Thursday, January 08, 2009

Joe Barton Responds

Last month I mentioned that Congressman Joe Barton was Overstepping His Bounds when he introduced legislation to kill the BCS system of choosing a collegiate football national champion. In that column I asked:

Please enlighten me Representative Barton, where is it stated in your charter that you have any say in collegiate sports?
I followed up that post with an email to Representative Barton asking basically the same question.

Here is his response:

Dear Mr. JR:

Thank you for contacting me about college football and the Bowl Championship Series (BCS). I appreciate hearing from you on this matter, and I apologize for the delay in my reply.

College football is not just an extracurricular activity; it is a billion-dollar business that Congress cannot ignore. Being judged the best team in the nation brings millions of dollars in revenue. The House Committee on Energy and Commerce is charged, in part, with regulating America 's sports industry. It cannot be denied that the BCS system is flawed and has been plagued by controversy since its establishment in 1998. It often leaves out deserving teams, and in some years the sport's national championship winner was left unsettled. This cheats many schools out of the many millions of dollars in revenue that accompany even the chance to compete for the title.

Despite repeated efforts to improve the system, the controversy continues. The BCS method of determining who is number one consistently misfires. When we held our first hearing on BCS in 2005, I didn't have legislation in mind, and I hoped none would be necessary. Simply exposing the flaws and subjecting them to discussion, however, hasn't led to improvement by those who run the system, which is why I introduced H.R. 7330, the College Football Playoff Act of 2008. H.R. 7330 prohibits the promotion, marketing and advertising of any post-season NCAA Division I football game as a national championship game unless the game is the result of a playoff game.

This is admittedly not the most pressing issue for our country, nor do I wish it to take priority over current economic issues. However I still believe that it needs to be addressed, and that is why I introduced this bill. You may be interested to know that on the same day that I introduced H.R. 7330, twenty-four other bills were introduced in the House and ten bills were introduced in the Senate.

Again, thank you for contacting me. Please continue to keep me informed of the issues that are of importance to you.


Joe Barton
Member of Congress
I have to start out by saying that I am a big fan of Rep. Joe Barton. He is my representative and I have supported him in the past and will continue to support him in the future. We do see eye to eye on most issues, but on this particular issue I could not disagree with him more.

I understand that college football is a billion dollar industry, so what? Should Congress have their fingers in every billion dollar industry in the United States? Just because we do not agree with the way the "National Champion" is decided does not mean that "there ought to be a law".

Those who run the BCS system do so with the blessing of the member colleges. If the issue were truly unbearable, the colleges would figure out a way to rectify the situation.

We do not need, nor do we want, federal legislation deciding how a college football championship is decided.

Oh, your statement...

You may be interested to know that on the same day that I introduced H.R. 7330, twenty-four other bills were introduced in the House and ten bills were introduced in the Senate.
...does not hold much water with me. My children early on learned that "all the other kids are doing it" was not an excuse for their bad behavior. These other folks are not my representatives, you are. I hold you to a higher standard (a standard by the way that you do routinely meet), and expect better of you. You are a Texas Republican, by definition a champion of individual achievement and small government. Let the BCS issue shake out as it will and focus on defending our conservative values from the upcoming extremely liberal administration.


catfish said...

On one hand, it is ludicrous for a congress critter to assume they can stick their stinking paws into every aspect of our life, including college football.

On the other hand, every minute they spend on something as non-important as college football is a minute they are not messing with something I care deeply about, and the less time they spend imposing themselves on my daily life, the better.

So I'm torn. ;)

AlanDP said...

Any billion-dollar industry is going to generate a lot of revenue via taxes. Barton has just demonstrated the typical gov't drone attitude of: if we tax it, we should control it.

TexasFred said...

The United States Gun Owners Association is UP and running, you and your readers are invited!! We need ALL the help we can get!