BCS power brokers responding to Barack Obama's comments about a college football playoff largely criticized the president-elect on Monday.
Obama said on CBS' 60 Minutes on Sunday night that he would "throw his weight around" in pursuing an eight-team playoff. Among the six power conferences, the commissioners of the ACC, Big 12 and SEC responded when contacted by CBSSports.com. The Pac-10's Tom Hansen and Big East's Mike Tranghese declined comment.
"I am extremely delighted that he is our president and excited that he is going to lead our nation," Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe said. "I am disappointed that there isn't more full discussion before he comes to a conclusion on this. I would hope only that the leader of our country would take under full consideration all the aspects.
"The simple solution is easy to state. We're not in charge of a professional league where we have the entertainment value to consider. That should be fully considered. This isn't something you should make a rash decision about."
Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany told the New York Times over the weekend: "I think it’s that time of year. Whether it’s the president-elect or college football coaches or fans debating it, the First Amendment is alive and well."
"Certainly it’s an important issue for college football and colleges. Where does it stand in the list of challenges we have in America today? I would say it’s not very high.”
Obama's comments have added weight not only because he is about to become leader of the free world. His vice president has been a strident BCS critic. Around the time the Senate Judiciary Committee convened hearings on the BCS in 2003 Joe Biden called the BCS system "rigged" and "un-American".
It was the threat of hearings in 2005 that prompted the commissioners to add an additional BCS bowl and loosen the qualification standards for non-BCS teams.
"I'm concerned about it," Beebe said of Obama. "Obviously he is in a powerful position. If it makes people think along those lines without fully considering all the ramifications, that's the main thing. A one-game single elimination type playoff works well for the NFL, it works well for our basketball championship but it doesn't mean you end up with the best team winning it all."
|SEC commissioner Mike Slive doesn't support a playoff, but does like a plus-one alternative. (US Presswire)|
"I guess my question for the president-elect is how are the eight (teams) determined?" he said. "If it's the six automatic qualifiers and two at-large, no, thumbs down. If it's the final eight in the BCS rankings, thumbs up."
Utah is No. 7 in the current BCS standings and would be selected in Thompson's "final eight" model. It probably wouldn't be selected as an at-large team in an eight-team playoff that included six automatic qualifiers.
SEC commissioner Mike Slive proposed a plus-one model last spring but was shot down by his fellow commissioners. He might have an ally if the president-elect scales down his eight-team proposal. A plus-one -- playing one more game after the current bowls -- is far less ambitious than an eight-team playoff.
"I appreciate the fact that in the scope of national issues that were discussed on 60 Minutes that football was brought up," Slive said. "While I am not a proponent of a playoff, I would accept the opportunity to discuss the positives of a plus-one postseason college football scenario."
BCS coordinator/ACC commissioner John Swofford issued this statement.
"I am glad (Obama) has a passion for college football like so many other Americans. For now, our constituencies -- and I know he understands constituencies -- have settled on the current BCS system, which the majority believe is the best system yet to determine a national champion while also maintaining the college football regular season as the best and most meaningful in sports ... We certainly respect the opinions of president-elect Obama and welcome dialogue on what's best for college football."