Mountain West Conference commissioner Craig Thompson has taken his league’s fight for a more equitable Bowl Championship Series to Capitol Hill.
Congress is in recess, but Thompson met with the senior staffs of seven members of the House of Representatives on Thursday and was scheduled to talk to Senate staffers Friday.
Thompson said he hopes to raise awareness about what he views as problems with the current system. He added he will send a proposal for changes to the BCS system to the conference commissioners within the next two weeks after presenting it to the MWC’s board of directors. He would not reveal details of the proposal.
“We are here (in Washington) on behalf of our member institutions and other member institutions of the BCS and really college football fans in general, and certainly the players that compete at this very high level and who compete to play in the very highest bowls,” Thompson said. “Our proposal is for a more equitable system.”
The MWC does not receive an automatic bid to the BCS, and its argument for inclusion became much stronger after the 2008 season, when three teams (Utah, TCU and BYU) finished the season ranked. Utah went undefeated, earned an at-large BCS bid and beat Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. But Thompson was concerned that the Utes, who also went unbeaten in 2004, did not seem to have a true shot to play in the national championship game.
Thompson, who spoke to reporters on a conference call Friday morning, also revealed the MWC has not signed ESPN’s BCS proposal for 2011-2014, which would keep the MWC as a non-automatic qualifier.
The MWC hired Arent Fox, a lobbying firm to help navigate the halls on Capitol Hill. Asked if he’s feeling resistance from the current automatic-qualifying BCS conferences, Thompson said, “Certainly, we’re not the most popular kid in the room. I understand that. But we think we’re trying to help college football fans and institute a more equitable system for all of college football.”