Why no playoff in big-time college football? Talk to college presidents or chancellors — the people who have the ultimate say in the matter — and they'll tell you that a playoff would conflict with the academics of student-athletes.
If you believe that, I have land to sell you with a choice view of Chernobyl.
As Brent Schrotenboer of the San Diego Union-Tribune writes, many of the bowl games already cut deep into the academic calendar.
Twelve of the 14 teams playing in bowl games before Christmas had some kind of scheduling overlap with final exams and practices. Navy, which plays in Thursday's Poinsettia Bowl, had players practicing at 5:45 a.m. this week because final exams started at 7:55 a.m.
Brigham Young and Fresno State, which play Saturday in bowl games, had final exams Monday-Thursday of this week.
Bowl Championship Series title game participants Auburn and Oregon will have started their second semesters when they tee it up Jan. 10. Duck players will have missed a week of classes when the game starts.
The big problem: In 1996, there were 18 bowl games over 15 days. Now there are 35 over 24 days.
Get a load of some of the quotes that Schrotenboer managed to dig up from conference and university honchos:
- "In 1994, Southeastern Conference Commissioner Roy Kramer said university presidents opposed a playoff because they 'have major concern in extending the season into the second and third week of January' and the start of the new semester.
- "In 1996, Ohio State President Gordon Gee said he was against a playoff system because it 'violates the principles of academic integrity for institutions by extending playing time.'
- "In 2003, [Graham] Spanier of Penn State said, 'We're skeptical that a national champion could be determined through a playoff format without intruding on student-athlete academics and welfare. A playoff would extend well into the second academic semester quarter. It would affect the academic integrity we're all trying to achieve.'
- "In 2009, Nebraska Chancellor Harvey Perlman said postseason playoff reform wasn't really possible 'without interfering with the academic calendar or impinging on the academic missions of our universities.'
- "Also in 2009, Oregon President David Frohnmayer, then chairman of the BCS Presidential Oversight Committee, stated he favored the bowl system because an alternative playoff system 'disrespect our academic calendars.'
Frohnmayer is now teaching at Oregon and won't be able to attend the BCS title game because classes begin on Jan. 3.
At least somebody is doing something in the name of academics.
Thanks to Image of Sport.