FULL STATEMENT FROM BOISE STATE UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT ROBERT KUSTRA REGARDING BCS REVENUE DISCRIMINATION
University presidents and others who care deeply about what higher education stands for should take a hard look at the chart.
(Click here to link to the chart, which outlines TV ratings, attendance, rankings and revenue for the Mountain West, WAC and six BCS conferences to show that revenue does not correlate to on-field performance.)
The lesson embedded in this chart teaches that it is fine to employ a system, such as the BCS, where the revenue is rigged in favor of some, at the expense of others, regardless of who performs better. That is the last lesson we should be teaching our students.
This chart tells only a slice of the full story of the BCS’s discrimination. The revenue discrimination is even greater when deserving teams are excluded from major bowls. The BCS system is designed to make it virtually impossible for teams from outside of the six Automatic Qualifying Conferences or Notre Dame to ever win the national championship. Further, the Automatic Qualifying Conferences are guaranteed 60% of the spots in the major bowls, and barring a highly aberrational situation (such as occurred last year for the first time), those conferences, along with Notre Dame, for all practical purposes will be given at least 90% of the major bowl spots each year.
In college basketball, where such revenue and access discrimination does not exist, a playoff decides the national champion. But at the highest level of college football, the BCS cartel, which benefits from such discrimination, prevents a playoff from occurring.
As the athletic director of the University of Minnesota was recently reported to have stated: “The BCS doesn’t want to share the money and that’s why there’s no football playoff. Let’s be honest." I greatly appreciate his candor.
Unfortunately, the BCS speaks with much less candor. For example, a BCS spokesperson stated that “the best reason for supporting the BCS can be summed up in three words: every game counts.” But how do Boise State’s games count under the BCS when four of the past six years we went undefeated in the regular season, and yet never even came close to having an opportunity to compete for the national championship? How did all of those games, and all of those perfect records, count under the BCS? In fact, in two of those four undefeated regular seasons, Boise State was foreclosed from even playing in a major bowl.
But the problem isn’t with the BCS’s spokesperson’s statement – it’s with the system. It is time to revamp the system so that his statement that “every game counts” rings true. This is not a point unique to Boise State. Auburn in 2004, Utah in 2004, Boise State in 2006, Utah in 2008, and Boise State in 2009 all went undefeated but were denied a chance at a national championship by an injurious and fundamentally flawed system.
Many experts believe the BCS system violates U.S. law or at least raises very serious questions as to its legality. Some members of Congress have the same view and the Department of Justice has announced it is looking into the matter as well. Wouldn’t you think that such scrutiny from the highest councils of government would cause the BCS to modify the system to make it fair and equitable, instead of employing politically-connected and expensive consultants to cook up a menu of half-baked defenses?
The inspiring story of Butler’s basketball team tells the story of intercollegiate athletics at its best and what a contrast that is to the BCS. I have tremendous respect for what Butler accomplished, coming within an inch of winning the national championship. Boise State, on the other hand, has not been able to come within light years of doing the same in college football. But it is not because Boise State’s football team is not every bit as talented as Butler’s basketball team – rather it is because our university is never given the opportunity. Year after long year, Boise State football players are eliminated from the national championship not by any losses on the field, but by the BCS system. One of our attorneys, Alan Fishel, called the BCS system one in which even “perfection isn’t good enough.” Unfortunately, he is right, and if the BCS has anything to say about it, he may be right for a very long time. A BCS spokesperson said the current system may remain in place through 2040. In my view, this current system shouldn’t remain in place 30 more days, let alone 30 more years.
We are hoping we can make a difference and help guide college football to a system of access and fairness for all schools.
• A BCS double-standard?
I linked to this in yesterday's blog when SI.com’s Andy Staples' hit this same issue. Staples questioned why the Big East and ACC get automatic BCS bids when the Mountain West and WAC have drawn higher ratings, brought more fans and had higher ranked teams.
• More expansion talk
The Las Vegas Sun questioned UNLV president Neal Smatresk on expansion.
"This is a discussion of interest to the presidents of the Mountain West Conference, and what's going on in the league is something we're all watching," UNLV president Neal Smatresk said Monday. "We're considering our options, and I'm sure there'll be some discussion on how we'll maintain a strong Mountain West Conference at the upcoming meeting in June."
The Mountain West presidents meet June 6-8 in Jackson, Wyo.
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