Tuesday morning, Big 12 commissioner and BCS
chairman Kevin Weiberg spoke to the membership of the
Football Writers Association of America at its annual
awards breakfast and meeting, held at the
Marriott Marina hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in
conjunction with the FedEx Orange Bowl, the BCS
championship game. The following is a transcript of
Mr. Weiberg's presentation and question-and-answer
session, as provided by ASAP Sports.
for a .pdf version of the transcript (6 pages)
WEIBERG: Well, good morning, everyone. I'm
fighting a little bit of a cold here, so I hope my
voice holds up, or at least that's an excuse not to
have to answer too many questions this morning.
I do appreciate the opportunity to be with you, and
I thank all of you once again for your coverage of
college football. We certainly understand that the
exposure that you provide for us is very beneficial to
us, even though you don't always write things that
maybe we agree with or we feel are overly
complimentary of what's going on in college football.
Nonetheless, we know you're an important part of the
public's view of what we do, and I'm pleased to have a
chance to interact with you a little bit this morning.
I do want to make a few comments about the Bowl
Championship Series before I open it up for questions,
and I'll do that in just a moment. First of all, I
want to say thank you to ADT for their support of
college football. That's much appreciated. Those
security services are ones that I think I'm valuing
more and more based on the email that I've been
getting from fans around the country (laughter) and
some of those kinds of things.
Let me just say a few words here at the outset
about the Bowl Championship Series. I think that there
has been so much written and said about it in the
course of the last several years that sometimes a
little bit of perspective maybe drifts away from what
this is all about, and I wanted to take this
opportunity to make a few comments about, at least
from my perspective and those of my colleagues who are
involved in the day-to-day management of it, what the
BCS is and what it is not because a lot of things get
assigned to it on an annual basis, and if you'll
permit me to do that, and then I think I'll open it up
for some questions.
Some of this is pretty rudimentary, but I thought
it was important to say it. First of all, the BCS is
an attempt to match the top two rated teams at a Bowl
Game at season's end without extending the length of
the season, at least in terms of the number of games
that are played. This is something that has occurred
as you know on a somewhat infrequent basis prior to
the creation of the BCS, and I think it's very
important to remember, even though this is a very
simple matter, that tonight's game would really not
have been possible prior to the BCS. In fact, I think
I've told several of you that I've talked with
individually that it's very likely without this
structure we would have had these three teams spread
across three different Bowl Games, and that's
something we shouldn't lose sight of.
In addition, the BCS I think is a system that is
complementary to the overall Bowl structure. Only four
games are a part of the BCS structure. There are 24
other Bowl Games presently, and those games do provide
meaningful season-ending opportunities to teams.
I've watched many of these games in the last
several days, and I've attended some of them, and I am
struck by the celebration that occurs around each and
every one of those games, and also the fact that the
teams that win those games end their season in a way,
at least if you're present – I know I was able to get
down to the Texas locker room in Pasadena afterwards.
It felt very much like winning the championship for
that team and that coaching staff, and I think that's
repeated really across the Bowl system on an annual
The BCS also without question places great premium
on the regular season of college football, and it
really is of great importance to us that the regular
season remain strong and vibrant. I think it's
important when I think about that to remember also the
economics of college football a little bit because
unlike the NFL, much of our revenues that are
generated that support athletic programs across the
board come from those regular season revenues. Ticket
sales and related game day revenues are very, very
important to us, and they are really driven by that
regular season schedule to a large extent.
I know in my conference, the college football
weekend is a very important part of the overall
institutional experience, not just what occurs in the
athletic department, and without question these
college football weekends remain a significant part in
bringing alumni and others back to our campuses.
Now, a few things about what the BCS is not. It is
not a playoff system. It is not designed to do
anything more than attempt to match the No. 1 and No.
2 teams through the Bowl system and to reward
conference champions with a major Bowl berth at
season's end. I have to tell you, I really do not see
an NFL-style playoff coming to college football any
As you know, we have an agreement in place now with
Fox Sports for a television agreement with the BCS
through the 2010 season, and I think it's very
important to note that the ABC Television Network has
an agreement with the Rose Bowl through 2014, and as
you all have many times reported, college presidents
and chancellors have really expressed no interest, at
least up to this point, in the expansion of the
post-season in terms of additional games in that
The BCS is also not a corrupt system, as a few have
said and reported recently. All 11 division 1-A
conferences participate in the management of the
structure and decisions regarding things like the
components of BCS standings formula are determined by
vote of that group with approval by a presidential
oversight committee whose representation cuts across
all 117 division 1-A programs.
It is also not an exclusive system that rewards
only a few. The University of Utah demonstrated this
year that a team from a conference without an annual
automatic berth can have access to a BCS Bowl Game,
and that was even under the previous system of
rankings in terms of qualification for that structure.
As you know, as we go forward into a future
agreement that begins the year after next, access has
been expanded significantly for teams without an
automatic berth and revenue sharing in that future
structure, 18 percent of the net revenue will go to
conferences that don't have an annual automatic berth.
In the first 8 years of the BCS structure, which
will end with next year's Bowl Games, over $40 million
will have been provided to conferences that don't have
an annual automatic berth in the system. You have to
put that in some historical perspective in the sense
that in particular, these particular Bowls, there has
never been a structure of revenue sharing that existed
prior to the Bowl Championship Series.
As we roll forward with new levels of access and
revenue sharing, that money could grow to as much as
$70 million for those conferences in the future.
Now, we have a lot of work to do in this
off-season. That probably goes without saying. We
clearly have issues to deal with relative to the
standings formula that has been used to determine the
1-2 match-up and also some of the access points in the
We also have to continue to work to address the
future automatic qualification provisions for
conferences, which will be a significant part of the
work ahead of us here in the weeks and months ahead,
and we have work to do relative to incorporating a
fifth game into the structure, which has been the
model that has been approved, and related associations
that will flow from that.
We have a significant amount of work to do as we
implement a two-network model for the BCS structure
with both Fox and ABC having an involvement.
It's a pretty full plate over the course of the
next 90 to 120 days. I don't know that we'll have all
of those issues resolved in that period of time, but I
think you can see that the agenda is not just about
figuring out what to do, for example, with the
departure of the AP Poll from the system. There's a
lot of other things to do.
Once again, I very much appreciate the chance to
speak with you today. I think at this point I'm going
to open it for your questions.
• • •
Q. You've been quoted about the concept of having
some sort of committee structure, the 1-2 –
(inaudible). I know all the arguments are against it
now given the AP decision to pull out. Is that going
to be a discussion, and are you personally –
KEVIN WEIBERG: Addressing the latter part, I
think I'm very interested in it. Obviously we have to
do something at this point with the standings formula,
and I can see some merit that could exist around a
committee structure, although I think it will have to
be carefully designed and it will have to be a really
good set of responsibility structure for such a
committee, but I'm interested in it.
As I told Malcolm the other day, I'm not prepared
to endorse it because I want to hear more about the
discussion with my colleagues, and I think we
certainly need to take a look and see whether there
are alternatives in terms of whether there is another
poll that could perhaps be plugged into to the spot
that was there for the AP poll. Nevertheless, I think
it's an idea that has to be reviewed.
I think the second part of your question was just
the timetable. I think it is one that we're going to
have to move on here with some urgency. We want to
obviously do the best job we can to try and think it
through, but ideally we'd like to be in a position by
April and have a pretty good sense of where we're
Q. Given the focus of what they're doing, how much
pressure is there?
KEVIN WEIBERG: I think it would be a tough
assignment, and as you know, I've served on the
basketball committee and have a sense of just the
pressures that you're under relative to that
assignment, picking out large teams, 34 and 35, the
seeding process, et cetera, and I know I have respect
for those of you in this room who participated as
voters in the AP Poll this past season and I know the
kinds of issues that surrounded that process. I don't
believe it would be an easy assignment, and I think my
sense is, though, there would be people that would be
willing to serve and that care a lot about college
football, that have been tied to it in the past, that
are part of institutions now that would likely step
forward. Nonetheless, I think it would be a tough
KEVIN WEIBERG: I think that's a fair
statement, at least as I have thought about it
conceptually at this point. I don't believe a
10-person committee, which is I believe the basketball
committee structure, would probably work in a football
Q. So 20, 30, 40, is there a number?
KEVIN WEIBERG: Not really. We have not begun
yet to put anything to paper or really to sit down and
talk about it.
Q. Is too big an argument given – (inaudible). Is
that true in your judgment, and which one is bigger?
If it all came down to one, which one is frankly the
KEVIN WEIBERG: Well, I think clearly since I
work for presidents and chancellors, I can't set aside
the importance of the presence of college presidents
and chancellors. Without a doubt they set direction in
college sports these days, and as long as there
remains a strong objection to exploring expansion of
the post-season, that's a significant stumbling block.
I think you know that.
At the same time, even among many commissioners,
coaches, there is a great desire to see the Bowl
system sustained as we go forward, and I think that
both of those really are ongoing dual issues that are
problematic to the player structure.
I know many people talk and write about the need
for a playoff, and I do receive a lot of emails, and
by saying this I hope it doesn't increase to even more
emails about playoff ideas, but I have yet to really
see one, in my own view of it, that is one that I
think is workable in terms of the multi-tiered NFL
style playoff structure. There are a number of
complications associated with logistics of such a
structure when you start talking about multiple
Q. Are you concerned about the TV ratings being
down for the BCS games so far this year?
KEVIN WEIBERG: I didn't see the overnights
from last night, but I thought we actually did fairly
well on day one. You have to remember that the Rose
Bowl last year had the great story surrounding
Southern Cal and the interest and that being really
for all practical purposes a second championship game.
So from my perspective I thought the Rose Bowl rating
was a pretty darn good number.
We certainly knew that the match-up with Utah and
Pittsburgh could be one that would produce a slightly
lower rating this year, but I thought the game held
its own fairly well. I think we have a chance
depending on what happens here tonight to be in not a
bad spot coming out of these games.
I think you also have to put it in perspective of
the overall network television situation these days.
To produce the kinds of numbers that we're producing
in terms of audiences is still a pretty strong
position when you look at other types of major
Q. If it really is the way y'all decide to go,
would you decide to pick one versus two or do all the
KEVIN WEIBERG: That's something I don't know
the answer to at this point. I think there is a range
of options related to it. Clearly the one and two
match-up I think would have to be such a
responsibility. You could also have a committee
involved in determining a pool of at-large teams for
possible selection by the Bowls, or you could
theoretically stop at one and two and give more
responsibility to our Bowl partners to select teams at
that point, but I think all of those things we're
going to have to take a look at.
I do not envision, at least from my own
perspective, a committee structure that would be
involved in making Bowl match-ups or actually
selecting teams to fill the positions, because I
believe, once again, that this is a system built
around Bowl Games, and it's important that Bowls have
the opportunity to select teams that make sense for
them inside that structure, particularly with the
exception, of course, of the 1-2 match-up.
Q. I don't know that anyone uses the word corrupt
to describe the system, but I think a lot of us have
concerns about the transparency of the coaches' poll.
What's the use of the coaches' poll from your personal
KEVIN WEIBERG: I think that's a fair
question, and I've said throughout the course of this
year, for my own personal preference, I believe those
votes should be public. To Grant Taft's credit, I
think he continues to work with the Coaches'
Association to try to move in that direction, at least
as it relates to the final poll of the coaches, and I
think that could well be an important part of our
decision-making process as we weigh the alternatives
between a committee structure as opposed to continuing
with some sort of a poll system.
Q. What is Grant doing specifically?
KEVIN WEIBERG: I know that Grant spent a lot
of time through the course of this season talking to
actual voters, and in fact, it's my understanding that
they did give some consideration in this particular
year to releasing their final vote, and it was
rejected I think by a very small margin. I know
they're planning on coming back and revisiting that at
their upcoming meeting, so I think it is going to be
front and center on their agenda.
Q. What has been talked about to replace the AP
Poll, if anything, and can you envision a deal where
the coaches and the rankings alone, is that enough?
KEVIN WEIBERG: I've already said, and I
would repeat here again today, personally, again, we
haven't had a chance to sit down as a group yet and
discuss these issues. Personally I don't believe that
the coaches' poll and a combination of computers is
sufficient. I think something else is going to have to
You all are very much aware of the issues from this
season, the pressure that voters felt they were under.
That would only seem to me to be enhanced and even
more focus placed on the coaches' poll if we were to
try to move in a direction that would only make use of
that poll and some sort of computer component.
Q. Has anything been talked about what could
KEVIN WEIBERG: Oh, the AP Poll? We really
have not had that chance yet to sit down and talk
about it, so it's one I probably shouldn't speculate
about at this point because we haven't had a chance to
visit about it.
Maybe I'm overly optimistic about this, I think
that's my nature, I think there might be writers out
there that would still be interested in participating
in some fashion. It might have to be more of a hybrid
approach that might involved perhaps writers or might
involve others who have been part of the sport
historically but are retired from positions. It might
be something that would look different. I don't know.
That's all the types of things we have to give more
thought to. But we have not had a chance to discuss
Q. Regarding your optimistic nature, I just
wondered, what have been your observations of the
public level of satisfaction of the system in the
years you've been commissioner and now chairman?
KEVIN WEIBERG: Well, I think the public
angst is certainly reflected by the coverage that the
system received has continued to grow regarding it.
Just reflecting back on the time that I've been around
it, you know, the first few years we had issues that
were controversial at times, who was playing in the
system or whatever the case may be, but it didn't seem
to rise to quite the level of scrutiny and criticism
that is out there at this point. We have not taken any
public opinion polls, so I can't really give you any
scientific evidence of how the public may feel about
I do know that it's not unusual to have fans of
teams who don't access the system to complain about
it, and I would have to say that I think our people
that are involved in the management of the BCS are
realistic enough to know that whatever system we have
in place is likely to still produce some of that
For example, even if we have the so-called plus-one
model this year, I think there would have been a
tremendous amount of debate and controversy about four
and five, which we had anyway inside the system. So
I'm not naive enough to think that I'm going to
eliminate criticism by moving in a different direction
or eliminate concern about the system.
Q. Talk about the transparency with the coaches'
poll. Would a committee-type thing, would that be an
anonymous vote and do you foresee problems that have
KEVIN WEIBERG: That's a fair question and
one that would have to be thought through. First of
all, as you all know, we still are going to have a
need in whatever system we have, even with a
committee, to have some sort of standings, because
access points for conferences without annual automatic
qualification are still tied to reaching a certain
access number, so it would be very likely that even in
a committee structure, there would have to be some
sort of published standings. How often it would occur,
I don't know, and then the issues you raise about
votes of individuals on a committee being public I
think would have to be thoroughly discussed.
Q. Is there any kind of an agreement with Fox
that at some point – (inaudible). Is there room in
there for you to do that
KEVIN WEIBERG: Well, I think, again, if you
talk to the network people, and I know you do
periodically and you saw the coverage regarding our
coverage negotiations, it's no secret that every one
of the folks we talked with would prefer to see us
move in the direction of some sort of a plus-one type
of approach. That was a very uniform message
throughout our television negotiations. Interestingly
enough, even from those networks who didn't appear to
have a high level of interest.
I do believe that that was being expressed to us
also to say to us that there's probably more revenue
associated with that kind of a structure. I know
there's also been a lot written that says that we're
only in this for the money and a lot of decisions get
made by our presidents and those involved in the
management that don't just run toward trying to
maximize the dollars. That's probably the clearest
immediate example of that because I think the networks
do have interest in a model that would look more like
a playoff structure of some sort.
Q. Basketball committee is still – there's a
lot of prestige of getting on it, and athletic
directors seem to want to be on it. Why do you sense
or have a feeling for whether active ADs would
participate in a committee because the whole idea of
retired coaches and athletic directors just sounds a
KEVIN WEIBERG: Well, I think you would have
to have some participation of people that are
currently involved in a direct way, and I think that
representation would have to cut broadly across the
conferences, so I don't envision such a structure
having only six conferences represented, for example,
but I think perhaps there could be a combination of
those approaches that could make some sense, but once
again, that's just my own personal thinking about it.
We have not had the benefit yet of a chance to really
sit down and talk about it.
Q. Are you optimistic about getting much of this
hammered out in Dallas?
KEVIN WEIBERG: Well, no, I think the first
meeting – you're talking the upcoming meeting?
KEVIN WEIBERG: No, I think we're just going
to begin to get a sense of how people are thinking
about it. I've read individual commissioners quoted as
saying this or that up to this point, but I really
haven't had a chance to sit down in a room and find
out where the consensus may be, if there is one, and I
think maybe we'll get an idea of that, but certainly
we won't have time given the other issues that are on
our table in a half-day meeting to get into those
kinds of details about the structure.
Q. What are the chances do you think as far as
maybe moving into a plus-one? What would convince the
presidents to do that?
KEVIN WEIBERG: I don't know. You might be
better served asking presidents the latter part of
Certainly I have said that the model that we've
taken forward in the future structure is one that is
potentially friendly to that kind of movement, but
there are a host of other issues that have been
surrounded, I think not the least of which is how
would teams fill spots that would feed such a game and
what about historical conference relationships to
certain Bowl Games. Would that have to be altered in
some fashion? Those are not insignificant questions
that really go beyond our – even if the president
said we have interest in this, check it out, those
would be things to work through.
Q. Do you sense any – (inaudible) – on that
KEVIN WEIBERG: Even in my own conference, I
told you I would have presidents that would be open to
thinking about it and interested in at least exploring
it, but that differs greatly by conference.
Q. A few presidents even expressed such
dissatisfaction as to say they're embarrassed –
(inaudible). They've said maybe we should just go back
to the old system. Is that a minority opinion or is
that just a reaction to everything that's happened?
KEVIN WEIBERG: I think it is a minority
opinion at this point, but remember, the feedback that
we get is from a small group of presidents who
represent the broader constituency, and I can't
pretend to speak for how 117 division 1-A presidents
might be thinking about it.
But yeah, there is a sentiment out there, maybe
just some fatigue, dealing with these questions on an
ongoing basis, and I think there are many that would
say – maybe not many, but there are certainly some
that would say if our only alternatives are to move
toward extra games, it really would be better to just
return to an older system. I don't know how realistic
that is, but I've heard some of that talk.
Q. We've heard a lot of talk today about all the
different constituents as presidents, networks, et
cetera. I'm just wondering, has there been any process
of surveying any players and asking them whether
they're happy with the system that's in place or would
they prefer a playoff?
KEVIN WEIBERG: There has been some actual
survey done on a conference-by-conference basis
because also we're thinking about 12 regular season
football games on an annual basis. That is a
legislative proposal that my conference has put
forward, so there has been some of that occurring. Not
surprisingly, I think you would all suspect this,
players like to play games. We've done some surveying
around our conference championship game, as well, to
get feedback from our players, and players like big
games, they like to play.
Now, there is some feedback from players that are
worried about the grind of the number of games, the
overall number of games, and I think when you start
getting past 14 games, there's going to be some
concern there, but I think the general feedback from
players most of the time, you know, if you're asking
do you prefer to play games or not prefer it, they
like to play games.
Q. Is there a drop dead date for having
something in place?
KEVIN WEIBERG: Well, there is on the
standings I think without a doubt. You remember this
past season, we really went into the summer before I
think we completely resolved where we were going with
the formula, and I think that's probably about the
drop dead date again. When you start getting into the
time when teams are returning to open their respective
practices, obviously we need to have an approach put
in place at that point.
Thanks very much.