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A SWAT for taking college football to Congress

Submitted by on Friday, 23 January 2009 2 Comments

Hey, didn’t the Bowl Championship Series end two weeks ago when Florida beat Oklahoma in Miami?

Then why was it being played again for 40 minutes Thursday in the U.S. House of Representatives?

Because a representative from Florida wanted to recognize the Gators. Twenty-four other Floridians joined him as co-sponsors of the House Resolution 58, along with a representative from Kentucky in what must have been a move for Southeastern Conference solidarity.

The resolution was introduced Jan. 13 and sent to the Education and Labor Committee for review. If that’s not a statement about the amateur status of college football players, I don’t know what is.

Resolutions usually are annoying little time-wasters – you’d have better luck trying to block a runaway Mack truck with a Yugo than you would in stopping them. The House handled eight Thursday morning, ranging from recognition of the pilot and crew of the U.S. Airways flight that plunged into the Hudson River to honoring the contributions of Catholic schools.

This one, though, wound up being a bigger time-waster, as elected representatives with no other pressing business to attend to debated the Gator resolution for 40 minutes.

Utah’s delegation, still miffed that Utes’ undefeated record didn’t get them an invite to the final game, refused to support the resolution. They instead voted “present,” as did two Texas representatives and one each from Alabama and Illinois.

Five members voted against it, including Republican Rep. Joe Barton, who thinks the home state University of Texas should have had a shot, too.

“A fine school with a great team deserves better than a national championship that was decided inside somebody’s computer,” Barton told The Associated Press.

If Barton has his way, that will never happen again. In December, he introduced HR 7330. Hold onto your Stetson because the title’s a long one: “To prohibit, as an unfair and deceptive act or practice, the promotion, marketing, and advertising of any post-season NCAA Division I football game as a national championship game unless such game is the culmination of a fair and equitable playoff system. ”

He wants to put the Federal Trade Commission in charge of policing that.

In recognition of creating a needless debate over a meaningless resolution, sponsoring legislation in an area that’s really of no congressional concern and wanting to stick a federal agency’s nose in where it has no business, Barton is the first recipient of 9to5to9′s Stop Wasting America’s Time award.

I get that college football is big in Texas. Pee-wee football is big in Texas for that matter.

I don’t know the sting of my team being rejected for a marquee bowl – I’m a West Virginia University grad, and we take whatever crumbs come our way because self-inflicted gunshot wounds usually keep us from reaching higher. But I’ll accept that the Fiesta Bowl was a blow for Barton and the Longhorns.

But I cannot accept that the House spent 40 seconds, let alone 40 minutes, debating a piece of puff. And I cannot accept that Barton’s bill will continue to clog Congress and kill trees.

And apparently I’m not the only one. Rep. Marion Berry, D-Ark., said he voted against the resolution Thursday in part because he thinks it’s a waste of Congress’ time.

It sure is.

Stop Wasting America’s Time, Rep. Barton.

Know of someone who deserves a SWAT? Click here to make a nomination.

Copyright 2009 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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  • Miracle Man said:

    Ah, but I don’t think its a waste of time. In fact, I think its time that someone got involved to resolve this.

    College football is an amateur sport. Ideally the players are playing it because the love the game and for their competitive spirit. Every amateur team sport at competitive levels end with the last and best team standing because they went through the rest. All that is except for Division 1A College football. Even the pro sports use playoffs to settle their champion.

    The problem with the BCS is it is a) a monoploy where the big conferences have conspired to make their conferences wealthy to the detriment of the mid-major conferences and b) an abuse of amateur athletes for clearly commercial gain.

    Forget that fans want a playoff or that the President wants a playoff, but the players deserve a right to be competitive like the rest of their piers have.

    Because the players are the ones being abused, its time for someone who has the ability to correct this step in and solve it and break up this monopoly. And since it is driven by money and greed, that’s the realm of the FTC.

    Lets end this charade and let the players decide their winner like everyone else does.

    FWIW: I’m an alumni of a Division 1AA (Championship Series) school and have no vested interest an any of the 1A players.

  • Debra said:

    I actually agree with a lot of your points, Rob.

    Yes, college players are, if not abused, then at the very least taken advantage of. And, yes, that is driven by money and greed.

    I just disagree with the timing of it. With everything else going on in this country right now, the Bowl Championship Series should be way the heck down on the priority list.

    So I stand by the SWAT. :) But your points are well-taken.