mind your business

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Congress Bill To Force College Football Playoff

Photo by the USMC

Okay. Seriously? I promise to get back into doing posts that affirm and defend a proper theory of government and liberty rather than just complaining about the effects of a false theory of government (or just as likely, a complete lack of deeper thinking at all), but I just could not believe my eyes when I read this today. Popular on this morning was an article which said of college football:

It is also the only major sport that doesn’t use a playoff to determine its champion, which is the source of much debate pretty much every year. And for the last couple years, we’ve had lawmakers trying to influence the process, saying that the NCAA should have a playoff for college football.

Seriously(!)? I continued to read through the article and found a link to another on (from barely a month ago on December 10th) and was horrified at what I read:

Taking aim at a BCS system he said "consistently misfires," a member of Congress planned to introduce legislation Wednesday that would force college football to adopt a playoff to determine the national champion.

Rep. Joe Barton of Texas, the ranking Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, didn't specify what sort of playoff he wants -- only that the BCS should go.

He said the bill -- being co-sponsored by Reps. Bobby Rush, an Illinois Democrat, and Michael McCaul, a Texas Republican -- "will prohibit the marketing, promotion, and advertising of a postseason game as a 'national championship' football game, unless it is the result of a playoff system. Violations of the prohibition will be treated as violations of the Federal Trade Commission Act as an unfair or deceptive act or practice."

Leaving aside the issue of whether or not the NCAA should have a playoff to determine its national champion, how on earth do three congressmen actually think it's their legitimate role to regulate sports? Are our leaders really so out of their minds that they think they are justified in controlling every aspect of our lives? I guess I missed the section in Article I of the Constitution that gave Congress the power to regulate college sports. I guess these three congressmen missed the part in the 10th Amendment that says powers not specifically enumerated for the Federal government are reserved to the states and the people.

Barack Obama has also been vocal in his support for an NCAA playoff. When I read in the articles above that Obama was in support of one, I imagined that he had simply expressed his opinion and not indicated that he was actually going to do something about it as president. But watch the interview below, where he is asked specifically what he would do about it as president. He reiterates his position and says "I'm going to throw my weight around a little bit. I think it's the right thing to do." You are absolutely wrong, Mr. Obama. Using your office and power to coerce a private national sports organization into taking an action you think is best is the absolutely wrong thing to do, even if you're correct in thinking they should have a playoff.

Don't they have something better to do? As I've pointed out again, and again, and again, our leaders are no longer interested in what is legal or constitutional. Rule of law has disappeared from our country and while it may not seem like it on the surface, we have descended perilously close to a state of anarchy. If you find that talk alarmist, my response is that you ought to be alarmed. If you find that talk inaccurate, please comment and tell me the proper response to and appraisal of news items such as these. If you think I need to calm down, my response is that you need to get excited. This matters. These flagrant violations of our law and constitution matter. This is one of the biggest issues of our day and we as patriots and lovers of liberty need to make it an issue and hold our politicians to account for their actions.


Ben Bryan pointed out to me that by "throw my weight around" Obama could mean only that he intends to speak out on the issue and levy his popular influence as a president to affect a change in policy, rather than make it a point of his legislative agenda. That's fair enough. I should give him a little more benefit of the doubt. I certainly hope this is the case. We'll just have to wait and see when he talks about it some more. I'll be sure to keep you updated here at Humble Libertarian.


  1. I have no problem with Obama if he was to force the NCAA to create a playoff to determine an official winner. Else College football is based on opinion poles, instead of sheer logic. The job of governement is to do the will of the people. The majority of people want a play off system. Therefore it should be done. As unimportant as this issue is. If anyone in congress was a vote against it, it would cause a huge uproar from their constituents. By forcing a playoff system, this will prevent the thousands of arguments between fans, that can often end in acts of drunken violence.

  2. There are several issues being conflated here. We need to untangle them.

    Perhaps it does make more sense to create a playoff system. But it does not follow that the government should therefore make that happen.

    For instance, it might make more sense for Apple to allow multimedia text messages on its iPhone (which will be coming later this summer, btw).

    But that doesn't mean the government should intervene to require Apple to provide this feature. That would be a violation of Apple's freedom.

    You write that "The job of governement is to do the will of the people." I would disagree with this statement. The job of the government is to protect the rights of the people.

    In fact, rather than exist to execute the will of the majority, government exists to protect the rights of minorities from forcible interference by majorities.

    Feel free to read more on that in my essay, "The Problem With Democracy."