A Huge UH Pay Day
Wednesday - December 19, 2007
The Bowl Championship Series is a method of crowning the national champion in college football. The novice college football fan would rightfully suspect that the National Collegiate Athletic Association would be responsible for making such a momentous announcement.
However, in recent years the BCS has taken over with a system that forgoes a playoff in favor of computers and polls. The NCAA has given way to television executives at Fox, who will pay $80 million for the right to broadcast four of the five BCS games, including the Jan. 7, 2008 national title game in New Orleans.
This bugs the purists, who are still screaming for a playoff system that would clearly identify the best two teams, the way it is done in college basketball. The television executives really couldn’t care less which is the best team in college football. The ratings will go through the roof, just like they did last year, and everyone will be happy simply because everyone is going to be talking about the matchups and the outcomes.
Everyone in Hawaii should be showing a little appreciation for the BSC committee. After all, Hawaii got into one of the most lucrative bowl games with one of the weakest Division I schedules. We were undefeated and won the WAC, and now we will play University of Georgia, which got into the games although it didn’t win its conference. The UH Warriors will earn at least $4 million for their appearance. When you consider the national exposure they will receive for the UH, there is really nothing to complain about.
If the purists want something to worry about, it is the athletic spending going on across the nation. According to NCAA, only a half a dozen major schools actually turn a profit on athletics. The rest are subsidized.
NCAA president Myles Brand said recently, “You’re getting a lot more tension in the university and no one is talking about it - almost a quiet crisis. The tension between faculty needs, academic needs and the desire of athletic departments to be competitive is really a very serious and growing issue.”
It’s a good bet that a lot of people at the UH are wondering how much of the Sugar Bowl payout will end up helping their programs.
It is a special time in UH athletics, no question about it. June Jones III and his team have brought great honor to the institution. It’s hard to imagine that this season started with players complaining about a lack of soap in the locker room dispensers.
The UH faculty will argue that the athletic department should not grow faster than the rest of the university, and they are right, since it is just an auxiliary and not the primary function of the university.
But right now I can’t think of an academic function that can bring in $4 million and make so many residents, students and alumni so proud.
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