Dick Harmon: Greedy BCS shows its colors again

Published: Friday, Dec. 10 2010 11:51 p.m. MST

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany

M. Spencer Green, Associated Press

This week, fans of college football learned just how greedy the BCS blue bloods are over their lucrative sandbox.

Give BCS money to the little guys?

See TCU in the Rose Bowl?

Blasphemy.

It irks these guys. Grates on them like fingernails on a chalkboard. No holiday cheer at all.

Public pressure and threat of anti-trust action led to the Rose Bowl tweaking its longtime pact to take the Pac-10 and Big Ten champs. Thus, here comes TCU to Pasadena instead of Pac-10 runner-up Stanford.

This week, we learned just how ticked off the elite are over sharing the pirate loot. Commissioners of the so-called big conferences issued a stern warning to the non-BCS leagues: Enough is enough, during a dialogue panel discussion.

At the IMG Intercollegiate Athletics Forum in New York City, commissioners of the Big Ten, Pac-10, SEC, Big 12 let it out, they're sick of sharing what they believe is their entitlement and are weary of being put in a defensive posture before Congress and the media.

The discussions were extremely revealing.

"Don't push it past this because if you push it past this, the Big 12's position is we'll just go back to the old (bowl) system," Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe told journalist Brett McMurphy of Fanhouse.com. "You're getting the ability to get to places you've never gotten before. We've jerry-rigged the free market system to the benefit of those institutions and a lot are institutions that don't even fill their stadiums."

And this from Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott:

"The six (BCS) conferences have bent over backward and tried to be politically correct to their own detriment, probably further than they had to, maybe should have."

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany, who created the BCS, was especially loud, and kept to his bully reputation. According to reports, on numerous times, Delany interrupted WAC commissioner Karl Benson with condescension.

Benson admitted, "The BCS has provided greater access. Look at 120 schools, 11 conferences and to establish opportunities for those student-athletes. To play on the big stage, we've been to the big stage. ...

"The problem," Delany interrupted, "is your big stage takes away opportunities for my teams, to play on the stage they created in 1902."

In other words, Delany's teams created college football. Is that what we are hearing? Somebody tell Delany TCU won two national titles before Ohio State had one.

More Delany whining.

"We gave up the Rose Bowl, the SEC gave up access to the Sugar Bowl, others were included but they never had access to any of this before. You have to understand who brought what to the table. Who's continuing to give and who's continuing to get."

Benson, responding with Utah, Boise State and TCU going 4-1 in BCS bowls (the only loss by TCU was to Boise State), said: "I think the group of five (non-automatic qualifying BCS conferences) has established value in the last five years."

Then the comeback by Delany:

"The notion that over time by putting political pressure on, it's just going to get greater access, more financial reward and more access to the Rose Bowl, I think you're really testing. I think people who have contributed a lot have, what I call, 'BCS defense fatigue.'

"If you think you can continue to push for more money, more access to the Rose Bowl, or Sugar Bowl. I have tremendous respect for Boise and TCU. ... I think they are tremendous teams that can beat any team in the country on a given day. I think the only question is, 'Does one team's 12-0 and another team's 12-0 equate?' And that's where the discussion plays out, not whether or not they're elite teams or deserving access to the bowl system."

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