America's politicians and citizens are unable to agree on much of anything anymore. Still, there's one issue on which all decent, God-fearing, right-thinking folk, from the President on down, are of one mind: the Bowl Championship Series, which we all, every one of us, oppose. Am I right?
Honestly, it's easier to find someone who favors swine flu than the BCS. Because of that, committees in both the House and Senate recently assembled to condemn the despised system, with the Senate Antitrust Committee expressing its displeasure just yesterday.
Utah's Orrin Hatch, a Republican on that committee, has answered the nitpickers who whine Congress has more important things to worry about. He's said we all know college football is big business, and if that big business potentially violates the Sherman Antitrust Act, the Senate can't turn a blind eye simply because it's a sport. Hear, hear!
But tell me this, Senator Hatch: Why are congressmen so quick to come to the aid of university lobbyists but not university athletes, the poor laborers in college sport. Because just as the BCS is unfair to certain colleges, the NCAA is an evil overseer to its athletic minions. The NCAA invariably sides with athletic departments and coaches, denying student-athletes basic rights and honest remuneration, even as programs bring in huge sums of money -- including the very BCS riches congress wants colleges to enjoy.
And now the NCAA has actually sanctioned the use of student athlete images in video games. When the NFL union did likewise, retired players sued and won more than $26 million. College athletes deserve the same. Compensation for use of their likenesses, compensation for booming sales of their replica jerseys.
As this billion-dollar business booms, the NCAA clings to the outdated Victorian concept of amateurism in order to keep powerless athletes -- many of them indigent minorities -- under its thumb. And because amateurism is a sham, the NCAA wittingly underwrites hypocrisy, because it knows athletic department boosters fill the vacuum with illegal under-the-table payoffs.
It'd be silly if it weren't so sad. If only Gilbert and Sullivan were still around to make nonsense of the nonsense the NCAA foists on us:
"So they're never, never, never paid to play.
What, never, never?
Well, except uh...
Then give three cheers and one cheer more.
For the generous boosters and their poor amatoors!"
If only some of the congressmen who are so keen to lend a hand to big, endowed education and its rich ticket-buying alumni cared as much for the unrepresented, poor athlete.