College Football Playoff Selection Committee: $50+ Million Dollar Decision

After giving this some hard thought and consideration after the announcement of the future College Football Playoff (CFP) and the selection of the 13 committee members who have been given the honor to make a $50+ MILLION dollar decision, I have decided to post a comment.  Since I did sole author and self publish a book “College Football in the BCS Era, The Untold Truth: An Analysis of Factors that Supports the 16-Team Playoff Model, which examined the selection of 16 FBS programs from a utilitarian aspect, with no vested interests, no bias, no favortism and considered all eligible FBS programs to be considered and reviewed to be selected and seeded into the field of 16, I am more than qualified to offer some expert-like analysis on this topic. This groups selection to this committee is to definitively select, without bias, 4 FBS programs out of 127 FBS programs to compete for $50+ million dollar and be called the 2014 NCAA Men’s FBS Football National Champion. How can this group of committee members provide a Stuart Mills approach when selecting these 4 FBS programs, knowing fully that every BCS/AQ conference and member will always be in the forefront of their mindset?

I am not sure if many of our sports journalist are aware of the ever changing landscape within college football, but starting in the 2014 FBS Football season, there will be 127 FBS programs with the addition of Old Dominion to the CUSA and Appalachian State to the Sun Belt Conference. By 2015, there will be 128 FBS programs with the addition of UNC-Charlotte to the CUSA. By the 2014 FBS season, we are entrusting this committee of 13 members with no political ties, to select just 3.1% of the field at the FBS football program level, who compete under the same level of the NCAA, to compete in the first “so-called” College Football Playoff and an extra $50+ Million Dollars. The most interesting finding is, all 127 FBS teams compete under the same NCAA umbrella, play by the same rules but are classified and separated by athletic budgetary lines. Those who have the money will be significantly given consideration to increase that revenue by participating in this style of playoff format. Sounds very Democritus to me.

The ultimate question that needs to be addressed is, the qualifications of this 13 member panel in which they were elected to make the ethical decision to select the right 4 FBS programs, without bias, making sure their relationships with other athletic directors, head coaches, conference commissioners; especially the power conference brokers such as Commissioner, Mr. Mike Slive; from the SEC (Southeastern Conference), Commissioner, Mr. Jim Delaney from the Big 10 and BCS Chairman, Mr. Bill Hancock out of the back pockets and keeping their ears to make sure their conference programs are considerably looked at to compete for the first ever CFB playoff format. On Thursday October 17, 2013; the local newspaper Greater Hazelton Standard Speaker, published an article written by Blair Kerkhoff from the Kansas City Star ” College Football Playoff committee officially unveiled”. The list was announced and published the 13 member committee who will have the job of making the selection. Examining this committee at first, we notice high profile names who are serving in roles as current athletic directors or past athletic directors & head football coaches,  a Lieutenant and former superintendent in the United States Air Force Academy, the NCAA executive vice president, a vice chancellor, a big name NFL and NCAA quarterback legend, a big name basketball commissioner, a USA Today sports writer and professor and ex-Secretary of State.

With all due respect to those selected to be part of this very difficult process and selection, I can foresee that all four spots will be filled with BCS/AQ programs.  The 67+ Non-BCS/Non-AQ programs will have to meet or exceed some lengthy criteria which will never be met since, its possible that this selection committee can be influenced by their higher centers of influence and relationships within their conferences, since $50+ million dollars is on the decision making line. The names were revealed and they are:

Mr. Jeff Long: Arkansas Vice Chancellor, Athletic Director and CFP Committee Chair(SEC and BCS/AQ member) BCS/AQ leads 1-0 on the panel.

Mr. Barry Alvarez: Wisconsin Athletic Director(BIG 10 and BCS/AQ member) BCS/AQ leads 2-0 on the panel.

Mr. Pat Haden: USC Athletic Director (PAC 12 and BCS/AQ member) BCS/AQ leads 3-0 on the panel.

Mr. Oliver Luck: West Virginia Athletic Director (Big 12 and BCS/AQ member) BCS/AQ leads 4-0 on the panel.

Mr. Archie Manning: NFL Great and Mississippi Alumni (SEC influence and BCS/AQ influence) BCS/AQ leads 5-0 on the panel.

Mr. Tom Osbourne: Former Nebraska Head Football Coach, Athletic Director and Congressman (Big 12/Big 10 and BCS/AQ member). BCS/AQ leads 6-0 on the panel.

Mr. Tom Radakovich: Clemson Athletic Director (ACC and BCS/AQ member). BCS/AQ leads 7-0 on the panel.

Mr. Tyrone Willingham: Former Head Football Coach for Notre Dame, Washington and Stanford (IND & PAC 12 influence with BCS/AQ member) BCS/AQ leads 8-0 on the panel.

Mr. Tom Jernstedt: Former NCAA Executive Vice President and Oregon graduate (PAC 12 influence/BCS member) must remain impartial. BCS/AQ leads 9-0 on the panel.

Mrs. Condolezza Rice: Ex Secretary of State, Stanford Professor and former Stanford Provost (PAC 12 influence/BCS member) BCS/AQ leads 10-0 on the panel.

Mr. Steve Wieberg: USA Today Sports Writer and Missouri graduate (Big12 and SEC influence/BCS member). BCS/AQ leads 11-0 on the panel.

Mr. Mike Tranghese: Big East Commissioner and retired (Non BCS/Non-AQ member and AAC influence) One of two members for the NON-BCS/Non-AQ members. BCS still leads 11-1 on the panel.

Lieutenant General Mike Gould: Former Superintendent of the United State Air Force Academy (Thank you for your service to our great nation), (MWC and Non-BCS/Non-AQ) One and only active member to argue and debate for the Non-BCS/Non-AQ programs to get one spot in the playoffs. BCS/AQ programs win the panel votes 11-2.

The most immediate thought that came to my mind is; were these members selected based upon knowledge and experience as being part of a football playoff selection committees previous or name credibility/recognition based upon names associated with the committee to provide the College Football Playoff (CFP) viability and recognition to ease the fans request to some form of a NCAA college football playoff format? While reading the published article, Jeff Long, Arkansas AD said “we represent all of college football” (Kerkhoff, 2013). If you represented all of college football then would there no be EQUAL representation among the selected members based upon BCS/AQ and Non-BCS/Non-AQ, compared to a significantly weighted towards the BCS/AQ conferences and programs. Further quotes by Jeff Long state, “In this task, we don’t not (that’s how it was printed in the article) represent any one school, conference or region. Each of us will represent college football in its totality” (Kerkhoff, 2013). Jeff Long goes on to being quoted by Kerkhoff as saying ” when we serve on this committee we’re expected to check our loyalties and affiliations at the door” (Kerkhoff, 2013).  It seems to me that the Arkansas AD has 13-15 direct phone numbers, all SEC and BCS related, that can call him and influence his decision making process when making a final selection. My thought is, how can these committee members check their loyalties at the door and be impartial when the outside influences have direct access to their phone number and email address to directly, but indirectly make comments or suggestions to or on. The ultimate test will be for Mr. Jeff Long and the other committee members, is to their integrity to the conference, ethical decisions making skills, testing their higher centers of influence, especially if any of these athletic directors wish to advance their careers or change FBS schools, and by making the right and fair decisions to select the 4 programs who earned their way into the playoff format.

With all due respect to USA Today’s Sports writer; Mr. Steve Wieberg, I am curious how your “covering 250-300 college football games not watching them as a fan but more analytically” (Kerkhoff,2013), qualifies you to be part of this committee? Covering and writing about those games, which I can definitively say that 95% of them are BCS/AQ games, does not make you an expert, just a writer doing a job. Me personally, I have examined  and analyzed multiple categorical variables and variables within variables to author and publish my book to select a group of 16 FBS programs, and even then there were some tough decisions to make on the seeding and selection process. When you examine 25,000+ data points from 1996 to the present, within college football at the FBS level, and not just the games you covered, then please talk to me. Facts are the facts. Decisions like this should not be influenced by name and program recognition, but selected and seeded based upon accomplishments and outcomes by the student athletes who participate and make split second decisions in games and the coaching staffs who make timely adjustments during the game or during the week to prepare their team for games on a weekly basis in this 12-game college football season.

One committee member, in my opinion, has no business being part of this committee. With all due respect to Secretary of State; Mrs. Condoleezza Rice, how and why were you selected? Is this the At-large, un-bias selection committee member who can keep the legal aspects of the decision making process in the forefront, staving of any possibility of an antitrust lawsuit from the Non-BCS/Non AQ members and conferences against the power brokers of college football? She was a politician and lobbyist as well, she can use her legal influences, charm and communication skills to persuade committee members too.

Yes, the names selected gives the committee name recognition credibility only, but no true validity to the selection of 3.1% of the field. There are many questions that need to be addressed before this committee is to convene and  to start making the $50+ Milllion dollar decisions. Yes, there decisions are going be tough ones, tougher than determining if the student athlete is eligible to play, did we meet compliance this week, are there any recruiting violations, which TV contract are we getting this week and so forth. This committees toughest decision is how can they remain true to all 127 FBS programs in a Stuart Mills approach, without being swayed, convinced and bias to their own conferences, programs and alma maters.

The ultimate objective of this committee is to select the right and “just due” 4 FBS programs, not the most notorious programs based upon what the so called “experts” from ESPN, FOX, USA Today, CBS Sports, NBC Sports, Yahoo Sports or any other sports affiliates who show, print or televise multiple college football shows and experts say during the season. Experts who use the “crystal ball” method to select who will win the game, who should be ranked and in which order and who will be playing in the BCS National Championship Game in January 2014, when all the games have not been played. If I had known, they were seeking applicants to be committee members, I would have submitted my vitae and book as evidence to be considered as a committee member.

My objective was not to slander or make light of these 13 members on the committee, but to significantly point out to the sports world and fans, that this committee is BCS/AQ HEAVY and that every college football fan knows that the first 4 FBS programs selected and seeded, will be BCS/AQ programs. Thus, not considering any of the more than qualified Non-BCS/Non AQ program, whom will again, will be on the outside looking in again and again. Did not the BCS process prove that the Non-BCS/Non AQ programs are not allowed to play on the same playground as the BCS/AQ programs when it comes to competing for the national championship? Have the fans not seen enough of the bias towards BCS/AQ conferences and programs in direct relationship to the (2) human subjective voter polls bias and BCS/AQ manipulation of the 6 computer programs. Seems to me that the Non-BCS/Non-AQ programs are just as deserving to compete for the 2014 NCAA Men’s FBS Football National Championship as the rest of the 127 FBS programs. I guess we will have to wait and see when the first 4 seeds are announced in over a year from now. Observing how the influence of sports writers, sports television shows, major television sports companies and the so-called “experts” use their microphones, air waves, televised shows and print, to verbalize the subliminal messages at the 13 committee members to select who they think should be the first 4 teams.

Kerkhoff, Blair. (2013). “College Football Playoff committee officially unveiled”. Greater Hazelton Standard Speaker, Thursday, October 17, 2013. Page B4.

 

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