Executive Director Sorry That The BCS Played Role In Conference Realignment

BCS executive director Bill Hancock is sorry that chasing membership in automatic qualifying conferences was a concern driving conference realignment. He says that a goal of the next BCS agreement (the current one runs out after the 2013 season) will be to provide conference stability.

I would normally ignore something like this, but then Hancock dropped this doozy:

"The BCS is so misunderstood," he said. "It was created to match up No. 1 vs. No. 2..."

Maybe it technically was. It was also conceived as a way to consolidate money and power among the major conferences and keep it there. By having a blessed class of leagues that get the lion's share of the payout and an underclass that gets a relative pittance, you create incentives to do whatever it takes to enter (or remain in) the upper class.

BCS automatic qualifying status is just a shortcut for saying a conference is in the sport's top echelon. That perception of being important is far more valuable than an annual BCS bowl appearance.

For as much money as the BCS generates, it pales in comparison to regular season TV deals. The SEC's contracts with CBS and ESPN paid $60 million more to the conference's 12 member schools alone last year than the BCS paid out to all of the Big Six conferences combined. The SEC's prestige as a power conference allows it to rake in that kind of cash, and it would do so whether BCS AQ status existed or not.

Maybe things will calm down a bit if AQ status is done away with like Hancock suggests, but making that move doesn't do anything about the regular season TV money problem. If anything, it would heighten the importance of being in a league with a big regular season deal. Getting rid of that designation would solve the uncomfortable problem of doing away with the Big East's AQ status ("We didn't take it away from them. Look! No one has it!"), but it wouldn't stabilize conferences.

The three letters that can preserve conference alignment are not B-C-S. They are L-H-N, along with B-1-G and S-E-C. As long as Texas wants its private label network, the Big 12 will continue to exist because the Pac-12 will not expand without UT. Given that 16 seems to be the powder keg number, we'll probably also continue to have peace as long as the Big Ten and SEC do not hit it.

Reform should be on the BCS agenda. It should begin with making sure its components do not have obvious conflicts of interest, do not have laughable governance, and are not intellectually invalid. If they want to try to work in an option for conference stability they can, but it has bigger fish to fry in areas where it has more direct control.

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