College Football Playoffs: For Anyone Who Was Curious (12/16/06)

An email sent to the BCS organization:

Why is the idea of a playoffs so unappealing? Division II and Division III schools all use playoff systems to determine champions and there's never any controversy.

I can't imagine that the idea of having a 4-team playoff would be met with stiff resistance. That would also greatly reduce the possibility of a worthy team not playing for a championship (which has happened every year since the inception of the BCS save two, when there were two undefeated teams, which a 6 year old could say were the best two teams in the nation). Why is that so difficult to undertake?

Thank you for your time,

Derek Mendes, Rochester, NY


Dear Mr. Mendes,

Thank you for getting in touch. You bring up some very good questions, especially about a college football playoff. It's not a matter of a playoff being unappealing. It's simply that the people with the power to institute one do not want it. I'll try to explain the reason there is not a playoff.

In order for an NCAA Division I-A Football Championship to be established, the NCAA Division I membership must consider such a proposal through its normal legislative process. As of this date, legislation to establish a I-A championship has not been considered by the membership.

Through the years there have been several efforts through NCAA channels to address the subject. In 1976, a proposal to establish a Division I-A football championship was introduced on the recommendation of a special committee that had studied the feasibility of a playoff. This proposal, however, was withdrawn and there was no discussion on the Convention floor. A resolution was presented during the 1988 Convention that stated the Division I-A membership did not support the creation of a national championship in the sport of football, which passed by a vote of 98 in favor, 13 opposed and one abstention.

In 1994, a blue-ribbon panel was formed to gather information regarding the viability of establishing a Division I-A football championship. The panel forwarded a report to the NCAA Presidents Commission; however, it was decided that the NCAA would not pursue a Division I-A championship.

When Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive was asked about a playoff, his response was as follows: "There really is no interest exhibited presently by our presidents or chancellors or many others in having a playoff. "

As for your other concerns, the BCS has been honed over the years, and while we certainly realize no system will ever be viewed as perfect by everyone, we feel it is fair.

And we certainly appreciate your opinion and respect your right to express it.

We hope this helps.

Sincerely,
BCS