Looks like the Energy and Commerce committee passed an initial legislation to ban the promotion of a National Championship game unless that game was a result of a playoff.
First step towards a playoff
OK, so they'll just promote it as the BCS Championship and be done with it.
This means nothing.
Save for the fact that you won't be able to use the NCAA logo on ANYTHING relative to that game - the NCAA won't go for that because of all the money they'd lose. Basically, it can't be sanctioned by the NCAA and be called a "Championship Game" without it resulting from a playoff so calling it the "BCS Championship Game" would still be in violation of the legislation. I suppose you could call it the "BCS Top 2 Ranked Teams Game" but that doesn't exactly hold the appeal of a Championship game.
It's HR 390, you can look it up at www.house.gov:
Isn't the current game technically "the final game of a single elimination post-season playoff system for which all NCAA Division I FBS conferences and unaffiliated Division I FBS teams are eligible."
SEC. 3. PROHIBITED ACT.
(a) Promotion of Game- It shall be unlawful for any person to promote, market, or advertise a post-season National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) football game as a championship or national championship game, unless the game is the final game of a single elimination post-season playoff system for which all NCAA Division I FBS conferences and unaffiliated Division I FBS teams are eligible.
(b) Merchandising- It shall be unlawful for any person to sell, market, or advertise any merchandise related to a post-season NCAA Division I FBS football game that refers to the game as a championship or national championship game, unless the game is the final game of a single elimination post-season playoff system for which all NCAA Division I FBS conferences and unaffiliated Division I FBS teams are eligible.
I think the key words are "playoff system." We don't currently have a playoff system at all - there's literally nothing about Div 1A football that fits to modern definition of "playoff system."
Of course if they went to a 4 team "playoff" they'd be done with all of this because it would fit all the criteria.
If they are going to make a playoff I don't think you can have anything less than 8 teams - IMO anyway.
Isn't the current game technically "the final game of a single elimination post-season playoff system for which all NCAA Division I FBS conferences and unaffiliated Division I FBS teams are eligible."
No, because in many years, teams play in the game despite having a loss. (See, e.g., Florida last year.) Therefore it's not a "single-elimination" playoff.
I think what he's saying is that the system is exactly the same as the 64 team basketball playoff except you start with just 2 teams in the football playoff. He's not making the "regular season is a playoff" argument.
I am really tired of the old "congress has better things to do" argument that surfaces whenever they get involved in sports. For the rep who said it, the response I would have is to outlaw filibustering, which takes up a lot more time than getting involved in what I see as a legitimate anti-trust case if they were to pursue it that way.
"the response I would have is to outlaw filibustering, which takes up a lot more time than getting involved in what I see as a legitimate anti-trust case if they were to pursue it that way."
Not really, since (1) there is no filibuster in the House of Representatives and (2) they don't actually filibuster in the Senate anymore. They just threaten to withhold cloture, the vote for which doesn't take any more time at all since that vote is required to move to vote anyway. The last "true filibuster" in the Senate was in 1986. Interesting article on point: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1109/29826.html
The filibuster is a delaying tactic, whether or not you actually see Senators standing up and talking is immaterial. The threat of a filibuster slows the process down, as leaders work behind the scenes in order to shore up the votes they need. And that is just on legislation that the majority is interested in pursuing. See for example, the current debate on health care reform.
In other instances where the majority just sets the issue aside and moves on, it is still a delaying tactic. In this case it can cost years, as the majority waits for opinion or the individuals in the Senate to change. See for example, the long history of civil rights legislation.
My point, the possibility of a filibuster affects legislation both in terms of the time it takes to pass a piece of legislation and the types of legislation we ultimately see or don't see passed.
Yes, but while a bill is being filibustered, the Senate can work on anything else it likes. And the filibuster can be used to improve the bill. Whereas any time spent actually dicussing college football is time they're not using to discuss anything else at all.
"Whereas any time spent actually dicussing college football is time they're not using to discuss anything else at all."
Given the kind of crap they are talking about right now I'd rather them talk about CFB...
I wouldn't - not if they're going to try and force a playoff.
What about this is a legitimate antitrust case?
Are there any teams in FBS football that are barred from participation in the title game?
I don't think I read anything in the bill about anti-trust just that because of the huge financial ramifications of the BCS it is within the Constitutional right of the House to regulate it as it is viewed to be an issue of inter-state commerce.
I'm tired of that old line too, especially since it implies that in better economic times it would actually be a good thing for the scumsucking eggheads in Washington to fuck up yet another institution because they think they are smarter than everyone else.
In football terms, that's like beating Northwest Central Indiana State in your home opener. Necessary, to be sure... but it doesn't actually mean jack.
Besides, you could make a legal argument that the current BCS championship game is the final game of a two-team single elimination tournament, for which every D-I school is eligible. I don't see a legal distinction between that or a 4- or 8-team "playoff."
You have to have more than 2 teams (1 game) to call it a playoff
"A series of games played to determine a championship."
A single game can be called a playoff game but that game must be part of a larger series of games in which other teams play - I don't think there's anyway should this pass (insert doubt here) that the NCAA could convince a judge that 2 teams playing at the end of the season constitutes a "playoff."
Colloquially, we all think of a "playoff" as a multiple-game affair. Legally speaking, the term "playoff" is ambiguous, and could take any number of meanings. One possible meaning is "a contest or series of contests played to break a tie," which is clearly met by the current system.
I've worked in politics (and I've got some legal training), and this bill isn't designed to pass. It doesn't have a definition section that could easily clarify this ambiguity. As written, if it prohibits a BCS championship, it could technically forbid the selling of "Alabama: 2009 SEC Champions" t-shirts (because the championship was the result of a post-season FBS contest which was not the result of a "playoff"). It's sloppy, non-technical, and vague.
It's theater. Good theater, mind you... but theater. It's probably also a shot across the bow at the NCAA to get their act together, before Congress does*.
*Don't hold your breath. On either count.
Aside from the big ticket things (health care, spending bill, war authorization) anything that we hear about on anything other than CSPAN probably is theatre. Woo! Go Feds...
I didn't read any of that resolution, but I would definitely vote for it.
Don't we already have a 2-team, single-elimination playoff in which all teams are eligible to play in?
if you're not tcu, boise st, or cincy.
Bullshit. TCU, Boise, and Cincy have the exact same requirements for getting into the title game as everyone else.
How exactly did Cincinnati not meet the "requirements" of the MNC game? They are from a big six conference. They are undefeated. They have two legitimate quarterbacks and a game-breaking wide receiver/kick returner. They have beaten the 16th, 17th, and 18th best teams in the country, and two of those games were on the road.
You have the right to think that the BCS is the right system, but saying that those teams (all undefeated) didn't meet certain criteria is the wrong way to go about proving your point.
I don't think any one thinks the BCS is the right system unless you are associated with USC, the SEC, the Big 12, or the BCS. The point is that congress set down requirements that aren't going to change a damn thing.
The requirements to get into the game aren't what you listed. They are to be rated #1 or #2 in the final BCS Poll. Cincinnati didn't meet those requirements.
Because the requirement is to be ranked #1 or #2 in the country, which they weren't. "Having two legitimate quarterbacks" isn't a criterion.
was my point exactly. The current system technically meets the definition provided in the bill. It doesn't specify how many teams have to be in the playoffs, only how many teams have to be ELIBIGLE. Hell, if Middle Tennessee went undefeated during a down year, they could (theoretically) make it to the title game.
Hooray I'm so glad that our federal government is taking on college football's problems. I'm sure that politicians like Nancy Pelosi and Orrin Hatch are well schooled on all of the nuances of college football and that whever system our government forces down everyone's throat will be better than what we have now.
The bill specifically says "a playoff system" - it's not forcing jack squat other than saying you need a playoff. How many teams and how you pick them is entirely up to you but you need a playoff system. That's like saying McDonalds is forcing you to buy a tall coffee when there are probably 100 other potential choices for a beverage.
What if I'm satisfied with the drink that I'm currently drinking and I don't want to switch? What if there are only three or four alternatives and I think they might burn my throat or give me diarrhea? And what if the people who are telling me I have to switch drinks are elitist twats who wouldn't know a Diet Coke from a bowl of urine?
Maybe a playoff would make college football better. Maybe it wouldn't. The last people on earth who I trust to make this decision are people like Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, and Orrin Hatch.
Most people aren't happy with the drink they are drinking and, democracy be damned, they shouldn't have to drink the same drink you do just because it's the oldest drink on the menu.
As I pointed out - they aren't saying squat other than "make a playoff." They aren't saying how to implement it, if there are "auto-bids", where the games will be played, anything other than, simply, "make a playoff." The people that would be making the decision on HOW to implement the playoff would be the NCAA that as shown through a multitude of other sports that they have the capability to do things intelligently.
This measure's likely to go nowhere. Waxman (D-Calif.), the committee's chairman, may allow a full committee vote on this, but it's highly unlikely that Speaker Pelosi (D-Calif.) or Majority Leader Hoyer (D-Md.) would schedule a vote. Essentially, this bill by Barton is highly symbolic only.
HOWEVA: It's important to note that this isn't the only political force at play here. The Playoff PAC founded by Sen. Hatch (R-Utah) has hired some serious guns in the PR world, who are shopping around anti-BCS stories to political journalists. (Full disclosure: I have a good source who's solicited me with said stories. I haven't written anything -- yet.) On the other side of things, the BCS picked up former WH Press Secretary Ari Fleischer to handle their PR.
The takeaway is that people in DC are stirring up noise mainly to gin up public pressure against the BCS, and Barton's measure is just one facet of that effort.
How does this not violate the first amendment? I am all for a limited playoff system but I really bristle to it happening this way.
Could you tell me why you think the BCS is covered by the First Amendment and what the BCS has to do with freedom of speech?
Um, because it's in America?
I don't think it's really an issue because the federal government has the power to regulate a lot of marketing. You can't whip up some pill and claim it cures cancer and call it a freedom of speech issue when the feds shut you down.
Still, I don't know why you'd think the BCS would somehow be excluded from First Amendment protections. It's not like they're making harmful claims.
I'm not saying they don't apply I'm asking what in the First Amendment has anything to do with Congress forcing it to have a playoff.
As far as I can tell it has nothing to do with Freedom of Speech, Assembly, Religion, Press, or Association (Supreme Court ruled freedom of association was protected by the 1st Amendment in 1958).
That's my argument - what Right would be infringed upon by forcing the NCAA, which receives 100's of millions of federal tax dollars, to have some sort of playoff?
The NCAA doesn't receive a dime of federal money. They're tax-exempt as a nonprofit, which is different. If you want to start the precedent that tax-exempt allows any amount of Congressional meddling, that's a major Pandora's box.
The BCS is an American institution and can say what it likes. If it wants to call the winner of a particular game a champion, it can. If it wants to call the winner of a particular game the Grand High Poobah Of Wienerschnitzels And Book-Larnin', it can. That's called speech.
The NCAA might not but its members do and the feds know it. The schools which gain and lose the most from the BCS all receive the benefit of federal money (private schools still have students who get federal grants which, therefore, goes straight to the school). We, the people, have a vested interest in this as this is noted in the verbiage of the bill. (the billions of dollars generated by the BCS is, in fact, interstate commerce)
Speech is one thing - commercials speech and marketing is another - as is explained below by Blue in South Bend.
If the House wants to pass a bill that says it will pull funding if there isn't a playoff then that's a different argument.
Fingers crossed for that one - the powers that be don't give a crap if 99% of the public wants a playoff so long as they can continue to milk our loyalty to fill the seats and to tune in. Which, yeah, I still will - watching Michigan play is more important to me than making a, likely fruitless, stand against the BCS by not watching/going.
Did you receive federal student loans? Are you a member of any organization? Perhaps PETA or the NRA? If so, I'd like to get Congress to force your organization to wear silly clown hats, because you are receiving my federal tax dollars and therefore I have a vested interest.
As for marketing, that is also BS. You are not paying anyone for a champion. You are paying to watch a football game played between the BCS #1 and BCS #2 teams. Nothing more, nothing less. There is nothing false about what they're advertising. They're not telling you that you can come to watch Alabama vs. Texas and putting two different teams on the field, or watching Alabama and Texas play volleyball.
Or, you are paying for a t-shirt or other such merchandise. The fact that the word "champion" is written on that t-shirt doesn't constitute false advertising. You can see very plainly what's written there. You get exactly what you pay for.
The Bill as to why Congress has the authority to regulate it
Congress finds that—
1 (1) college football games, including post-season
2 football games, depend upon competition between
3 college and university teams traveling in interstate
5 (2) the competitions involve and affect inter
6 state commerce and are therefore within Congress’s
7 constitutional authority to regulate;
8 (3) the total economic impact in the host cities
9 from the 5 Bowl Championship Series (BCS) games
10 in January 2008 was estimated at more than $1.2
12 (4) collegiate athletic conferences whose teams
13 participate in each BCS bowl game share $17.5 mil-
14 lion in revenue;
15 (5) the BCS system recognizes the important
16 economic impact to a city hosting the BCS cham-
17 pionship game and therefore rotates it among cities;
19 (6) the colleges and universities whose teams
20 participate in the post-season football bowls experi-
21 ence significant financial windfall including in-
22 creased applications for enrollment, recruiting ad-
23 vantages, increased alumni donations, and increased
24 corporate sponsorship that provides a competitive
25 advantage over universities whose teams are ineli-
1 gible or statistically at a disadvantage from the BCS
2 bowl competitions because of their conference affili-
Makes me wonder if even you bothered to read it. Despite your insistence that federal money flowing to the schools gives Congress the right to intervene, nowhere in Congress' own justification does it say so. Thanks for putting an end to that argument for me - I expect I won't have to hear it again.
You'll notice I haven't once disputed the interstate commerce aspect of it. Simply pointed out clear as day that what the BCS is doing isn't false advertising.
I pointed out all the money that goes to the member schools via taxes because that, by extent, means it's of public interest. Ya know, By the People, For the People and all of that.
"public interest": Also not in the bill's verbiage, and the Gettysburg Address has nothing to do with this.
Congress acts on things when people care - hence public interest - if they are capable of acting. If no one cared and it had no public interest it wouldn't even be brought up. Is that clear enough or do I need to state it yet another way?
Also, I referenced Lincoln simply as a description of Democracy - ya know, that form of gov't that we have.
I think they are treating it along the lines of false advertisement.
deceptive or unfair advertizing, if that advertising affects interstate commerce.
The First Amendment does provide SOME protection in this area, but now a lot. It does not protect advertising or other commercial speech on the same level as individual speech. If you're curious, the test is:
"[First] . . . [the commercial speech] at least must concern lawful activity and not be misleading. Next, we ask whether the asserted governmental interest is substantial. If both inquiries yield positive answers, we must determine whether the regulation directly advances the governmental interest asserted, and whether it is not more extensive than is necessary to serve that interest."
~Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp. v. Public Service Com., 447 U.S. 557, 563
Lawful - yes
Misleading - I guess you can make an argument, but it's a weak one
Government interest substantial - Don't see how it has any
Seems like the NCAA would a least have a case. I mean would the UFC or any or a boxing institution be prohibited from using the word championship if there wasn't a tournament? I know it's different but there's not much of a jump.
Along the same lines, I am looking forward to Congress finally cracking down on the "World Series."
This is all silliness anyway. If this passes, that #1 vs #2 game will be re-named the "BCS Bowl" or the "Final Contest" or the "Super Game" or something along those lines. What this has absolutely no effect on at all is whether or not there will be preliminary games before the final.
The clueless boys and girls in Washington are sure to fix college football just like they've fixed the economy, and General Motors, and steroid usage in baseball!
...like how about a bill to ban the use of college hostesses to lure recruits?
(insert "Congressional probe" joke here...)
That's the major recruiting tool of every team south of the Mason Dixon line!! That's totally sexist to suggest females can't be recruiters as well (/sarcasm/)
Should be to eliminate preseason rankings. Then what should happen is this: (Shamelessly stolen from someone at SI.com)
Utah & BSU join the Pac10 to make a conference champ there.
Missouri bolts for Big10 country to make a conference champ game there.
TCU slides into Missouri's spot in the Big12.
ND (I don't see that happening) joins the BigEast, and if they don't there are plenty of fits for that conference. Central Florida and Memphis and Marshall?
That leaves everyone with a conference championship game, then go from there. I just find it amusing how the continued argument of students missing classes because of an expanded football playoff is in effect, when Alabama announced all those days off for the NC game. Not to mention that teams went from 11 to 12 game schedules and now some are even playing 13, without a conference championship.