MORGANTOWN — Ah, what a week this has been.
The banking crisis is over, the economy back operating at full throttle.
The national debt has been erased and the budget back in balance.
Chrysler, Ford and General Motors are turning a profit.
The swine flu has been eradicated.
Everyone in America is getting a $5,000 tax refund and every Sunday has been proclaimed Easter.
As Louis Armstrong once said, “What a wonderful world.”
What’s that? You say that hasn’t happened?
Can’t be. I mean, if all those problems still exist, how is it that Congress could take time this week to look into that great blight upon American life — the BCS football championship — and threaten the collegiate powers that be with legislation unless they change it to a playoff system?
Despite all the problems Congress has to worry about, Congressman Joe Barton introduced a bill aimed at preventing the NCAA from holding a championship game unless it came out of a playoff.
Joe Barton, by the way, is from Texas.
The Longhorns must be loaded next year.
Now what business Congress has trying to regulate the way college football is run borders upon the absurd.
It is football, folks.
A game, a diversion.
And it ain’t broke.
Should there be a playoff? Of course. Anyone who has seen the thrills that are generated each March knows there should be a playoff.
But the public will make that call, not a group of politicians in pinstriped suits or who reside in Utah, where, it seems, Utah and BYU football spend half their time practicing and the other time complaining about being spurned by the BCS.
Personally, it is my belief that Rep. Barton is right. The BCS ought to drop the “C” because it isn’t really a championship. “Call it the BS system,” he said.
With almost 30 bowls now, the bowl system has become a bad joke where bad teams get to play bad games in bad matchups before bad crowds.
But so what!
College football is a proven commodity without a playoff system. If the public doesn’t like it, it will let the colleges know.
If the colleges don’t like it, the colleges will change it.
They do every other year, anyway.
If Congress really wants to involve itself in college athletics, there are a number of areas where it can actually serve a purpose.
Why not look into what has happened to college coaches’ salaries.
Think your college coach should earn $4 million a year? Or $3 million or $2 million?
We can’t find enough nurses but we have college coaches coming out of the woodwork.
While the coaches get rich, the players get nothing. You don’t read of a college coach getting arrested for stealing one of his players’ stereos, now do you, or pilfering a pair of shoes from the local K-Mart because they can’t afford to buy a pair.
Not in the stores the coaches shop. They have security.
Should players share in the profits with something more than a sweatsuit and a pair of sneakers? Let Congress take a peek there.
Oh, and then there’s Title IX.
Think that hasn’t had become a drag on the world of college sports? It worked in getting equal opportunity for women, all right, but only partially by lifting women’s sports up.
Instead, it has torn men’s sports down.
The University of Cincinnati just dropped its men’s track team. Men’s track teams have been falling by the wayside for years, including here at WVU. Wrestling teams are going the way of the dinosaur. Men’s tennis, too.
All of them once offered a diversity of sports to the student body but now are gone while women’s track, gymnastics, tennis, softball and rowing continue to thrive while creating almost no interest and failing to support themselves.
If Congress wants to get involved in athletics, how about finding a way to spread the wealth so that the players who give of their time and sweat and muscle get some financial benefit, even if it means shaving coaches salaries or by dropping some women’s — and men’s — sports that are a drain on the financial status of the athletic department.
It's time to stop playing the worst of all collegiate sports — political football.
E-mail Bob Hertzel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
MORGANTOWN — Ah, what a week this has been.
- Bob Herzel
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