THE BLOG

Congress Thrown for Another Loss

05/25/2011 02:55 pm ET
  • Bob Franken Syndicated columnist. Appears on MSNBC and is a member of SPJ Washington Hall of Fame

Those who are not sports fans will probably not know the term "BCS", or that it means Bowl Championship Series, or that it is highly controversial because it chooses a national football champion without the kind of playoff elimination games one finds in other major sports. Now you know.

Even though I am among those critics, it has become apparent that BCS should stand for "Ban Congressional Silliness". After all, what earthly reason is there for the members of the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection to get into the act by passing a bill and sending it further along the legislative process that would, and I quote "...prohibit, as an unfair and deceptive act or practice, the promotion, marketing, and advertising of any post- season NCAA Division I football game as a national championship game unless such game is the culmination of a fair and equitable playoff system."

In other words, the 30 or so members of this subcommittee apparently believe that Congress has enough room in its schedule, even with historic health care reform reaching crunch time, even with the economy tanking, even with Afghanistan and Iraq, even with all that and more, still, there is room to meddle in intercollegiate athletics.

First of all, it's probably unconstitutional. Second of all, it's not going to make it through the entire Congressional sausage factory. Third of all, surely President Obama wouldn't sign it if it did, because first of all it's probably unconstitutional, and last of all it's not only pandering but it's transparent pandering. We don't want to be transparent now do we?

To use a sports term, maybe this is really a way for the skittish members of Congress to run out the clock. If they can find enough meaningless work to do, maybe the session will expire before they have to risk antagonizing their voters with their decisions on the volatile issues they face...like the aforementioned health care and the wars and the economy.

Or maybe if they are forced to actually take a stand on these matters, maybe they can deflect attention so they can go back to their districts and proclaim that they had stood up to the national threat posed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association and its un-American way it does business with its oh-so-evil BCS system.

Perhaps it's useful to remember that the members of Congress have playoffs too. The next ones happen next year. That's when we can decide which ones are the winners trying to solve the nation's problems, and those who are just game-players...the losers.

Maybe next they'll submit a measure that bars golf matches that include philanderers. Then again, maybe not.