Bill Hancock on Changing BCS for Playoff System: “These are not grown-ups playing for pay. That’s a principal we will not yield on.”January 13, 2012 – 6:15 am by Steven Cuce
All the advocates of the BCS may believe that the Alabama Crimson Tide were the undisputed best team in the country this season, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that the system is extremely flawed. There’s no sugar coating that this year’s BCS Championship wasn’t the most entertaining contest, and that’s being kind to say the least.
It would be refreshing to see a one-loss team get a shot at playing in a National Championship game by having some type of playoff system, and from the sound of it the NCAA may be changing their mind on the matter.
Bill Hancock, BCS Executive Director, believes things do change, but that’s not to say he’s giving a ringing endorsement of this idea either.
Bill Hancock joined 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland with Bull & Fox to discuss the outlook of the initial meetings to change the BCS system, the reason why the NCAA has looked into changing the BCS system at this particular time, the BCS not being a business as its perceived, the BCS playoffs potentially having to occur in December when students are preparing for and taking finals, student athletes losing time to take finals if a BCS playoff system were to be instituted, the NCAA being afraid to institute a playoff system because student athletes won’t be able to take finals, the BCS needing a bowl playoff system and what he’d say is one legitimate downside of changing to a playoff system.
What can you share with us so far if anything of what’s come out of these initial meetings to change the BCS system?
“Well this is a process. It happens every four years when we get close to the time to negotiate the contract and we do have two more years to go on this agreement, so now is the time. The process of that is pretty cool. We started with conversations on campus and then folks on campus conveyed their wishes to the commissioners and the commissioners came together this week and the first of what will be several this spring. We had some great conversation about what each of them would like to see become of this in the future.”
What has changed that now it seems like at the very least you guys will take this under serious consideration or more serious consideration?
“Oh that’s a good question. I think about this a lot and I think we have to be careful to read too much into what’s happening here. This is very preliminary and we are a long way from making any kind of decisions and I do not sense any ground swell for a large – that being 8 or 16 team playoff, but I just think things change. At this end of this contract for example it would have been 22 years since the old bowl system. A lot of people look at me when I said that and said, ‘That can’t be? It seemed like yesterday when the BCS got started.’ Things change over time. I think we are hearing that many fans would like to do something different, so it’s a matter of balancing that with balancing the important of the regular season and keeping the bowl tradition and also doing what is best for the student athletes.”
The BCS is a business correct?
“The BCS is an event the conferences manage to match #1 and #2.”
If the conferences cared about the players so much why would there be a tournament in March that takes the guys out of class forever? I don’t think many people are buying it because why would BCS bowl games be in January when the kids go back to school, when the games could take place in December when the kids have off?
“I think if you would compare playing football to a basketball game. As you know the comparison for wear and tear on the body? There’s no comparison.”
We are not talking about wear and tear on the body. I’m not buying that. If I had all the NCAA commissioners in the room with truth serum I doubt this has anything to do with kids going to class?
“I don’t think you heard what I said before. We think about the effect of this on the student athlete. It affects the student athletes in many ways. One is whole other series of football games. Another is conflicts with final exams. There’s no conflict with basketball and final exams, but there would be with a big December tournament.”
So you’re telling me there’s no playoff because we are afraid to take big time college football players out of class for finals?
“A lot of people don’t believe this, but it is true. These are college students and this a fundamental part of this endeavor. These are not grown-ups playing for pay. These are college students. That’s a principal we will not yield on.”
In your opinion do you think the BCS needs to have some sort of playoff system?
“I don’t know. Need to think more about it. There’s lots of downsides. There’s lots of upsides and that’s what they’ll be talking about over the next few months.”
What is one legitimate downside of a playoff system?
“Well the contention over No. 4 or No. 5 to me will always be a downside just the contention in the NCAA tournament between 60 and however many they have now and 68 and 69 [teams]. You also have to think about can fans travel to a quarterfinal in Miami one week, a semifinal in Pasadena the next week and back to Phoenix for a final next week.”