BCS to Sens. Baucus and Hatch: Stay Out of College Football

By Beacon Staff

INDIANAPOLIS – BCS executive director Bill Hancock wants higher education officials to make the decisions about college football without interference from the U.S. government.

In a letter posted Friday on the NCAA website, Hancock responded to questions posed by Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) in March. They were seeking information about the Bowl Championship Series, its structure and governance and how television revenue is distributed among schools — particularly those schools not playing in BCS conferences.

In a five-page letter and six pages of attachments, Hancock noted that BCS participation is voluntary — apparently in response to the senators’ statement that the BCS “apparently considers itself an ‘arrangement'” in which there is a “lack of transparency.”

“While I appreciate your interest, I believe that decisions about college football should be made by university presidents, athletics directors, coaches and conference commissioners rather than by members of Congress,” Hancock wrote.

He cited the example of Utah, a Mountain West school that played in the Sugar Bowl following the 2008 season. Without the BCS, Hancock wrote, the Utes likely would have been sent to the less glamorous — and lucrative — Las Vegas Bowl. He said the Las Vegas Bowl payout was approximately $900,000 while the conference got $9 million for participating in the Sugar Bowl.

And contrary to conventional wisdom, Hancock wrote, non-BCS conferences received a record $24 million from last year’s BCS games.

“If the University of Utah qualifies for a BCS game in the 2010-11 season, it will earn for its conference approximately $24.7 million, which, under the agreement among the Mountain West and the other four (non-BCS) conferences, would then be divided among the five conferences,” Hancock wrote. “The Mountain West certainly could keep all $24.7 million within the conference, or Utah could keep it all.”

He explained that the decision about how to split the money was determined by the five non-BCS conferences that play in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.

Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.