Friday, December 11, 2009

The House Takes on the BCS

As Matt mentioned yesterday, earlier this week the U.S. House of Representatives took further action on H.R. 390, which has a goal "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." [Bill Text Here]

This bill was introduced in January 2009 and the action this week, 11 months later, was that the Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection subcommittee sent the bill to the full Committee on Energy and Commerce.    From there it needs to be voted out of committee and sent to the House floor.  If it passes there, the bill needs to go through the Senate and signed by President before it becomes law.  If it gets that far, the bill doesn't take effect until January 31, 2011.

The bill has a very long way to go before it becomes law - if we ever get to that point - but let's try to examine why Congress has chosen this topic as something to spend its valuable time on.  The text of the bill identifies college football as interstate commerce and therefore under the direct jurisdiction of Congress.  Given that, Congress certainly has the right to address this topic, but aren't there more pressing things for Congress to deal with? 

I've always been skeptical of Congress getting involved in sports and I don't think this is any different.  However, since our representatives have taken little action on initial hearings on other sports related inquiries (i.e. steroids), I can't imagine this bill will make it out of committee, let alone see the President's desk.  Can you imagine a debate on the House or Senate floor about the pros and cons of a college football playoff?  Neither can I.... thankfully. Let's hope Congress gets back to other issues and leaves sports alone. 

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