Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Juicing the Mitchell: BCS Edition

Anyone up for a little morning Juice? Today's installment, boldface is mine:

The Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection will consider a bill that would allow the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to prohibit any bowl game from calling itself a "national championship" unless the game is "the final game of a single elimination post-season playoff system." The subcommittee is expected to vote on the proposal on Wednesday after a line-by-line consideration of the bill.

"With everything going on in the country, I can't believe that Congress is wasting time and spending taxpayers' money on football," Bill Hancock, the BCS executive director, said in a phone interview with The Associated Press. "We feel strongly that managing of college sports is best left to the people in higher education."

All considered, we here at TPS feel strongly that managing sports is best left to those in Congress.

As a side note, I don't like the default response of "we want to fix this and we're going to do it through regulation." Why not do it through the following: Universities are nonprofit entities, which means they get favorable tax status on a wide swath of income-generating activities. If we're going to coerce schools into acting a certain way-- not justifying the action-- why not threaten to remove their favorable tax position? I think the schools would respond as desired, they wouldn't end up any different on their bottom line (as separate from a different bottom line from a playoff vs. a BCS system) since they'd ultimately maintain their current tax position, and we wouldn't have the troublesome side effects inherent in regulation. Note the teeth of the bill:

The bill would give the FTC the authority to regulate the college football postseason with the power to obtain injunctions and to assess huge fines against any organization that promotes a "national championship game."

You don't think someone could find a way around that? What about calling it the "Game to Decide the Best Team in College Football" instead? Maybe that still falls under the expanding jurisdiction of the FTC but you get my drift.

Not that taxation or regulation is ever a desirable outcome, but given the choice, I'd go for a more evenly applied tax code than shoveling on more regulation. Splitting hairs, perhaps, but I don't like the default position.

UPDATE: The relevant subcommittee moved the bill forward this morning.


Justin M Ross said...

Agreed, not only do I support all attempts to institutionalize the BCS into the political process. Preferably, Congress would actually make the selections for bowl games on an annual basis.

Juice That Mitchell!

Will Luther said...

Before doing anything, though, let's make sure this legislation gets the proper read-over. We wouldn't want an old, esteemed Senator from, say, West Virginia slipping in a line giving the ol' Mountaineers an advantage. So read through it carefully. Several times. Then quiz each member of Congress. Preferably one at a time, while every other member watches. Then, review all the questions. Again, preferably on an individual basis. And, for old time's sake, let's just read through it one more time before signing anything.

And debate! We cannot forget debate! But after everyone has read it, of course. And if anything should change...even a mere correction of a typo...we should probably do a re-read and re-quiz.

This could take years. I love it.