The Spokesman-Review publishes once a week, “Outside voices.” a compendium of selected editorials from various newspapers. Of the one editorial that I wish to address today, this is from Newsday and a column published on 7 May 2009. Seems that Representative Joe Barton, R-Texas did not like how post-season bowl games were set up and broadcast on TV. According to this editorial, he declared that it was like communism and totally unfair to smaller colleges. So, in a session of Congress, seems Rep. Barton wants to set up rules for deciding what can truly be a legitimate championship bowl.
Not typically would I write about sports. I have no interest, I don’t even much watch the games on TV, let alone being willing to shell out the big bucks for a game, pre-season, during the season, or even post -season. However, to write about this, the implications to be had in the Newsday editorial, goes even beyond what Newsday itself was prepared to say, at least in the published excerpt.
TV and College sports are part of the entertainment business, and yes, it actually is a business. I will even further add that as a business it faces far more severe regulations than any other. Nor do the GOP in particular find regulations of entertainment to be particularly offensive as they might where polluting industries get shackled by environmental laws. Or mining companies get shackled by work place safety laws. Or construction businesses who feel they can only be competitive if the home you buy wasn’t built by American labor. Or you are convinced that the food you buy would “cost more” if picked by an American work force. In the above cases, those industries at least should have as few regs as possible to encourage their competitiveness and continued operations.
So, I found it to be extraordinary indeed when Rep. Barton, Republican of Texas decides that he is going to take away from private industry the right to set the rules on how, when and whether they will cover post-season games or championship bowls. And here is why:
I am sure that at one point Gonzaga U. of Spokane, Washington was a little known private college. But the sports team and head coach spent a lot of time, energy and invested money toward making the football team there into a contender that could play against better known colleges and universities. They did so on their own initiative, with a lot of effort and got the necessary respect and the television coverage to go with it; as they began to consistently win their games in various regional play offs. They have fallen short, certainly, but they have been good contenders none the less. Shouldn’t any lesser known college make use of the same initiative and all out effort to earn the same recognition without gvt setting the rules of coverage and etc.?
On the other hand, why make the effort if gvt does force the entertainment industry to cover their teams, no matter how poor they may be and how unlikely their teams might be to even enter regional play offs let alone championship bowls.
These were the implications that Newsday didn’t appear to get into. Gonzaga U. might be considered a “small college” in comparison to other well-established colleges and universities. But it didn’t need federal help to get proper television coverage.
Private enterprise: Wouldn’t Barton have been among those GOP who would have waxed incensed that the Obama administration would simply fire GM’s CEO—by calling it Communism? Or the federal $$$ flowing into the nation’s banks—by calling it Communism? But here he wants to force some kind of “equality” among how college sports are covered and etc. by the rules that he personally writes through the legislation that he personally introduces. As I understand this, a gvt that sets up these rules personally, that dictates how a private business operates and how it personally works (the entertainment industry as an example) with labor and customers or even affiliated businesses; and in this case college football and what will constitute legitimate championships as defined by law; is deemed a command and control economy. At least, that’s what the GOP were prepared to charge when the Democrats were in majorities in the House and Senate. But now, we are seeing from this Republican member of Congress a willingness to add a dash of command and control so that small colleges, those lesser known will have an “equal shot” at post-season bowls.
Newsday was entirely right to ask why, with more pressing issues on Congressional plates why college football as “big business” would take priority over more pressing issues. They could have gone further. They could have asked why a GOP who would have argued against the collectivism of unions, minorities, and feminists; would suddenly be for the collectivism of minor league colleges. This should have entered the lexicon of Ripley’s Believe it or Not.