Congressional panel advances bill to force football playoff

Congress has taken a step towards interfering in how colleges declare a national championship in football. From the Associated Press:

A House subcommittee has approved legislation aimed at forcing college football to switch to a playoff system to determine a national champion.

The bill would ban the promotion of a postseason NCAA Division I football game as a national championship unless that title contest is the result of a playoff.

The measure passed by a voice vote Wednesday by a House Energy and Commerce Committee subcommittee.

The sponsor, GOP Rep. Joe Barton of Texas, said the current Bowl Championship Series is unfair and won't change unless prompted by Congress.

I’d like to see a playoff too. But I’d rather see a government that acknowledges some limits upon itself. Notice the way Congress is insinuating itself into the issue, by using its power to regulate interstate commerce to prevent the “promotion” of an event that is not to its liking. Rep. Barton is a Republican, a Texan, and thus presumably a conservative. Is there any legitimate conservative argument for this?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Gil Franke

    I think Congressman Barton’s conservative Republican sensibilities must be skewed by his Orange fervor for the University of Texas! Sometimes our collegiate sports mania clouds our better judgment! UT fans have often felt mistreated in national polls. OR perhaps it is a conservative ploy to distract the liberal goal and derail the health care agenda!!!

  • Gil Franke

    I think Congressman Barton’s conservative Republican sensibilities must be skewed by his Orange fervor for the University of Texas! Sometimes our collegiate sports mania clouds our better judgment! UT fans have often felt mistreated in national polls. OR perhaps it is a conservative ploy to distract the liberal goal and derail the health care agenda!!!

  • Jonathan

    At this point, I would much rather see Congress engage full-tilt in efforts such as these rather have them continue to run us into the ground with their bungling of social programs.

  • Jonathan

    At this point, I would much rather see Congress engage full-tilt in efforts such as these rather have them continue to run us into the ground with their bungling of social programs.

  • dave

    It’s stupid and almost mocks the idea of promoting general welfare.

    Congress shouldn’t be mandating playoff games.

    Of course, they aren’t, this measure is still basically nowhere yet.

  • dave

    It’s stupid and almost mocks the idea of promoting general welfare.

    Congress shouldn’t be mandating playoff games.

    Of course, they aren’t, this measure is still basically nowhere yet.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    I seriously doubt it has anything to do with Rep Barton’s fervor for t.u. considering the t-sips are in the championship game.

    Sooner or later, the Federal government is going to learn there are limits to its power. I just hope the lesson isn’t too painful for us.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    I seriously doubt it has anything to do with Rep Barton’s fervor for t.u. considering the t-sips are in the championship game.

    Sooner or later, the Federal government is going to learn there are limits to its power. I just hope the lesson isn’t too painful for us.

  • Greg Smith

    I would much prefer a playoff to the idiocy of the BCS series. However, Congress has no business whatsoever in getting involved. The NCAA can decide for themselves how their champion is crowned. If they want to be stupid about it, it’s a free country. Or it used to be.

  • Greg Smith

    I would much prefer a playoff to the idiocy of the BCS series. However, Congress has no business whatsoever in getting involved. The NCAA can decide for themselves how their champion is crowned. If they want to be stupid about it, it’s a free country. Or it used to be.

  • rlewer

    How can a “conservative” grant powers to the Federal government that are not included in the Constitution?

  • rlewer

    How can a “conservative” grant powers to the Federal government that are not included in the Constitution?

  • Carl Vehse

    Has Joe hit his head recently? Maybe he suffered some brain aneurysm… or a virulent form of Potomac fever.

  • Carl Vehse

    Has Joe hit his head recently? Maybe he suffered some brain aneurysm… or a virulent form of Potomac fever.

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    What?!! Major outrage!!! You can take my guns, healthcare, freedom, money, security, national defense, and even slap trans-fat warnings on my Oreos, but don’t mess with my football, dude!

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    What?!! Major outrage!!! You can take my guns, healthcare, freedom, money, security, national defense, and even slap trans-fat warnings on my Oreos, but don’t mess with my football, dude!

  • Carl Vehse

    And football will be a major news item this Saturday. Rumor has it that 0bama is cutting out of the Nobel Prize festivities early so he can make it back to New York in time as a potential candidate for the Heisman Trophy.

  • Carl Vehse

    And football will be a major news item this Saturday. Rumor has it that 0bama is cutting out of the Nobel Prize festivities early so he can make it back to New York in time as a potential candidate for the Heisman Trophy.

  • DonS

    The answer to the question in the post is a resounding NO!

    Now, I might be able to get behind a measure which would simply eliminate all federal funding for higher education, as a protest against the BCS system :-)

    Seriously, since higher education institutions are better than any other sector of the economy at feeding at the federal teat, they have little to complain about when those same feds seek to regulate them to death. Higher education costs so much today, in part, because of the tremendous federal subsidies it enjoys.

  • DonS

    The answer to the question in the post is a resounding NO!

    Now, I might be able to get behind a measure which would simply eliminate all federal funding for higher education, as a protest against the BCS system :-)

    Seriously, since higher education institutions are better than any other sector of the economy at feeding at the federal teat, they have little to complain about when those same feds seek to regulate them to death. Higher education costs so much today, in part, because of the tremendous federal subsidies it enjoys.

  • http://ematthaei.blogspot.com Eric

    Joe Barton is a Texas Aggie (Class of ’72), which means his alma mater has absolutely no shot at a national title unless they go undefeated. Even then, they are not a lock. The last time that happened for the Aggies in a bowl-eligible season (12-0 in 1992), they were only able to climb to No. 4 in the polls. If the Aggies were to go undefeated through their schedule you would not hear the end of all the talk about “how weak the Big 12 Conference is this year!” And if the BCS had an opportunity to take an undefeated SEC team vs. an undefeated USC instead of an undefeated Texas A&M, they would almost certainly shut the Aggies out. They might even take a one-loss SEC team ahead of an undefeated Texas A&M.

    Another consideration for Joe Barton may be the fact that his district lies so close to Fort Worth, home of the undefeated TCU Horned Frogs, and is certainly populated by many Texas Longhorns (who were unfairly cheated by this system last year).

    As a conservative I definitely have some mixed feelings about this, but I appreciate the tactical approach Congressman Barton is taking. He is not denying the NCAA’s right to organize its football post-season in any manner it cares to. He is simply asking Congress to affirm in law what the rest of the country already knows… calling the winner of that game “national champions” is a fraud. (And fraud should be illegal.)

    By the way… I am an Aggie too, and I would feel this way about that game even if the Aggies were playing in it on a regular basis.

  • http://ematthaei.blogspot.com Eric

    Joe Barton is a Texas Aggie (Class of ’72), which means his alma mater has absolutely no shot at a national title unless they go undefeated. Even then, they are not a lock. The last time that happened for the Aggies in a bowl-eligible season (12-0 in 1992), they were only able to climb to No. 4 in the polls. If the Aggies were to go undefeated through their schedule you would not hear the end of all the talk about “how weak the Big 12 Conference is this year!” And if the BCS had an opportunity to take an undefeated SEC team vs. an undefeated USC instead of an undefeated Texas A&M, they would almost certainly shut the Aggies out. They might even take a one-loss SEC team ahead of an undefeated Texas A&M.

    Another consideration for Joe Barton may be the fact that his district lies so close to Fort Worth, home of the undefeated TCU Horned Frogs, and is certainly populated by many Texas Longhorns (who were unfairly cheated by this system last year).

    As a conservative I definitely have some mixed feelings about this, but I appreciate the tactical approach Congressman Barton is taking. He is not denying the NCAA’s right to organize its football post-season in any manner it cares to. He is simply asking Congress to affirm in law what the rest of the country already knows… calling the winner of that game “national champions” is a fraud. (And fraud should be illegal.)

    By the way… I am an Aggie too, and I would feel this way about that game even if the Aggies were playing in it on a regular basis.

  • dave

    I think commenters here mostly misunderstand Mr. Barton’s actual position on government power (shared by many posters here). The sentiment is against government power only when it does something to help somebody be housed, fed, clothed or educated. Other government power is just fine and dandy with him by my reckoning.

  • dave

    I think commenters here mostly misunderstand Mr. Barton’s actual position on government power (shared by many posters here). The sentiment is against government power only when it does something to help somebody be housed, fed, clothed or educated. Other government power is just fine and dandy with him by my reckoning.

  • http://mesamike.org Mike Westfall

    Hey Dave,

    Are you still beating your wife?

  • http://mesamike.org Mike Westfall

    Hey Dave,

    Are you still beating your wife?

  • J

    Mike, dave was referring, in my view, to that well known feature of the GOP that its leaders only protest govt spending and govt programs when the purpose of said spending and programs is to help people in need.

  • J

    Mike, dave was referring, in my view, to that well known feature of the GOP that its leaders only protest govt spending and govt programs when the purpose of said spending and programs is to help people in need.

  • Trey

    As a conservative, I would say that regulating a publicly funded organization is within the scope of the government. If universities and colleges were funded solely by private donations then I would have a major grievance against such regulation.

    Those things mentioned by Dave neglect to mention that government helping people forces other people to subsidized these programs. If people want to give they should be able to without government coercion. That’s the American dream. What you speak of is the Marxist dream: redistribution of wealth.

  • Trey

    As a conservative, I would say that regulating a publicly funded organization is within the scope of the government. If universities and colleges were funded solely by private donations then I would have a major grievance against such regulation.

    Those things mentioned by Dave neglect to mention that government helping people forces other people to subsidized these programs. If people want to give they should be able to without government coercion. That’s the American dream. What you speak of is the Marxist dream: redistribution of wealth.

  • dave

    Mike @ 13 (re: Trey @15)

    If you’d like a real illustration of what you are talking about then read Trey’s message:

    “What you speak of is the Marxist dream: redistribution of wealth.”

    That’s okay, I get called Marxist by fellow conservative Lutherans all the time for simply thinking that what dozens of countries provide for their citizens for their tax dollars is instructive for us in the United States.

    Heck, I was told to repent by a Lutheran Pastor for being a Democrat, who also told me in his message a blatant lie about Eric Holder.

    You are making this denomination kryptonite to just about everyone that doesn’t agree with you politically.

  • dave

    Mike @ 13 (re: Trey @15)

    If you’d like a real illustration of what you are talking about then read Trey’s message:

    “What you speak of is the Marxist dream: redistribution of wealth.”

    That’s okay, I get called Marxist by fellow conservative Lutherans all the time for simply thinking that what dozens of countries provide for their citizens for their tax dollars is instructive for us in the United States.

    Heck, I was told to repent by a Lutheran Pastor for being a Democrat, who also told me in his message a blatant lie about Eric Holder.

    You are making this denomination kryptonite to just about everyone that doesn’t agree with you politically.

  • Cincinnatus

    Thanks for the threadjack, dave. Go build some straw men someplace else. And the word “Marxist” doesn’t really belong here, Trey. dave is just espousing some social(ist) welfare principles which are tiresome and economically (and morally) unsound, but not usually Marxist.

  • Cincinnatus

    Thanks for the threadjack, dave. Go build some straw men someplace else. And the word “Marxist” doesn’t really belong here, Trey. dave is just espousing some social(ist) welfare principles which are tiresome and economically (and morally) unsound, but not usually Marxist.

  • Cincinnatus

    And that have nothing to do with football, btw. I personally think the measure is silly and, while the BCS system is publicly subsidized, Congress has far better things to be doing with its time–such as not trying to save the economy, not trying to wage two wars, and not trying to reconfigure 16% of our GDP.

    What continually bothers me is the perpetual use of the Commerce Clause to justify anything the government decides it wants to do. I’m fairly certain the drafters of the Constitution would have left it out had they known what it would be used for.

  • Cincinnatus

    And that have nothing to do with football, btw. I personally think the measure is silly and, while the BCS system is publicly subsidized, Congress has far better things to be doing with its time–such as not trying to save the economy, not trying to wage two wars, and not trying to reconfigure 16% of our GDP.

    What continually bothers me is the perpetual use of the Commerce Clause to justify anything the government decides it wants to do. I’m fairly certain the drafters of the Constitution would have left it out had they known what it would be used for.