Oct
29
2009

Leave football alone!

By Katie Kieffer

Football

Image credit: “The Punt Return” by Karen on Flickr via Creative Commons.

It must be nice to be president. I thought it would be a stressful job in this economy with consumer confidence at an all-time low, our country at war, a swine flu pandemic and multiple national security threats. Apparently I was wrong.

With 32 newly-appointed “czars” to help run the country, President Obama appears to have ample time on his hands for more serious issues like whether NCAA football should convert from a Bowl Championship Series (BCS) system to an eight-team college football playoff system.

Is President Obama an expert on football? No. Is football in the constitution under “executive powers”? No. Is Obama feeling political pressure from a certain Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) to look into the playoff system? Yes. Hatch is bent out of shape because, under the current BCS system, his school, the University of Utah, doesn’t have an automatic bid to participate in the top-tier bowl games.

Hmmm. Might there be some, cough, bias involved here? If Obama has so much “weight to throw around,” as he tells 60 Minutes in the video below, why does he seem so intimidated by Fox News? A friendly Nerf football summit invite from Sean Hannity shouldn’t cause our President to withdraw in trepidation.

The NCAA already has many layers of leadership and it doesn’t need politicians trying to jump into its kitchen. It’s one thing for the President to state his opinion on college football, but it’s another thing for him to try to use his authority to control it. What is the point of Jim Delany’s role as Big Ten Conference commissioner if politicians with pet teams get to call the shots?

I think we should let football’s experts – like Lou Holtz and Mark May decide whether we should make a change this big, not politicians who need to better prioritize their time.

Obama told 60 Minutes, “I don’t know any serious fan of college football who has disagreed with me on this.” It might be true that he doesn’t personally know a single serious fan of college football who doesn’t want an eight-team system.  However, I personally know many serious college football fans that support the existing BCS system.

The President tries to make it sound like a switch from the BCS system to a playoff system is a no-brainer. It’s more complicated than that and many serious fans are in favor of the current system, where each and every game matters. The existing college football system yields the most meaningful regular season in all of sports. Each and every week there is a wide variety of meaningful games to watch. The biggest disadvantage to a playoff system is that it would diminish the regular season and college football wouldn’t be as enjoyable to watch.

Watch these two videos. ESPN almost always is politically neutral on their T.V. shows, so the passion and debate shown here is unusual. Decide for yourself whether President Obama and other elected officials should get involved and try to control the college football championships. Haven’t we given politicians enough control over our lives already? I’d like to keep my beer and football untouched, thank you.

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Comments...

  1. aguy says:

    I would think that guy is a pretty effective Conservative president, not a socialist.

    I really, really, really, really hope the GOP opposes Obama on this Patriot Act stuff. The Democrats long opposed Bush — rightly — for big government wiretapping, secret courts, etc. Republicans couldn’t understand why they were questioning our leader.

    A conservative (I forget who) ominously warned back then, “do we want all these powers in the president’s hands? We should think of the ‘Hillary’ rule — if ‘Hillary’ had the power to do these things, would we want her to?”

    I’d emphatically answer “no effing way.” Not having access to the courts (when there’s already courts for terrorists set up with secret, procedural safeguards), being spied on without warrant, etc — these things are truly scary. Much, much more scary than Congress looking into the BCS or setting up Cash for Clunkers or getting a health care system that’s been done successfully elsewhere.

  2. aguy says:

    Hey there Ryan-
    This whole Czar thing is ridiculous. Sometimes, people are appointed by the Senate to do certain tasks. Sometimes, people are hired as advisors. Sometimes, the president needs to appoint people to head agencies. This Czar stuff covers the first two — people with little authority or power.

    Bush had these people. We didn’t call them Czars, because the left didn’t call Bush a socialist — the Czar complaint wouldn’t have stuck. Because there’s a narrative of Obama-the-socialist out there, the Czar thing makes for a good political attack, but that doesn’t mean it’s true.

    The BCS thing is bizarre, but it’s important to note that the government basically tolerates all sorts of weirdness for major league sports. That doesn’t excuse their involvement in other ways, but it’s not like sports are a free market by any means (drug regulation, etc) ……….

    Is Congress or Obama going to mandate the number of pitches a 12 year old can throw in a Little League game?

    I was thinking driving home today: if I somehow went back in time and told 2005-me that we’d soon have the worst recession since the great depression, but a president would help us get out of it by ….

    – not breaking up the banks or regulating them as liberals wanted, but instead giving them money (that would be re-paid in months) helping them to get them back on their feet
    – not focusing on re-structuring car industry as liberals wanted, but saving big car corporations with loans that would soon be re-paid (with a profit accruing to the government)
    – pushing a stimulus that would focus on tax cuts rather than tons of government programs seen during the depression like the WPA, CCC, etc (except for one program, Cash for Clunkers)
    – pushing for health care reform that would not be single payer or would have a robust public option as liberals wanted, but instead would focus on pitting private insurers against one another in a better market, containing costs, and by giving subsidies to those who cannot afford insurance to buy it on the private market rather than driving up costs for everyone else. And he’d do this by making deals with big business like hospitals groups and Big Pharma. He’d say we needed to do this not because people die without health care, but because the future deficits would increase and we need to control costs.

    On top of that, this unnamed president would…
    – keep and expand war powers and the Patriot Act
    – ignore gay rights / “don’t ask, don’t tell”
    – leave climate change to the Senate
    – have a conservative education guy, with whom he’ll reportedly roll out a education plan based on conservative principles (charter schools, vouchers, etc) in 2010…

    I would think that guy is a pretty effective Conservative president, not a socialist.

  3. Ryan says:

    aguy, are you taking issue with her use of the term ‘czar’? Maybe I’m misunderstanding you, but are you saying that Obama doesnt call them czars and therefore we shouldnt? I have no idea what he calls them, but since thats how the media refers to them, we’re kind of stuck. We cant really make up our own name for them and expect to be understood.

    Anyway, now for a comment about the real topic of this article. The government has ZERO business getting involved in the BCS, or MLB steroids. (Congress held ‘hearings’ on steroid use in baseball this past summer if I’m not mistaken. What a misuse of thier time and taxpayer money, they should all be kicked out for gross negligence) What’s next? Is Congress or Obama going to mandate the number of pitches a 12 year old can throw in a Little League game? They have no business being involved in this stuff!

  4. aguy says:

    The czars thing gets old, because it’s merely made up by the media. Wanna get rid of secretaries with actual power? That’s a valid point. Wanna get rid of random advisers by spooking people with a made-up czar title? That’s just disingenuous. Besides, is calling them czars supposed to be a Soviet Russia knock? Because that whole dictatorship means that there’s only one “czar!” It just all makes no sense.

  5. gill0137 says:

    As a serious sports fan, I still have time constraints – and the post season organization of sports has a big say on where I spend my time. I watch almost every NFL and many college football games – namely because every game matters. I also love basketball, but I rarely watch a game till late February, because – who cares if NC State will get the 11th seed or go to the NIT? (Luckily for us Gophers, we are almost always part of that NCAA Tourney Cannon Fodder or NIT champion discussion).

    All I need is to watch highlights, see the conference tourney’s, and I’m ready to fill out my bracket. The rest of the college basketball season? Pointless.

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