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How Do You Take Down the BCS?

It’s something many seem to want, but no one can seem to get: the end of the BCS Bowl Championship Series as we know it.

There are have been numerous efforts to take down this particular Goliath, but none successful.  So, what’s the right way to attempt to effectuate change to the system?

I have no idea.  What I do know is that I have found myself supporting the efforts of Playoff PAC.  You can read my previous pieces on the group here and here.

Today, I received an email from Mr. Maury Litwack pointing me towards his latest blog, in which he chastises Playoff PAC for their efforts.  While I appreciate his enthusiasm for the subject, I have to respectfully disagree with several of his points.

Mr. Litwack thinks Playoff PAC’s recent IRS complaint accomplishes nothing for the group, noting it could have been done by anyone.  He wonders how attacking the non-profit designation of the BCS bowls will help Playoff PAC achieve their goal.  First of all, if the bowls were stripped of their non-profit status, it would inflict very real pain.  Right now they pay no taxes on their considerable income and, in some cases, receive government loans and grants.

Mr. Litwack asks in his blog, “Where is the clear message to legislators and supporters to encourage a specific legislative fix in light of these complaints?”  My answer is that they are preparing for battle.  They cannot send supporters in Congress into battle with an argument about how the BCS system is simply unfair.  They need to be armed with issues that violate laws and impact taxpayers.  Congress isn’t going to step into a fight that’s simply over whether Boise State should play in the title game.

In my opinion, this battle is going to take more than a single pebble launched by one valiant David.  If it were that easy, the BCS system as we know it would already be extinct.  Instead, I believe it will take a whole army of Davids, each chinking away at Goliath’s armor little by little.

Is it enough to point out the inherent unfairness produced by the BCS?  Obvioulsy not.  What about claims that antitrust laws have been violated?  Again, that tactic has not been succesful.  Attacking the bowls for activities that bring their non-profit status into question?  Revealing political contributions and involvement such bowls shouldn’t be engaging in?  Showing government grants going to organizations who are not in need?

I believe it will take all of these things and more to bring down the BCS.  I applaud Playoff PAC for compiling resources on their website that cover a whole spectrum of issues, from the unfairness of a system that allows a team with no wins to take home more money than a team with an undefeated season, simply because of their conference affiliation, to the various inconsistencies revealed in the IRS complaint.

Based on Mr. Litwack’s research, Playoff PAC has not donated to any political campaigns, which he sees as a flaw.  I have to disagree.  PACs like Playoff PAC are funded by donors.  Nothing requires that a PAC donate to compaigns.  If their donors don’t like the way they’re attempting to effectuate change, they’ll simply stop donating.  There’s no misuse of taxpayer money (which is more than I can say for the bowls themselves).

Personally, if I were a donor, I’d rather see my money put to better use than lining a politician’s campaign coffers in the hopes (s)he’ll support our cause.  The group is doing their research and beginning to take action.  I’m assuming they have more than just the IRS complaint up their sleeve.

It shouldn’t take political contributions to convince an elected official to support a war against the BCS.  Cold hard facts and an informed electorate who either elect the right people or encourage their elected officials to support change should be enough.

So, while I think Mr. Litwack has written a thoughtful piece, I decline to agree with his admonition of Playoff PAC and continue to support their efforts.

This article offers the personal observations of Kristi Dosh, and does not represent the views of her law firm or its clients. Any information contained herein does not constitute legal advice. Consult your own attorney for legal advice on these matters.

About Kristi Dosh

Kristi A. Dosh is the founder of BusinessofCollegeSports.com and has served as a sports business analyst and contributor for outlets such as Forbes, ESPN, SportsBusiness Journal, Bleacher Report, SB Nation and more. She is also the author of a book on the business of college football, Saturday Millionaires. Kristi is a sought-after consultant and speaker on topics related to the business of college sports and a former practicing attorney. Click to learn more
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