Mark Cuban Tries To Shut Down Bowl Championship Series

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is attempting to bankroll a college football playoff system with $500 million. Trying to gather support from university presidents and state senators, his goal is to undermine the Bowl Championship Series. The legally scrutinized entity pits the champions of six conferences, as well as four at-large teams selected by computer and human rankings, into a series of meaningless exhibition games that concludes with a national championship.

CBS Sports reports Cuban’s plan is to offer participating schools financial incentive to commit to participate in a playoff format if they’re selected.

Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott tells CBS Sports that Cuban’s plan will fail, because schools won’t be swayed by money:

“It speaks to the power and popularity of college football that a successful businessman and innovator like Mark Cuban would have this level of interest in investing in college football.

“But the fact is that college football has never been more popular in its current format, and it’s a mistake to assume the impediment to a playoff is money. We could get a lot more money tomorrow from lots of folks by moving to an expansive playoff; this is about a broader set of priorities benefiting schools and student-athletes.”

How virtuous of the Pac-10 and the other power conferences, always thinking of its student-athletes.

It seems just about anyone who likes college football and isn’t on the BCS payroll wants to see a playoff. What do you think it will take to make it happen?

BCS boss downplays Cuban’s interest in paying for playoff [CBS Sports]

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  1. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Schools won’t be swayed by money?

    Bahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

    • rpm773 says:

      That evil laugh went right out of the grey comment box, behind the image of that red incredible hulk, off the side of my browser, onto the second monitor of my dual monitor setup, and right onto the floor of my office.

    • NashuaConsumerist says:

      That sir, is what I can an appropriate response!

    • sonneillon says:

      Agreed. Who gave this guy 500 million dollars?

  2. mac-phisto says:

    Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott tells CBS Sports that Cuban’s plan will fail, because schools won’t be swayed by money

    what he meant to say: “$500 million? that’ll barely get you a date with my secretary. we can start talking numbers when you quadruple the offer.”

    the problem is money – schools make millions every time they enter a bowl & the BCS ensures that even mediocre teams will get a chance at big money. this is especially important for the anchor teams of college football (teams like notre dame, penn state, florida, florida state, miami, michigan, etc., etc.). without their support, a playoff system will never take hold & unless you can promise a revenue stream for teams that won’t make the playoffs, this will never change.

    • noahproblem1 says:

      There’s an article on Yahoo this morning that disputes the idea that colleges make money from bowl games:

      http://tinyurl.com/28vvft7

      • mac-phisto says:

        there are a lot of flaws in that report & the stories it links to – except maybe this one: http://www.sbnation.com/2009/12/21/1645525/small-bowl-games-rob-peter-to-pay . the schools are still receiving millions of dollars – how they spend that money internally is up to them. if FL decides to reward its coaching staff with post-season bonuses of over $1 million, that’s their decision. if NE wants to spend it on taking their band to the bowl, that’s their decision. it doesn’t mean the school didn’t receive the funds, right?

        yes, ticket guarantees sink bowl revenue for smaller schools, but smaller schools don’t keep the bowl system in place. it is, as i said, ANCHOR TEAMS. for a better example, consider penn state vs. florida. both teams had barely winning seasons (7-5) & yet both will walk away with more than $3 million from this year’s outback bowl. & that’s not even including other revenue related to the event (such as merchandising). why are they even in a bowl? b/c millions of americans will tune into that game – they are two of the most watched teams in college football. the current system guarantees that they’ll get an opportunity to play.

        • prezuiwf says:

          Read the new book “Death to the BCS.” Among many other things, it describes how nearly all schools lose money on the BCS but AD’s continue to support it because they get special perks from it that make them individually rich.

      • u1itn0w2day says:

        These NFL farm teams; oops ment college football teams/COLLEGES make money just from the publicity alone. Forget the direct dollar amounts. Do you think if a school like Florida showed empty stands with less colorfull and ethusiastic fans that the actual school would get all the students they have.

    • Emperor Norton I says:

      You mentioned Penn State & Michigan, which are Big Ten schools. Big Ten schools throw all the bowl game money into a pot & it’s divided 11 ways. 12 ways after Nebraska joins up.
      So any school with a sucky football team [Illinois] still makes out like bandits when the other good ones go to a bowl.

    • TouchMyMonkey says:

      the problem is money – schools make millions every time they enter a bowl & the BCS ensures that even mediocre teams will get a chance at big money.
      This explains how the University of Louisville, a 6-6 team, can score a bowl bid in this day and age. A generation ago, they’d all be watching the much smaller number of bowls on television – AFTER Christmas.

    • KTrenholm says:

      There’s actually a great article in Sports Illustrated about a month back about how schools in minor bowl games actually lose hundreds of thousands of dollars if they choose to play in it. The only people that really profit are the people who run the bowl.

  3. rpm773 says:

    Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott tells CBS Sports that Cuban’s plan will fail, because schools won’t be swayed by money

    Oh, please. Someone with enough money could eventually make all those greedy fools put on tutus and dance while nickles are thrown at them. It’s not just the ones involved in sports, either.

  4. dblevins says:

    The current BCS is a farce — more power to him — remember the post-season games are ALL ABOUT THE $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

  5. Mr Grey says:

    But wont the athlete’s schooling suffer from a prolonging of the season? :)

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      Exactly, we’re dealing with college kids there for an education(at least in theory anyway). I know this is a heated debate on the sports talk circut but it’s a freaking game.

      Half the fan base are nothing but degenerate gamblers anyway. The other half is living their life vicariously through these fantasy leagues. If their real job sucks they should spend all that team stats research time on an education for another career.

      If anything they should fight to get an extra regular season game or two out of the NFL since they rape the season ticket holder on preseason games. The college bowl people are simply justifying yet another fund raiser for their pockets.

      It’s a freaking game.

      • mac-phisto says:

        i like college football & i neither gamble nor participate in fantasy leagues.

        i’m thinking there may be a problem with your math…

      • PSUSkier says:

        Wow, that’s quite the sweeping/ignorant generalization. You forgot about the real majority: those of us who like the game because it’s entertaining to us. Also, I have a wonderful job that I love, and only very rarely gamble with card games.

      • danmac says:

        Half the fan base are nothing but degenerate gamblers anyway. The other half is living their life vicariously through these fantasy leagues.

        I think you’re confusing college football with professional football. Most college football fans are normal people. In fact, I’ve never met another fan who bets on college football or plays in a college fantasy league. I personally play in several NFL fantasy leagues, so I would know if college leagues were as hugely popular as you purport them to be.

      • Skyhawk says:

        “Half the fan base are nothing but degenerate gamblers anyway. The other half is living their life vicariously through these fantasy leagues. If their real job sucks they should spend all that team stats research time on an education for another career.”

        Sounds like someone was always picked last at the playground.
        I don’t gamble and I’ve never participated in a fantasy league.

        Since I actually played college football, there is no reason to live vicariously through anyone.

        How about people watching just because they enjoy the sport? Oh wait, that wouldn’t fit inside the nice little boxes you so painstakingly construct for people.

        Just because you were the sickly kid that played the tuba instead of playing sports isn’t a good reason to denigrate the millions of people who watch football.

    • megafly says:

      Ha Ha. You don’t really think anybody actually cares about the student/athletes do you? That’s precious!

    • Skyhawk says:

      The BCS is the only NCAA football division that does not have a playoff system in place.
      All FCS (formerly Div 1-AA, which includes the Ivy league), Div. 2. and Div. 3 schools, seem to handle a playoff system just fine and are able to balance their athletic and academic commitments without a problem.

  6. jsl4980 says:

    The schools won’t be swayed away from the BCS because Cuban isn’t offering enough money. The whole point of the BCS is for the large conferences to get the most money while screwing over the smaller conferences. They collude to keep the small colleges and conferences down so he big guys can keep most of the money.

  7. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    The BCS is a moronic malaise of invalidity as it is. It was better 20 years ago when they were just separate bowl games, unconnected to each other and not purporting to produce a national champion.

    As Loais noted above, the very assertion that schools aren’t swayed by money is among the stupidest assertions ever asserted…it is the one and only thing that can be counted on to sway schools. However, I think trying to go head to head *against* the BCS bowls is a bad idea…

    My guess is that Cuban would be better off taking his $500M and approaching each of the bowl game organizations themselves, and talking directly to them about setting up a proper championship series. In effect, you need a playoff system – without some kind of a tournament, I don’t see how anyone can ever credibly labeled the “champion.”

    Off the top of my head, I think what you need is a series of non-bowl initial playoffs between, whatever, the 32 best teams in the nation by their year-end stats. 16 non-bowl playoff games seed 16 teams into 8 first-round bowl games…then you have 8 teams advancing to 4 2nd-tier bowl games – then you have 4 teams going into 2 semi-final bowl games, and then finally the championship game. Just like the NCAA basketball tourney, but I don’t think you’re going to do it starting with 64 teams…maybe you could, don’t know.

    FWIW I think that definitely the Rose Bowl should be the championship game…you could use the Orange Bowl and the Sugar Bowl for the semi-finals, and frankly there’s so many bowl games around I don’t think you’d have trouble giving them all a postseason game. At least then the 7-11 Slurpee Bowl would have some meaning as being part of a playoff system, instead of one of the games you flip past on the TV wondering WTF is that GD game supposed to be?

    • mac-phisto says:

      to be honest, i don’t think there’s time for that many games. if it were me, i’d have maybe the top 8 teams playoff & keep the invitational bowls alive for everyone else. this would allow for a playoff system as well as keep the opportunity for fans to watch their favorite teams around the holidays alive.

      the one requirement i’d have is that teams wouldn’t be able to play in both. if a top 8 team decides to play in an invitational, they’d have to give up their spot in the playoff series.

      • YouDidWhatNow? says:

        There’s plenty of time for that many games. It’s a 5-week progression – assuming you give the teams a week between games.

        First week of December – round 1, 16 games
        2nd week of December – round 2, 8 games
        3rd week of December – round 3, 4 games
        4th week of December – round 4, 2 games
        1st week of January – championship game

        Or move it and start in January, whatever.

        • mac-phisto says:

          two problems that i see with your timetable:
          1) 1st week of december overlaps with conference championships, so there’s no way you can do that. well, unless you create a new set of conferences & use the championship games as the first round. of course, then you’ll have to restructure the entire college football division & take all the power away from existing conferences. g/l with that.
          2) these are students, so there are some academic concerns (semester finals).

          moving it to january is a possibility, but i don’t know that you’d have the same draw considering the overlap w/ NFL playoffs. & that’s definitely something to consider – will advertisers pick up the time? will stations be willing to broadcast the games?

          i don’t think the invitational vs. playoff thing is as much of an issue as you think it is – technically, the BCS has that stipulation as well. every year, schools are invited to different bowls (typically b/c they have a conference option & a BCS option), but i can’t think of a team that has ever passed up the BCS opportunity. the solution there is easy – throw money at it.

          they haven’t been able to solve this problem for 100 years, so you & i certainly aren’t going to fix the issue, right? always fun to talk about it, though.

          • YouDidWhatNow? says:

            Well, having one game per week is the same rate of games anyway…so I’m not sure from the scholastic/athlete point of view it makes any difference when that set of weeks happens – doesn’t matter to me, I was just using Dec. as an example.

            Anyway, my point about the idea of having some invitational series vs. bowl games is that it doesn’t fix the situation. You’re never going to have a credible national #1 (or 2 or 3 or whatever) with a system that has teams opting for a bowl game instead of the invitational series. It would be no better than the current system that has everyone frustrated.

            I don’t see any way that any remedy will help at all unless the bowl games themselves are organized into a playoff series. The nation’s best teams simply can’t be choosing whether to compete in a tourney or compete in a bowl game…that choice has got to go.

      • YouDidWhatNow? says:

        Also, in the case you propose, you still don’t have a credible national champion. Because teams would be torn between the prestige of established bowl games, or an “official” playoff system, you would never get any kind of credibilty for your “champion.” It would be no better than it is now.

  8. c!tizen says:

    “Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott tells CBS Sports that Cuban’s plan will fail, because schools won’t be swayed by money”

    Free tuition for everyone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    …hahahahahahahahahaha hahahahahahahahahaha hahahahahahahahahaha hahahahahahahahahaha

    (I’m still laughing from before)

    Yes, colleges are motivated by money. Whatever gives them more revenue is the path they will make. Since most agree a playoff series would generate huge numbers for colleges, it would definitely fly.

    • mac-phisto says:

      it might generate huge revenues for the teams that make the series, but what about all the other teams left out in the cold? & more importantly – what about the poor old conferences? where will they get their payday from if they lose their relevance within the system?

      that’s really what’s causing a problem here – there are many popular teams that right now are guaranteed a berth year after year, despite their W-L record. & they’re simply not willing to give up their bowl opportunities.

  10. Southern says:

    I’m sorry, did I just accidentally flip over to ESPN.COM?

  11. Scuba Steve says:

    Basically: We know we’d get more money that way, but we wouldn’t win as much, and that would hurt our feelings.

  12. bravo369 says:

    I hope he succeeds. The BCS is one of the main reasons I cannot get into college football. I just don’t understand the logic behind it. Say a team’s star quarterback gets hurt and is out for 3 weeks at which the team goes 0-3. Once he comes back, they sweep the rest of the schedule. Everyone knows they are probably the best team but because of that 0-3 start when people were hurt, they don’t get a chance to win the title. Then there’s the whole thing about lack of respect to other conferences. There no doubt in my mind that one of these unknown teams from an unknown conference could make a run and knock off some major teams. it happens in every sport. Sports are about winning and losing and then knowing who’s the best. The BCS deprives the fans of knowing who is the best and who really earned the title

    • Gulliver says:

      That is not a valid argument., The same would happen in pro football. It is not who was best at any given time, IT is who was good enough to qualify through the season. I would also argue, injuries are part of football and those that handle them the best (win games) deserve the spoils.

  13. hicks says:

    The problem likely isn’t the colleges, it’s the individual bowls and committees that form those bowl games worried about losing their particular golden goose. A playoff system, contrary to these idiots’ thinking, would only make them MORE money, and beyond the 16 or 32 teams actually in this hypothetical playoff system, some marketing genius could make the rough equivalent of the NIT tournament that college basketball already uses. The top 64 programs all get a “bowl” or “playoff” game? Profit!

    I’m still looking for any fan, anywhere, at any time, that’s ever defended the BCS and its Byzantine setup. The networks are co-opted too, Cuban’s the only person rich (and wacky) enough to make waves and still get media coverage.

  14. wkm001 says:

    There is only one way to make all this change fast. The players for the smaller colleges will have to go on strike. But I don’t see that happening.

  15. Quake 'n' Shake says:

    I’m so tired of the playoff argument. Sure, it would be nice. But the lack of a playoff clearly hasn’t dissuaded fans from watching college football. Get over it already.

    • Mark S says:

      Exactly. The NCAA is swimming in money from the bowl games, why would they want to change?

      The biggest advantage that bowls have is that they are in a fixed location at a fixed date. The fans know 4-6 weeks in advance exactly where their teams will be playing so they can make plans and come out for the celebrations that surround most of the bowl games. The major bowls often have a week long celebration of activities for the teams and fans.

      In a playoff, the fans will not know where their team is playing until a week or so before the game. And if they have a successful team, they will be playing 4-5 games. Even the most die hard fan is going to have a hard time traveling for multiple games a week apart (and remember, the playoff games would most likely replace existing bowl games, so the games will NOT be played at home).

      • Quake 'n' Shake says:

        Precisely. For people who want to point to the basketball tournament, I’d like to mention that schools only get a couple thousand tickets for their team. Also, the arenas seat less than the bowl game stadia, so there are far fewer fans who travel to the site. Pretty much well-heeled fans are the ones who travel during the basketball tourney.

    • YouDidWhatNow? says:

      This gives me an opportunity to make one of my favorite quips…

      Success is not an indicator of virtue.

      Which is to say, the fact that you are doing well does not necessarily indicate that you are doing things *right*. It frequently indicates that you are doing well despite being an idiot. Or that you are simply sucking less than those you compete with. Or in this case, the fact that there effectively is no competition for you to suck less than in the first place.

      College football is popular because, well, it’s college football. There’s pro football, which has a set of fans, and college football, which has a set of fans…and naturally enormous overlap. People are fans of college football because they live close to a given college, or they are alumni of said college, or they have friends/family associated with that college, etc. That guarantees a fan base. In effect…you can’t screw that up. So long as a given college is actually playing football, they will have fans.

      The desire to have a cohesive program to determine a credible national champion in college football is a direct result of the fact that every college has a guaranteed fan base that will be there regardless of any other factors. Naturally, the more successful a given college program is, the more fans they gain…and as you are more successful, the more people start declaring you to be the “best.”

      And therein lies the issue…there is no credible way, currently, to actually validate the claim of “best” amongst college football teams. College football will never be unpopular, and as a revenue-generating sport, it will never be unsuccessful. However, college football can gain some “virtue” – some validity, some credibility – by enacting a proper playoff system to once and for all be able to credibly identify the best team in the nation.

      That’s all people want. And it has nothing to do with the “success” of college football – it has to do with it’s virtue.

      • Quake 'n' Shake says:

        Did you just turn this argument into a crusade of ideals? Impressive.
        Oh, by the way:
        So long as a given college is actually playing football, they will have fans.
        New Mexico St. would disagree with this.

        • YouDidWhatNow? says:

          Not anything so fancy. Just pointing out, and then apparently rambling too much about, the fact that you can be successful without necessarily doing things correctly.

          As for NM State football…I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that their bleachers aren’t entirely empty ;)

  16. AllanG54 says:

    I heard this morning that the NY Yankees are sponsoring a NEW bowl game…the Pinstripe Bowl, to be played at the stadium, I think on new year’s day. Soon there’ll be so many bowl games that teams that have only won one game will be playing in some sort of bowl game. Seems ridiculous to me. I remember when there were only the Rose, Sugar and Orange bowls.

  17. paul says:

    College football and basketball are a joke anyway. Just pay the players, shed the whole ridiculous “student athlete” nonsense and call them what they really are: minor league sports teams owned by a college or university.

    • VectorVictor says:

      I’ll see your unsubstantiated snark and raise you a school like Nebraska that has more Academic All-Americans than any school in the nation, consistently has a Top 20 graduation rate for it’s student athletes, and was at #1 or #2 in the Big 8/12 consistently in graduation rates for both football and as an Athletic Department as a whole.

      Oh, and incidentally, they’re the fourth most-valuable collegiate athletic property per Forbes.

      But don’t take my word for it–go try your snark on a man like Suh who donated money to both the athletic and academic portions of Nebraska and stayed in school to get his degree (as he was already a 1st round prospect his Junior year).

      Just because there are bad apples out there (Oklahoma, Texas, Miami, Florida State), just remember there are schools that have been doing it right for quite some time.

    • bravo369 says:

      Many players are already ‘paid’ since they are there on full scholarships. I would like to go to a school and have my $40K tuition a year paid for but alas, I took out loans. I would only be in favor of paying college athletes if sport scholarships were abolished and the max pay was the price of the tuition each year. I think that’s fair. Leave the true scholarships to those who excel academically.

      • Gulliver says:

        Well if you had a specific talent that brought in BILLIONS of dollars for the University, you would be allowed to be paid. You also can work any job you want (players can’t work during the season it is against the rules). you can also be persuaded to attend any school you want (an athlete must only speak to specific people about his future), you can actually work PROFESSIONALLY in your field and still not lose your scholarship.
        Sounds like you are bitter kids with talent are used like property for the financial benefit of their slave owners. By the way, those that say it is not slavery, I would argue slave owners “paid” them as well. They housed and fed them. Same thing the Universities do.

      • rmorin says:

        Student athletes bring revenue and attention to the University. They are not “paid” they just are not charged. As the previous person responded there are severe restrictions placed on there day to day life that no other students have. Please save your academic elitism for a situation where it makes sense.

  18. thatblackgirl says:

    I loathe Mark Cuban, but I hope he succeeds. The BCS is run by a bunch of haves who created this monster to keep the have nots away from their money.

  19. pythonspam says:

    “Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott tells CBS Sports that Cuban’s plan will fail, because schools won’t be swayed by money”

    Money means more than championships. Sure having a BC$ title is nice, but the financial rewards from ticket sales, alumni contributions, TV and endorsement deals are the real motivation.

  20. Press1forDialTone says:

    Everybody now: “What is this doing on Consumerist!!”

  21. MurderGirl says:

    He needs to get the 5 non-AQ conferences together to form the playoff and petition the NCAA to declare the winner the national champion in Division 1-A. Once that plaque is awarded, the other schools will be salivating at his door to get in.

  22. rmorin says:

    The dumbest part is you can still have lucrative bowl games AND a playoff system. BCS conferences do not want a playoff because it increases the likelihood that a team from a non-BCS conference is the national champion. This takes away the stranglehold of power that those top conferences have, which is the real reason there is resistance.

  23. tooluser says:

    “College”. Remember the Belushi T-shirt in Animal House. Heh heh.

    That pretty much summed it up for all time.

  24. davebu3 says:

    The BCS is successful because the schools and conferences are swayed by big payoffs…

  25. FrugalFreak says:

    KEEP BCS. Go SEC! We are a powerhouse BCS or not. This is just some winky dinky colleges wanting to play with the big boys.

  26. KTrenholm says:

    I’m so glad he’s going for this. The BCS system is an absolute joke. I mean come on, UConn is playing in a BCS game. Now personally, as a Uconn fan I’m stoked. But I still realize that them making it to a BCS game is complete BS. We’re gonna get vaporized by Oklahoma…