Frequently Asked Questions: The BCS presidential oversight committee

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Notre Dame's Rev. John Jenkins is one of 12 university presidents on the current oversight committee. (


What's all this, then? The BCS presidential oversight committee convenes in Washington today to deliberate college football playoff plans proposed by the conference commissioners last week.

The what, now? There are a lot of moving decision-making parts controlling the college football postseason; the BCS doesn't actually begin and end with Bill Hancock (even though he gets to say all the fun stuff). From the organization's mission statement: "The conference commissioners and the Notre Dame athletics director make decisions regarding all BCS issues, in consultation with an athletics directors advisory group and subject to the approval of a presidential oversight committee whose members represent all 120 Football Bowl Subdivision programs."

So who's in charge here? Virginia Tech President Charles W. Steger is the ACC's rep and chairman of the committee.

Anything special we need to know about him? According to Virginia Tech, Steger "has been asked by the Swiss Ambassador to the United States and The World Bank to serve on a committee to establish a foundation in the United States to conduct research on mitigating global natural disasters."

So he'd be great at steering America away from a plus-one postseason, right? Hiyo!

Who else might we be hearing from? Steger is joined on backing vocals by the following 11 gents:

- Tulane University President Scott Cowen

- University of Notre Dame President Rev. John Jenkins

- University of Florida President Bernie Machen

- University of Southern California President Max Nikias

- University of Idaho President Duane Nellis

- University of Nebraska Chancellor Harvey Perlman

- Northern Illinois University John G. Peters

- University of Texas President Bill Powers

- University of Louisville President James Ramsey

- Western Kentucky University President Gary Ransdell

- California State University-Fresno President John Welty

Oooh! Twelve Angry Men jokes! Think more along the lines of the dilemmas of the Oresteia. Nikias teaches ancient Greek drama at USC in his spare time.

But Perlman is definitely Juror No. 11, correct? Yes.

May Vandals coach Robb Akey's mustache inspire Idaho president Duane Nellis and his fellow committee members. (AP)


It's really sweet that they let the University of Idaho have a voice in this decision. Listen, if Nellis spends his every spare moment in Washington trying to maneuver the Vandals into a new conference home, he can hardly be blamed. We just hope he's brought along a glossy photo of Robb Akey's mustache. No red-blooded American can resist that natural wonder.

Where have we heard Jenkins' name before? This is the guy who stirred up a bit of a tempest when he invited President Obama to deliver the university's spring 2009 commencement address. His official school bio responds to the criticism he received, explaining that "Father Jenkins has continued his call for civil discourse in our nation [...] as a way to find common ground rather than demonize those with a different opinion."

But demonizing those with a different opinion is pretty much what college football is all about! True, but every playground needs a monitor.

So what's to discuss? Can they just vote? Not really. Beyond aye-ing or nay-ing the plan produced by the conference commissioners' meeting, numerous sticky issues need to be worked out: If current BCS bowl sites will host semifinal games, how will that rotation work? What will be the bidding process to host the national title game? If a selection committee is the way to go, who will be on it? And who selects the selectors?

Hey, we're asking the questions here. Sorry.

Also, how much longer can these guys even call themselves the "BCS" when the BCS is about to no longer exist?Andy Staples has some suggestions (we like the one with John Tesh), which we imagine will be discussed in a manner resembling a scene from Dark City.

Might we as a nation be walking into a trap where all bowls save the Rose Bowl are abolished by a sleeper unit of Big Ten/Pac-12 agents? It's entirely possible. Apart from Perlman and Nikias, at least five other committee members have major ties to one conference or the other: Machen worked at Michigan and got his doctorate at Iowa. Welty got his master's at Michigan State and worked there. Nellis has two degrees from Oregon State. Peters earned his Ph.D at Illinois and worked at Nebraska. Powers attended Cal for undergrad and taught at Washington. The seven of them combined could wreak havoc on less-perfumed postseason contests.

Is there still a possibility we could end up with an all-Bowden selection committee?