Congress Would Save Taxpayer Dollars By Probing College Football

Utah Utes University College Football

Photo: Flickr/Brenton Walker

Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff wants to sue the leaders of college football’s BCS. On Wednesday, he traveled to Washington and appeared before the US Justice Department to recommend a BCS Probe, the Salt Lake Tribune reports.The issue beings in his home state, because the University of Utah has twice finished undefeated and twice been denied the chance to compete for a championship. This year, the Utes are 8-0.

BCS President Bill Hancock says, “It’s hard to imagine a bigger waste of taxpayer money than to involve the government in college football.”

Actually, it’s hard to imagine a bigger waste of taxpayer money than the current BCS system.

In their recent book Death To The BCS, three Yahoo! Sports columnists conclude that universities leave more than $600 million of television, sponsorship, and gate revenue on the table by sticking with the despised BCS system.


  • On average, $5,000 of students’ tuition money goes towards college athletics, Dan Wetzel told us. 
  • Participating teams lost money in 21 of the 35 bowl games.
  • Bowl games get taxpayer subsidies: the Sugar Bowl alone took $3M from the State of Louisiana in 2008.
  • Even big athletic departments use general university funds to balance their athletic department budget. (Wisconsin needed $3.4M at last count.)
  • 99 Division I public schools needed a combined $826 million in government subsidies to balance their books in 2008.

If college football were to switch to a playoff, these shortfalls would be covered by the $600M in new revenue.

Government already is involved in college football. It’s time for taxpayers to get the champion they pay for.

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