College Football Goes to Capitol Hill?

Between the health care debate, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the persistence of the recession, Congress has a lot on its plate right now. Which is why it totally makes sense that a House subcommittee spent time this Wednesday approving important legislation aimed at making college football teams switch to a playoff system.


The Associated Press reports that the new law “would ban the promotion of a postseason NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision game as a national championship unless it results from a playoff.” Maybe I’m not the most qualified person to be writing about this, since I’ve read that sentence ten times and I still have no idea what it means. Even though I’m from Pittsburgh, a city that proudly calls itself “a drinking town with a football problem,” I have been to exactly one professional and one college football game in my life. I didn’t know until a few minutes ago that the “BCS” was a thing, or that Congress had any say in how college football works.

But I know one thing: Georgia Representative John Barrow, who cast a dissenting vote only after saying, “With all due respect, I really think we have more important things to spend our time on,” is totally right. Even the head of whatever the BCS is, Bill Hancock, thinks that Congress “has more important issues than spending taxpayer money to dictate how college football is played.”

Maybe the House is just spending time worrying about sports because they want to try to fix something they actually can fix—inventing a better system for college football must be a lot easier than passing a health care bill that Democrats and Republicans both can agree on. Hell, college football may be the only thing both parties can agree on. But even if we can get both sides of the aisle to come together for an issue, this particular one makes our government look pretty bad, PR-wise.

Sure, it’s not like they’re sitting around reading “My Pet Goat” while the world is crashing down around them, but there’s still got to be a better way for state representatives to spend their time.

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