Friday's BCS hearings will be chaired by Illinois Rep. Bobby Rush. It's not clear if Rush has an agenda regarding this issue. It seems that everyone else gathering in D.C. certainly does.
Fellow Energy and Commerce Subcommittee member Joe Barton of Texas is a ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Committee. Barton proposed a bill late last year that would keep the BCS from calling a "national championship game" unless it was part of a playoff. Barton's agenda, obviously, is supporting Texas which lost that confusing tiebreaker in the Big 12 and essentially eliminated from the national title game.
Rush? All we (me, actually) know is that he represents Chicago and South Chicago. He has the highest percentage of African-Americans in his district than any Congressman. He was arrested in 2004 outside the Sudanese embassy in Washington, D.C. protesting genocide.
His son, Jeffrey, was fired from his job with the Illinois prison system in 2007 for allegedly having sex with female inmates. According to reports, Jeffrey Rush was hired by then-governor Rod Blagojevich's administration in 2003.
Bobby Rush supported Blagojevich's appointment of Rolad Burris to take over Barack Obama's vacated Illinois Senate seat. Here is a bunch of stuff from his past, none of it really relavant to the BCS.
I talked to committee's press office on Thursday and was reminded that Congress is not in session. We're not sure how many subcommittee members will be in attendance. All we know for sure is that Rush and Barton will be there. One bowl source told me the hearings were for "fact finding."
The rage against the BCS machine reached a new level on Wednesday when the subcommittee announced the Friday hearings to "examine competitive fairness ... adversely impacted by the ... Bowl Championship Series ..."
Hearings have been threatened by Utah Republican Senator Orrin Hatch but this comes from a different direction.
ACC commissioner John Swofford, the BCS coordinator, has been invited as a witness along with Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson, Paul Hoolahan, chairman of the Football Bowl Association and Gene Bleymaier, the Boise State AD.
Only Hoolahan won't be attending. Past FBA chairman Derrick Fox, CEO of the Alamo Bowl, will take his place.
"We're prepared for this, this isn't anything that has caught us off guard," said Hoolahan who heads one of the four BCS bowls. "There is such a level naivete on how this thing oeprates. These guys want to get a sound bite and get up on the bully pulpit. More than anything we have to wage an informational campaign. When their constituents hear that they about to shoot the goose that lays the golden egg (they won't like it)."
What do I think will happen? Not much, at least for now. It's hard to imagine Congress will move on this while the country deals with a swine flu epidemic, two wars and the economy.
Thompson and a group of a Mountain West officials visited senior legislative staff earlier this year. Last week, Thompson detailed an eight-team playoff proposal by his conference to replace the BCS last week in Pasadena, Calif. during the BCS meetings.
Swofford reiterated during the meetings that he feels the BCS would stand up to any legal challenges. I detailed some of Swofford's confidence earlier this month in a story about anti-trust lawyer Tom Rhodes.