Sports are a business with the sole purpose of making money. That is what the professor of my Sociology of Sport class once told me. Deep inside I wanted to argue his point, but as huge television networks continue to monopolize the rights to the supposed biggest and best games, integrity in sports is fading fast.
Both the NFL and Major League Baseball have lacked purity for a while, as players are more worried about being mega millionaires than champions. Look what agent Scott Boras has done to baseball franchises. Most small market teams are resigned to the fact that keeping any player represented by Boras is bad business. Once that player becomes a free agent, he will sign with the highest bidder and leave his former team with no compensation. In the NFL, too many of today’s players put “me” before team.
I can handle the simple truth that professional sports are more about entertainment and making money than who wins and loses, but college football is something that needs to be cleansed from the greed and hypocrisy that the current system promotes. Every player on every team in the nation represents their school and their community. They don’t hop from one team to the next without going through a difficult transfer process. The school and team that they commit to becomes their family for life. These kids love the game of football and they aren’t playing for millions, just the respect of the rest of the country.
But the current BCS system doesn’t care about proving who the best teams in the country are. It is all about creating insane revenue for television networks and the schools of the select conferences that get automatic bids to the five big money bowls each season.
When #11 TCU and # 9 Boise State squared off in the Poinsettia Bowl, the payout was $750,000. The Orange Bowl, on the other hand, had a 17 million dollar purse. That game matched #12 Cincinnati, winners of the Big East, against #19 Virginia Tech, winners of the ACC. Two auto-bid teams with four more combined losses ended up walking away with 16 million dollars more than two non-BCS teams
That isn’t about competition or getting the best possible matchup for a bowl. The only thing the current system does is pad the pockets of the rich. And it is killing college football. The 6.1 overnight television rating for the 2009 Orange Bowl earned the game the distinction of being the lowest rated bowl in BCS history.
The nation is starting to speak up and people have had enough with the current system. # 6 Utah’s mighty uppercut to KO SEC “powerhouse” Alabama in last night’s Sugar Bowl opened a lot of eyes to how good some of the outsiders are.
In order for all conferences and teams to have equality in college football, many dominoes will have to fall. The people in power will do everything they can to stop change from occurring.
College football should make money for schools and television networks, but profit shouldn’t come at integrity’s expense. Will there be enough of a movement to alter or do away with the BCS?
These next few months should be very interesting.