Government Bytes


College Football Playoff Act of 2011 - Taxpayer's Tab Supplement

by Dan Barrett / /

This week's Taxpayer's Tab focused on H.R. 3638, Act for the 99%, which left us with some additional material that we're highlighting here.  This week's "Wildcard Bill" is H.R. 3696, the College Football Playoff Act of 2011.

The Bowl Championship Series is a collection of five college football bowl games for NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) programs with the top two teams playing in a championship game.  The goal of the BCS, which began with the 1998 season, is to pit the two best FBS teams against each other in an attempt to avoid a split national championship.  The selection of the top two teams is based on a combination of computer algorithms and polls.  The winner of the championship game is recognized by the conferences that participate in the BCS as the BCS National Champion.  Despite tweaks to the system over the years, the BCS has not been without controversy. 

That controversy – the failure to produce a champion via a true playoff system – has lead Congressman Joe Barton (R-TX) to introduce H.R. 3696, College Football Playoff Act of 2011.  H.R. 3696 would make it unlawful to promote, market, or advertise any FBS game as a championship game unless the game is the result of a post-season, single elimination system.  The same prohibition would apply to any merchandising associated with a championship game.  The Federal Trade Commission would be charged with enforcing the legislation under its powers dealing unfair or deceptive advertising. 

The College Football Playoff Act is a regulatory measure and does not authorize any new spending. However, it is unclear how the act would affect FTC spending or how federal education spending might be affected by a change in college sports programs.