Congressman Bruce Braley says congress shouldn’t try to referee a dispute that’s raging among college football fans. A Republican congressman who represents a part of Texas that includes the campus of Texas Christian University is pressing for legislation that would require a playoff system for major college football.
T-C-U is unbeaten this season and T-C-U supporters are upset they’re not facing a higher-ranked team in a major post-season bowl game. Braley sits on a subcommittee which held a hearing on the issue this week. “I have no expectation that congress is going to take up any legislation this year to deal with this issue,” Braley says. “We have much more important problems than trying to sort out the national championship for NCAA football Division I.”
Teams like T-C-U and Boise State say their athletic programs would reap higher rewards — and more revenue — by playing in a major bowl game against a top-ranked team. T-C-U and Boise State were invited to face-off in the Fiesta Bowl. “I’m one of those people who’s concerned about out-of-control spending in university athletic programs, so that’s why this is not as high a priority for me,” Braley says.
“But for institutions that believe that they are entitled to participate in a national championship process that leads them to greater marketing opportunities and greater revenues for their athletic departments, it’s a significant event.” According to Braley, there are potential “anti-trust” concerns in big-time college athletics.
“But, you know, there’s also avenues available other than federal legislation to address those concerns because college athletics is not currently exempt from anti-trust legislation,” Braley says. “So the courts are equipped to handle those types of disputes and I would prefer that that would be where any concerned schools would turn if they wanted to challenge the underlying basis of the existing bowl system.”
Braley, a Democrat from Waterloo, graduated from Iowa State University and then earned a law degree from the University of Iowa. Both schools were invited to bowl games. Iowa State will play in the Insight bowl in Arizona, while Iowa is part of the “Bowl Championship Series” and will play Georgia Tech in the Orange Bowl.