Congressman Joe Barton (R-Texas) and Congressman Steve Cohen (D-Tennessee) today announced the formation of the Congressional Collegiate Sports Caucus. This bipartisan caucus will examine pressing issues facing college sports -- especially issues that undermine the integrity of some of our nation's most prestigious, tax funded academic institutions. The Congressmen also announced legislation they authored that will advance the push for a legitimate college football championship as well as a letter they sent to the Executive Director of the Bowl Championship Series (BCS).
"College athletics has transformed over the past several years into a billion dollar business and its reach far exceeds the campuses where it is played. Many of these colleges are publicly funded and we need to make sure taxpayer dollars are being used properly," said Congressman Barton. "Letting computers decide which schools will play for a national championship and reap the financial rewards goes against everything fair competition stands for. But the issues facing college sports go far beyond the football field, recent stories about sex scandals and poor graduation rates show we are failing student athletes' at the most basic level. I am pleased to join Congressman Cohen in an effort to make sure the honor of our favorite college sports and the students who play them is preserved."
"I am pleased to join with Congressman Barton in this bipartisan effort to preserve the integrity of one of our nation's most important pastimes, collegiate sports," said Congressman Cohen. "From the Bowl Championship Series' gross mishandling of the college football "national championship,' to the sex scandals and cover ups, to poor graduation rates, the integrity of our nation's academic institutions is being compromised by the corrosive mismanagement of college sports in this country. In particular, I look forward to working to create a playoff in college football that doesn't rob public universities of millions of dollars a year in revenue and rob the American sports fan of a true national championship."
The newly formed caucus will serve as a formal group of members dedicated to issues related to collegiate sports and will serve as an educational tool about this important subject. The first task of the Congressional Collegiate Sports Caucus will be to examine the BCS. In its brief 14 season history, the BCS has become by far the most maligned sports regime in the United States. This well-deserved distinction is a result of the BCS' inherent inequality, which robs the American sports fan of a pure, fair national championship in the form of a playoff system. More importantly, the BCS misappropriates revenue to the benefit of the major football conferences. This is unfair to all the publicly funded universities that are left out in the cold.