Sports Outside the Beltway

Congress Demands College Playoff

Three Members of Congress are claiming that the NCAA Bowl Championship Series is illegal and demanding a playoff.

Forget government corruption or corporate fraud. Three members of Congress want the Justice Department to investigate whether college football’s Bowl Championship Series is an illegal enterprise.

Reps. Neil Abercrombie, D-Hawaii, Lynn Westmoreland, R-Ga., and Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, are introducing a resolution rejecting the oft-criticized bowl system as an illegal restriction on trade because only the largest universities compete in most of the major bowl games. The resolution would require Justice’s antitrust division to investigate whether the system violates federal law.

The measure also would put Congress on record as supporting a college football playoff.

“Who elected these NCAA people? Who are they to decide who competes for the championship?” Abercrombie said at a press conference Thursday on Capitol Hill, gripping a souvenir University of Hawaii football.

Now, granted, these are just three comparatively minor Members and this will likely go nowhere. Still, this is asinine. As Sean Hackbarth points out, Congress has more important matters on its plate.

Moreover, the answer to “Who elected these NCAA people?” is the presidents of its constituent universities. Who better to decide how college sports should be governed than the leaders of the colleges? Surely, not a group of people with demonstrably no business sense.

Personally, I’d prefer a playoff to the current system. But that’s a matter for the colleges to decide, with some pressure from the market. It’s certainly not within the legitimate purview of the legislature.

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