, the more popular sport, is sure to bring a torrent of cash. Fortunately, even those short on courage tend to find it when free money's in sight.

Hancock seems to know the end is near, though he won't say it outright. The BCS contract expires in 2014, and Hancock acknowledges that dozens of new proposals are floating around college football.

History says the insiders will try to change as little as possible. They've offered minor concessions every few years since the dawning of the BCS, just enough to keep attorneys general and nosy congressmen at bay. But the bowls' duplicity is so obvious they can't hold on much longer.

"I want what's best for the students," Hancock says.

If he's being honest with himself, he can't help but push reform. After all, he has to know that at the bottom of this insiders' pyramid are those who can afford it least — the kids paying tuition.

"What's really egregious is they shift that burden to their students," says Morgan.

And that's the unholiest part of it all.

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10 comments
dsgasgahasdh
dsgasgahasdh

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Josh
Josh

Unironically agreed

Gwmwllc
Gwmwllc

These monies should be helping poor undocumented Mexican migrants get a free university education.

Mbmun2002
Mbmun2002

These monies should be helping rising school tuitions.

Steven
Steven

Mr. Kotz, the writer of this article, calls this type of robbery to Universities "Capitalism" he is wrong. This is Socialism at it's finest. You take the college football teams and offer them a bone like a bowl game and force them to adhere or be left out. Administrators make the decisions as to where the money is spent. Or better known as the governing body of the school. It's not coming out of their pocket so what the heck. They get a free trip for a week on the school's dime. Sounds very much like our current Presidential Administration, can we spell "too many vacations" President Obama? Pure Capitalism would be a "Free Enterprise System" We don't like what you are doing so we are going to hold our own bowl game in a neutral site closer to our two schools. Wrong, NCAA says you can't do that, because they are socialist leaders and they have their own selfish agenda to acomplish and if they let these schools go rogue, so to speak then the paper tiger of the NCCA will come crashing doww on themselves and the fans and schools will see them for what they are. The Schools athletic parallel to the Federal Reserve.

Justice4all
Justice4all

oh this was no surprise to me ...from the day this bowl plan came out ..me and 5 buds were drinking at watering hole on 20st and camelback saying the monies this would bring to the right few people ( to bad none of them was us) Since the bowl decides everything from how much they give back to the school and how much they keep

BingoFuel
BingoFuel

This article does a good job of explaining the excesses of the bowls but a lot of its conclusions are really stupid.

It misses the point that part of the idea of the bowls is having alumni (many of whom donate money) get to see their university's team play in some fun or different part of the country. Why the heck would anyone want to watch Minnesota and Iowa State play in freezing Minnesota in December or January? Holding a game there between two 6-6 teams wouldn't even happen. So it is absurd to present that possibility as a money saving option.

Also, anyone who thinks that playoffs will eliminate the bowls is smoking a bowl full of something. Playoffs might eliminate the BCS but it wouldn't eliminate the bowls. In all likelihood, the playoffs would just end up taking place at the existing bowl sites. And even if the playoffs took place somewhere other than the bowls, the bowls would still invite teams that didn't make it into the playoffs. Teams like a 6-6 Minnesota wouldn't even make it into the playoffs unless you had an absurd number of rounds (which won't happen). So why would they turn down going to a bowl if they weren't in the playoffs?

NotSusan
NotSusan

Thanks for the great reporting! 2014 BCS deal expiration can't come soon enough!

Matt Schley
Matt Schley

What? You didn't read anything you wrote, did you? How can you call this "socialism"? Socialism implies that the poor get benefits from the rich. In this system, however, the rich are getting even more money from everyone (taxpayers, students, athletic departments).

It's "capitalist" (not really, but much closer than "socialist") because the rich (people who run the bowls) are taking taking advantage of the people (schools) being forced to use their services because there is no alternative postseason (i.e. a monopoly).

(this is no longer aimed toward the previous poster)

I realize this is a type of government, not a market, but I would compare it more to an oligarchy. The powerful few (bowl execs, conference commissioners, and NCAA) take money from everyone, and those people are essentially forced to pay for these bowls. Of course, school administrators could decide not to pay to go to these games. If that happened, though, boosters would get upset. Then the proverbial crap hits the fan. Either the boosters quit giving money, the administrators get fired because of pressure from the boosters, or both.

The school administrators are forced into wasting a load of taxpayer money because the NCAA, the bowl system execs, and boosters are all idiots. The fact that this system has not been scrapped yet shows that NCAA football is all about making money (for the people in charge). They don't care about the majority, and they don't care about the integrity of the game. There is a reason why every successful professional sports league that I've ever heard of had some type of playoff. It's the best way we know of to find a "true" champion.

 

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