The BCS And NCAA Co-Exist For The Betterment Of College Football

Aug. 15, 2006

While on the surface it might appear that the BCS and the NCAA have nothing in common and are mutually exclusive, in reality the two organizations co-exist for the betterment of college football. There would be no BCS without the NCAA.

The NCAA--college sports' governing body--does not conduct a championship for Division I-A football. So the BCS, or Bowl Championship Series, was established in 1998 to determine the national champion by matching the best teams at the end of the season

Until the early 1990s, the selection process for major bowl match-ups with affiliated conference champions was disorganized and in many cases resulted in a chaotic situation. The BCS developed a system that allows the selection process to be completed at the end of the regular season and creates better match-ups.

The BCS consists of the Rose, Sugar, Orange and Fiesta Bowls and the BCS national championship game (hosted on a rotating basis by those four bowls). Those bowls joined with the Atlantic Coast, Big East, Big 12, Big Ten, Pacific-10, Southeastern Conferences and Conference USA and the University of Notre Dame to form the BCS.

The BCS structure has elevated the possibility of excitement in college football. But, at the same time, it is done within the framework of the bowl system that has been an integral part of the tradition and success of college football. Look no further than last season's Rose Bowl between No. 1 USC and No. 2 Texas as an example of the BCS at its best.

But the BCS couldn't operate without the NCAA's regulations, a long-standing, member-instituted structure that determines things such as player eligibility, academic standards, institutional competitive equity, playing rules, recruiting principles and rules compliance.

The NCAA exists, in the case of the BCS, as stated in NCAA Article 2.2.15: 'The conditions under which postseason competition occurs shall be controlled to assure that the benefits inherent in such competition flow fairly to all participants, to prevent unjustified intrusion on the time student-athletes devote to their academic programs, and to protect student-athletes from exploitation by professional and commercial enterprises.'

Furthermore, Division I teams can only play in post-season bowls that have been licensed by the NCAA, in which numerous conditions and requirements must be met.

So, to think that the NCAA has no jurisdiction over a Division I-A football champion, as determined by the BCS, is erroneous.

For instance, a team could go undefeated for an entire season while ranked No. 1 in the human and computer polls, yet it couldn't play in the BCS Championship Game if it was deemed ineligible for post-season competition because of an NCAA rules violation.

The BCS bowls games, including the BCS Championship Game, couldn't occur without the NCAA.

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