Congress vs. the BCS

Kevin Glass
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Posted: Jul 08, 2009 12:14 PM
In another high-profile attempt by Congress to get involved with America's popular sports, Utah Senator Orrin Hatch helped organize a subcommittee hearing yesterday into the rules and regulations of college football's Bowl Championship Series.

It was the second congressional hearing on the BCS this year, following one in the House two months ago. At that hearing, Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, warned the BCS to switch to a playoff system.

Rep. Barton is from Texas and Sen. Hatch is from Utah, the state schools of which were most recently on the short end of the BCS stick. Is this just a way to pander to football-partisan constituents?

"That's just bull," Sen. Hatch said.

The BCS seems to be a pretty unfair system and has very few defenders left in the sports world. Does Congress have the authority to intervene in this matter? Sen. Hatch said that the BCS may be in violation of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act and thus would be subject to an investigation, something that was supported by testimony in this hearing. I certainly don't have the necessary expertise to make a judgment on that. Hatch, however, seemed more interested in stressing the "unfairness" of the system than any law the BCS may be in violation of.

Do we really need a Congressional (or, as Sen. Hatch suggested, a Department of Justice) investigation into the matter? Are there more important things our nation's top legislative body should be doing?

In light of the stimulus, the bailouts, cap-and-trade, and the upcoming health care bill, we might be better off if Congress prefers to waste its time on national sports than pass actual legislation.