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Brooks Wilson's Economics Blog: Joe Barton's Shakedown of the NCAA

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Joe Barton's Shakedown of the NCAA

At the risk of drawing a piling on penalty for criticizing Joe Barton for his apology to BP for the White House shakedown, Barton was not opposed to a shakedown of the NCAA, threatening legislation to impose a playoff system for college football if the NCAA did not do so itself ("Subcommittee OKs college playoff bill").  To be sure, Barton's shakedown was within the legal system but it was an abuse of power.   Permanent Link


  1. I’m not sure that legislators need to be spending their valuable time deciding the best system for determining a national football champion. Joe Barton’s idea to impose a college football playoff system by threatening legislation seems harsh. However, the debate of which system is best, the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) system or playoff system, has been going on for sometime now.

    The advantages, as I see them, weigh more heavily on the side of the playoff system. Other college sports have playoff games where a true champion is determined through a system of bracket-type games, not by a popularity contest with computers and polls. Players and coaches would play football just as enthusiastically in the playoff system with the exception being that the higher ranked teams would not be able to sit back on their popularity, knowing that they were shoe-ins for the finals. Players are rational people and want to do the best they can during each game, playing hard to win. All teams would play wholeheartedly realizing they had just as much of chance to win the national title as the more admired teams. The playoffs do not only affect the players however. The fans are a major part of the games. Those fans that enjoy the bowl games should realize that the bowls would not have to be completely eliminated. Each bracket could be given a bowl title. Another advantage is the television coverage of the brackets, as well as the national championship, which would bring in millions of dollars to colleges whose athletic departments are partially or fully funded by public dollars. Perhaps not as financially significant but an important financial incentive is the commercialization of the brackets and playoffs. Fans will travel to the host cities, spending millions of dollars on accommodations, food, and souvenirs. The quantity demanded of these items would increase the amount desired of each of these, more food and more hotel rooms. All of this means more money. This system seems like a win-win situation for all concerned. Of course, there would be trade-offs. The most popular teams that always make it to the bowl games may have losses that allow another less admired team to advance.

    The BCS system continues to have supporters with their reasoning being that if a system is working, don’t fix it. Is this system really working? Are we actually crowning the best team at the National Championship game? Even our President agrees that there should be a playoff system.

  2. I do not believe it is Joe Barton's place to force this upon the NCAA. Their are bigger problems at hand they need to be dealing with it. Although, I do agree that a playoff system is a better alternative to the BCS. Every collegiate sport ends in a playoff including Div 2 football why shouldnt the NCAA.