CONGRESS simply cannot let this issue go. No, we're not talking about addressing health care reform, rising unemployment or even handling foreign threats like North Korea, Afghanistan and Iran. We're talking a topic far more riveting — the Bowl Championship Series. Yes, college football is back on Capitol Hill for reasons that basically escape us.
Sadly, this is not a joke.
Lawmakers are definitely not representing your vital interests as they seek to change a college football playoff system. The issue has gone from the House of Representatives to the Senate this week. This journey is wasting taxpayers money when time can be better spent working on real issues that affect Americans. Lawmakers need to understand a football playoff system does not fall under that category.
To refresh your memory, the NCAA decides its Division I national football champion through a complex system known as the BCS that combines various factors such as computer analysis and human polls to decide which schools will play in the national championship game. It's a system unlike the majority of professional and collegiate sports, which determine titles through playoffs. Lower divisions of college football also uses a playoff system to determine a national champion.
Last season, before the postseason bowl games, two schools finished undefeated and seven had one loss. But only two can play in the BCS title game. The two last season were Florida and Oklahoma, which obviously upset some lawmakers in Washington, D.C. When Congress first took up the issue in April, someone should have punted the person who suggested this.
Instead, the House Energy and Commerce Committee looked into whether there could be a law against such a playoff system. The NCAA would be prohibited from calling a game a "national championship" unless it results from a playoff system. We're not kidding.
The top Republican on that committee is Rep. Joe Barton from Texas. The University of Texas and Texas Tech were two of those one-loss teams left out of the title game. What a coincidence.
Now the issue has returned to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is examining this week if the BCS system violates antitrust laws and consumer rights. The man who sought this investigation? Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah. Guess what? The University of Utah was one of the two undefeated teams left out of the national championship game. Amazing how these coincidences keep popping up in Congress.
It's time this nonsense stops. Even if Hatch can take this issue before the Senate, and he's really reaching, we wonder if it might get sacked by a legal challenge. Hatch and his fellow frustrated football fans are wasting valuable time.
Again, we do not condone the BCS system, but it's not Congress' place to decide a national champion in college football; it's the responsibility of the schools and the NCAA. They can play Texas Hold 'Em or Jacks to decide a champion if they want.
Lawmakers must stop acting like overzealous football fans and present some real legislation that deals with real problems. A national champion makes no difference to the millions of Americans in need of help.