Thursday, January 17, 2008

See No Evil, Hear No Evil Speak No Evil

In the last couple of weeks, the NCAA conducted their annual conference. On the last afternoon, the playoff topic was briefly debated and, not surprisingly, referred to the University Presidents to discuss further without a time line or specific discussion agenda, of course. Simultaneously, the issue was referred to the NCAA committee on "commercialization & student-athlete welfare," which should be read as committee to determine "exactly how many lucrative games can we get these kids to play before the public conscience is triggered?"

Blinded by soft, green shade cast from their accounting visors, it is unlikely the Presidents will conduct any sort of meaningful analysis or seriously contemplate a TRUE playoff system.

Why? The Bowl system is getting financially stronger, not weaker. The NCAA bifurcates their statistics between the BCS and the secondary tier bowls. Both systems are in excellent financial health. Between 2005 and 2006 the payouts for the secondary tier bowls increased from $64.358M to $75.036M, a gain of 16.6%. During the same time frame, the BCS payouts increased from $125M to $142M, a gain of 13.6%.

If interested, see here.

Periodically, candor does seep out. Recall the recent quote from Gordon Gee, Ohio State University President, "They'll have to wrench a play off out of my cold dead hands." Likewise consider the comments of our own AD Jeremy Foley regarding a playoff, " many hurdles and TV contracts in place. Again, I think it's a long way off and hard to do."

So, not only does inertia mitigate against change through natural forces, but vested interests actively resist.

With this, I conclude my analysis of the current system and will turn to an examination of playoffs. Such a discussion, of necessity will require periodic re-visitation of the vested interests as no playoff system is remotely possible that does not result in equal or greater financial payoffs for the entrenched.

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