Archive for Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Smith: Senator’s BCS request out of line

July 14, 2009

Some people take sports too seriously. I’m pretty sure I fall into that category.

But even I wouldn’t have the audacity to take some annoying aspect of mainstream sports and ask the Justice Department to investigate it.

Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch does though.

On July 7, Hatch went looking for some Bowl Championship Series justice in college football, claiming the BCS needed to be examined for what he considered to be violations of antitrust laws.

Now here’s a die-hard sports fan.

Honestly, there isn’t much to like about the BCS. It plugs polls and computer rankings into a point system to decide who plays in the national championship game instead of using some form of playoffs to determine a champion the way every other sport does.

College football isn’t perfect. We get it. But using the words “antitrust laws” and “BCS” in the same sentence smells like a bad joke at best and professional political pandering at worst.

Hatch’s home state Utah Utes went 12-0 in the 2008 season but weren’t ranked high enough in the BCS standings to play in the championship game (Florida and Oklahoma, both with one loss, played each other for the title). Utah responded by beating Alabama handily in the Sugar Bowl.

Guess that wasn’t enough for Sen. Hatch.

Who knows if Utah would have or could have defeated the national champion Gators or the Sooners, but this is a matter for the NCAA. Not the U.S. government.

As long as we’re wasting the government’s time, though, let’s put some other sports anomalies and injustices on trial.

I hereby call this meeting of the subcommittee to stop sports atrocities to order.

Why is everything — hotdogs, nachos, beverages, etc. — more expensive at the stadium? Fans just want something to munch on, we’re not interested in helping the vendor’s children through college and funding their post-graduate, soul-searching trek across Europe. Justice Department, this is a war against proper snacking. It must be stopped.

After all, I need affordable sustenance in my belly if I’m going to stomach nine innings of a Royals game.

Which reminds me, Justice Department, why are the Kansas City Royals always so bad? I want to party like it’s 1985 — or at least sniff the A.L. Wild Card every few years. Not only have the boys in blue not been to the playoffs since ’85, they have finished above .500 once since 1994 and have finished less than 10 games back of the division winner once in that same span (K.C. was 83-79, 7 GB in 2003).

Justice Department, this clearly is a conspiracy to waste the time of an entire metropolitan community and exterminate the ability to have hope in baseball. What’s next, Royals, are you going to pretend to be a first-place team through August then tank the last six weeks? Wait, that was 2003.

OK, Justice Department, I can see you playing on your BlackBerry. Just a few quick questions from the subcommittee before we close. Please take them under consideration and — if you have to — use the taxpayers’ money to find the answers.

Who helps rookies dress for the NBA draft?

Why is “SportsCenter” live every hour in the morning, when there is rarely breaking news and no games are being played?

Would Pete Rose be in the Baseball Hall of Fame if he had a respectable haircut?

Who are the scientists who make basketball backboards unbreakable? I want to see a dunk shatter glass in HD, not on a grainy, choppy YouTube video.

As the senator from Utah said: “Hopefully this hearing will open the door to have some people reconsider their positions. And if nothing else, the Justice Department ought to be looking at this.”

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