The words of LaVell Edwards. Not much has changed in 17 years.
What I want to talk about today are
dreams and opportunities.
All of us dream about the great accomplishments we want to
achieve in our lives. I have spent my life with young athletes
and I can tell you that dreams are the fuel that drives them to
excel. Now, there are dreams and there are fantasies. A dream
can come true; a fantasy can't. The difference is opportunity.
The problem with the Bowl Championship Series is that it
prevents student athletes at 54 universities from achieving the
dream of ending the season ranked number one. Being a national
champion is only a fantasy for these players. That is because
the BCS is stacked in favor of teams from their six-conference
alliance who alone can play in the national championship game
at a predetermined bowl game site. In fact, players from those
54 non-BCS schools are the only college football players who
can't compete for a national championship. Every other division
in college football allow and offer their players the
opportunity to compete for a national championship.
Mr. Chairman, the BCS system not only disadvantages some
players' ability to compete, but also negatively impacts all
bowl games. In addition, it creates a two-tiered recruiting
system, as well as an unfair imbalance between universities in
terms of revenue derived from football.
The national champion selection has altered greatly since
1984, the year that we won the national championship. Under
today's BCS scheme, that 1984 BYU team couldn't have played in
the title game. The system wouldn't have allowed it to happen.
Mr. Chairman, my fear is that if the BCS system continues,
the gap between the elite college football programs and the
rest of Division I-A football will continue to widen and many
universities will be forced to drop or alter their programs
I have talked today about the national championship game,
but another consequence of the BCS setup is a negative ripple
effect it causes for the rest of the bowl games. After locking
up the top four games, teams from non-BCS schools are shut out
from the next level of bowl games. The organizers of those bowl
games extend invitations to second, third, fourth, fifth,
whatever place in those alliance conferences, bumping the rest
of us from the opportunity of playing in some of these games.
Mr. Chairman, teams from the six conferences use a stacked
deck to their advantage, namely in recruiting, what some will
argue is the most important component of winning teams. At BYU,
a traditional recruiting hurdle was encountering PAC-Ten
coaches who would tell kids if they attended BYU, they would
never play in the Rose Bowl. Well, that was difficult enough to
After the formation of the 1996 Bowl Alliance, the
recruiting hurdle was set even higher. With the BCS in place,
PAC-Ten coaches and others could and would tell players not
only couldn't they play in the Rose Bowl, but they couldn't or
wouldn't play for a national championship game if they were to
choose to enroll at school in Provo, and they were right.
Mr. Chairman, over the past 20 years, parity has come into
college football because of fewer scholarships that are offered
annually. Many in the university community agree reducing the
number of scholarships per team has been good for the game.
Why, then, would the NCAA sanction a post-season system that
congregates more power and revenue in fewer teams? It is
inconsistent and counterintuitive.
The BCS system is not good for the game and it is not good
for higher education. Surely the NCAA and Division I-A football
can join the other 22 intercollegiate sports and devise a
system that determines a true champion, preserves the integrity
of the game, and levels the playing field.
Mr. Chairman, members of the Committee, right now,
teachers, counselors, parents across the country are telling
young men and women that if they work hard, commit themselves,
and never lose sight of goals and dreams, they, too, can become
a U.S. Senator. Every person in our country has that
opportunity to turn dreams into a reality. It is the reason
each of you is here today. The reason I am here is that because
of this flawed BCS system, talented young athletes are denied
an opportunity to make their dreams come true, and I believe it