By Chadd Cripe
Boise State president Bob Kustra on Tuesday sent an e-mail to university and college athletics leaders. Kustra is upset with the error in the computer rankings used by the Bowl Championship Series that was discovered Monday. That error affected Boise State's final ranking, which was changed to No. 10. While it didn't affect who was selected for BCS games this year, it could have under different circumstances.
Here is the text of Kustra's e-mail:
I trust that you have heard about the news from CBS sports analyst Jerry Palm that the BCS rankings erroneously ranked the positions of four teams in the final BCS rankings of the season.
The BCS has corrected for it and Bill Hancock has apologized, but it still leaves open the question of transparency. There are five other computer models used to determine the rankings each week that are hidden from public view, unlike the approach used by Wes Colley who allows the light of day to shine on his work. Thankfully, in this case an astute third party caught the error and brought it to the attention of the BCS. I’m sure that you can imagine numerous “what if” scenarios where this type of mistake could have had significant repercussions.
How many times have we heard calls for transparency on our campuses and how many times have we shared our governance and communicated with our faculties and other constituencies in a transparent fashion? Yet, in intercollegiate athletics, with the NCAA standing silently on the sidelines, we allow the BCS to work its magic with no idea of how accurate its rankings are on a week to week basis.
It's egregious enough to see teams with mediocre seasons climb into the BCS bowl games because they happen to be in privileged conferences, while others with better records are written off as second-class citizens. When we cannot see how these decisions are made, it becomes an affront to the concepts of integrity and fair play that we claim to value.
When C. Wright Mills wrote of the "power elite", I doubt he was speaking of universities and intercollegiate athletics. If he were still around, there could be a great second edition, this time focused on where elitism really runs rampant and takes Division 1 football players from some conferences and restrains their ability to compete. I hope you noticed my choice of the word, "restrain". I trust we will all be hearing more about "restraint" unless presidents step up and do the right thing.
Bob Kustra, President
Boise State University