Barton and the BCS

BARTON AND THE BCS…. Barack Obama continues to share some of his concerns about the “Bowl Championship Series” and the need for a college-football playoff, and it appears he’s not the only policy maker with an interest in this.

Texas Rep. Joe Barton — a Texas A&M grad and Aggies fan — agrees with Barack Obama about the need for a real college football championship game.

To that end, the top Republican on the Energy and Commerce Committee is introducing legislation “To prohibit, as an unfair and deceptive act or practice, the promotion, marketing, and advertising of any post-season NCAA Division I football game as a national championship game unless such game is the culmination of a fair and equitable playoff system.”

I can appreciate folks taking an interest in sports, and given recent events, I can imagine why football fans in Texas, in particular, are unhappy with the system. But I think Barton’s interest is getting a little out of hand.

Back in December 2005, the Republican-led House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection — which refused to hold substantive hearings on much of anything — scrutinized the BCS. In December 2008, Barton unveiled a bill to force the NCAA to institute a playoff system. Now, the conservative Republican has a new bill to limit the use of the phrase “national championship game.”

In defending his hearings on the subject a few years ago, Barton, then-chairman of the full committee, said, “Man doesn’t live by policy alone. Sports is an important part of American society.”

Perhaps, but it’s certainly not this important. If Obama wants to use his bully pulpit to apply some pressure on this, fine. The BCS is stupid and some presidential nudging would make fans happy. But let’s remember that it’s a decision about a game for colleges to make, and maybe Barton can find some other issues of interest.