HOOVER, Ala. — Let me start by saying that I really like Bill Hancock. He has worked for the USOC for several past Olympics (summer and winter) that I’ve covered and he’s one of the few individuals a media person can always count on to get information and help cut through international red tape on issues.
But Hancock now is a likable guy with a thankless job: He is the executive director of the BCS.
I believe his second choice for employment was environmental spokesperson for BP.
Hancock opened SEC media days with a 15-minute power point presentation. He started with an unintended joke: “I’m going to tell you how [the BCS] works and why it works.”
He went on to talk about how college football “never has been more popular.” And, “Since the BCS was created, attendance and TV ratings have soared.” And (this might be my favorite): “We have the best sport, hands down. Why monkey with that?”
See, here’s the problem: Logic screams that college football has grown in spite of the BCS, not because of it.
The growth of college football can be traced to an increased presence on television, more dollars flowing into the sport than ever before and more higher profile coaches elevating programs to the stature of small nations or major corporations.
The fact college football has a flawed postseason system has nothing to do with its boom.
So I asked Hancock: What tells him that the BCS is directly responsible for college football’s growth?
His answer: “That’s a good question. That’s one of the things I thought about during my run this morning. I don’t think there’s a lot of intuitive evidence, hard evidence [that the two are related]. But attendance did begin to rise when the BCS was formed. Could it have been a coincidence? It could have. But we know the game has become much more of a national game because of the BCS. It’s not fair for us to take all of the credit for everything or get all of the blame for everything. But I don’t think it was just a coincidence.”
I’ll give him credit for a creative, albeit vague, answer.
But for what it’s worth, after his power point and a brief Q-and-A, I’m not sure that he convinced anybody in the room.
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