Why We Should Be Protesting the BCS System

December 14, 2011

Political Theory


In America today, sports are clearly one of the most prominent aspects of our lives.  With games on almost every night from various sports, it is hard not to constantly talk about it.  One of the most popular debates in the sports world right now is the BCS College Football System.  With another year of BCS selections recently occurring, the debate over its fairness has quickly come back into question.  Is it really unfair and is it really comparable to a much bigger issue in our country today?

The BCS system stands for the Bowl Championship Series and and creates five main bowl games for ten of the best teams in the college football nation.  The system in based on a series of computer calculations that compute the standings of the teams.  However, controversy is always sparked when the final standings come out.  It is never exactly clear who should be ranked higher than another team because of how close their records are.  Additionally, different teams have very different schedules, which is also taken into account when the final rankings are made.  As a result, there are always teams that believe they deserve to be in the spotlight, but are left out when the bowls are announced.

One major flaw in the BCS system though is that each game is always sponsored by a nationally known company.  As a result, both the sponsoring company and the teams playing in the game make a ton of money of publicity and ticket sales.  So when it comes down to the selections, the sponsor realistically always wants the schools that will attract the most attention and sell the tickets the fastest.  This creates a bias against the small universities that do not have as much acclaim as bigger schools.  So if the bigger schools keep getting selected to these big games, aren’t the few, big, and rich schools just getting richer while the small, not as wealthy schools get left out?  This reminds me of something that almost everyone may know as Occupy Wall Street.

A very popular issue in American society today is the Occupy Wall Street crisis.  Hundreds of protestors are crowding the streets of Wall Street almost everyday fighting against the wealthiest 1% of our nation that keeps getting richer.  They are protesting the social and economic inequality that the “other 99%” are receiving.  Essentially, they are arguing that the wealth gap between the rich and everyone else is constantly growing.  This has sparked a tremendous movement across the nation of people protesting this same argument of, “We are the 99%.”  Now seeing how they are actually very similar, why are we not protesting the BCS system?

The BCS system is basically doing the same damage that the 1% of our country is doing to the other 99%.  The small schools that are constantly being left out of the bowl games are suffering while they can do nothing but sit back and watch the big time schools keep raking in the money.  It is truly unfair that this factor is being included in the BCS selection process.  It is very biased against those schools that may be just as good as the bigger schools, but are not getting the same opportunity just because of money.  Honestly, it’s just sad that even sports are being overtaken by money and ruining the true nature of the game.  We should be picking the schools that have proven themselves strictly on the field, not for money or advertising purposes.

There is no doubt in my mind that this system is completely flawed and should be reevaluated if not gotten rid of altogether.  As a Michigan fan, I am more than thrilled with how the system works more in our favor than most other schools.  But as a non-biased fan, I do believe we should put an end to this wealth-biased selection system.  I know the 99% protesting on Wall Street agrees with me.

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2 Comments on “Why We Should Be Protesting the BCS System”

  1. verlong Says:

    I agree with you that the BCS system is completely flawed. There are many more things other than money that are wrong with the system. However, money is one of the biggest factors. As a life-long Michigan fan, I have definitely seen how the fanbase, renown, culture, etc. have worked in our favor. All of those equal money, and the BCS knows that. Although Michigan is happy to make the higher bowls, it also often works to our disadvantage. We get creamed in many of the bowl games, which is frustrating and disheartening to see as a fan. So, even though the system favors us, it also hurts us at the same time.

    I had never thought of the Occupy aspect of the BCS system before, but it is really true. I have friends who go to smaller schools who will never see their school go to a BCS bowl, and are unlikely to even see them make a bowl period. Not only does money and reputation come into account for bowl games, but it also does for the regular season schedule. The first game next year for Michigan is against Alabama in Dallas. Both schools are getting tons of money to go. Michigan could do without the extra money, but many other schools could really use it. I have friends who go to Illinois, and they are going to a bowl game that only give their school enough money to take 40 bandmembers to the game. Michigan is going to the Sugar Bowl, and is taking about 280 bandmembers. How is that fair? It isn’t.

    The top teams get to go to the top bowl games, which gets them the top recruits and coaches, and which gets them to a top bowl game, and has the cycle continue on. Smaller teams can get a lucky break with a good coach, but they often will leave to go to a better program, leaving the rejected program worse off than before. So, how do we fix this situation? I personally think that the whole BCS needs to be done away with, or at least completely changed. It has a vicious cycle (for both top tier and lesser known programs), and I don’t think it’ll be broken any time soon. Just like with Occupy Wall Street, the system that is being protested has to change radically very soon, or else the inequalities that exist will continue and become more polarized.

  2. kirtip Says:

    The BCS system is obviously unfair to many different parties. First of all, it is unfair to the teams who are not given a fair placement simply due to marketing. If the teams and players aren’t given placement after a full season of constant effort, then what is the point of college athletics. Unlike professional athletics, the college level is about the student athletes themselves. Professional athletes are paid, advertised, and sponsored. However, this is illegal in college athletics. So, why should the postseason of college athletics be so incredibly commercialized that it even becomes unfair to the players.
    Secondly, the BCS system is unfair to college athletics itself. College athletics are based off of college football. The football aspect of the postseason is significantly hindered, though. If we are unable to watch the true top teams play each other, then what is the point of the season. If the season is used to work towards the post season, and the post season is the culmination of it all, the whole of the NCAA College Football experience deserves to have a fair and worthy postseason.
    Lastly, it is unfair to us as fans. We follow our teams all year long just to be let down by a post season based solely on marketability and money. This is not what college football is about and needs to be changed as soon as possible.

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