WASHINGTON, Jan. 17 (UPI) -- The NCAA has shot down the first plan aimed at revising the controversial Bowl Championship Series for college football.
The governing agency for college sports has said no to a proposal by the chief executive officer of Gateway Computers to hold a one-game, winner-take-all match up between Louisiana State and Southern California for the national title. That title was split at the end of the season when LSU was declared the champion in the BCS poll and USC in the Associated Press or writers' poll.
USC finished the season No. 1 in the coaches' poll this year but was not invited to the national championship game because it finished third in the BCS points standing. Oklahoma, despite not winning its conference, the Big 12, was No. 1 in the BCS poll after building up enough BCS points during the season and LSU finished second. The Tigers then beat the Sooners in the BCS title game at the Sugar Bowl, leading to the split title and further confusing the issue.
The coaches were contractually obligated to vote the winner of the game, LSU, No. 1 in their final poll. And therein lies the rub. The BCS, designed to insure a title game match up of the nation's top two teams, failed again because its ratings formula failed again.
Oklahoma and Nebraska would not have qualified for the title game in two of the last four years if a proposal preventing any team that did not win its conference title to be disqualified from the championship game were in place.
There has been an outcry from various sources, including fans and coaches, to revise the BCS to eliminate the chance for a split title in the future, and to get a head start on the future by having the two schools break the tie this year.
Gateway offered both schools $10 million each to play for a one-team title this year. If the schools had accepted, the company also would have put up an additional $10 million in scholarships for disadvantaged students.
The winner would have gotten an additional $10 million in scholarships, plus $1 million in Gateway technology products for use in academic and athletic programs.
In rejecting the offer on Monday, NCAA President Myles Brand suggested that Gateway was off base in its effort.
"Anyone who believes that higher education would jump at a cynical publicity stunt are mistaken and missing the point," said Brand, who has maintained staunchly that college sports are about student-athletes and not money. "This is exactly the type of inappropriate intrusion of commercialism that I warned the membership of. It puts all the emphasis on intercollegiate athletics as entertainment and erodes the critical concept that the welfare of the student-athlete is paramount."
Brand's comments came in a speech at the NCAA Convention, where he also warned about "potential disaster" if college sports continue to emulate the NFL by becoming too commercial.
"You obviously want to keep playing," said USC Coach Pete Carroll. "There's not an ounce of me that doesn't feel that way. ... There's still a process involved. I don't have the answer for it. I just like to keep playing. The more games the better."
"The current system may not be perfect but it is one that the Division I-A coaches continue to prefer," said Grant Teaff, executive director of the American Football Coaches Association. "Coaches also believe that all Division I-A teams should have access to a BCS-level game because it is important that student-athletes all have the opportunity to compete at the highest level."
The chances of Gateway getting its plan had little chance anyway because the NCAA prohibits schools playing games after Jan. 4, which, ironically, was the date of this year's title game.