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Monday, July 27, 2009
Big 12 commissioner comments on Mountain West's proposal


Posted by ESPN.com's Graham Watson

As media days have started across the various automatic qualifying and nonautomatic qualifying leagues, there has been one common theme -- the BCS.

Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson said last week that his conference is not going to stop fighting to reform the system that crowns the national champion despite signing an agreement that keeps the system the same for the next four years.

"You try not to get into the money game, but it is about money, huge money," Thompson said at Mountain West media days in Las Vegas last week. "The only way the BCS changes is if 10 conferences, four bowls and ESPN agree to a change. We've got a contrarian position. We need to get everybody involved or there won't be change."

But getting everyone involved is the problem.

In Sunday's Dallas Morning News, Big 12 Conference commissioner Dan Beebe had some fervid words for the Mountain West and its plight to change the current BCS system.

"I was very disturbed about any of our conferences that are a part of the BCS coming out after we negotiated with television and then proposing drastic changes to the system ...," Beebe told The Dallas Morning News.

"I went to my board last December with the ESPN contract and got approval to sign it. Afterward, the Mountain West makes these proposals and acts like we're holding a gun to their head on the television contract."

Beebe also responded to Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, who compared the BCS to communism when the Mountain West took its fight to Capitol Hill in May during a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee's commerce, trade and consumer protection subcommittee.

"My memory of when I studied history and Karl Marx was that a major tenet of communism involved taking from each according to their ability and giving to each according to their need," Beebe said.

"It's ironic we're being labeled as communists when what was actually being asked of us was to be more communistic, taking from those of us who produce more in the marketplace and giving to those who don't produce in the marketplace."

While Beebe's words might be the strongest of all the commissioners who have decided to tackle the BCS criticism, both SEC commissioner Mike Slive and ACC commissioner John Swofford agreed they didn't see any changes to the BCS happening anytime soon.

Slive said he didn't think university presidents, chancellors and commissioners would support a playoff. And Swofford, who has been the BCS coordinator for the past two years, admitted that the current BCS system isn't perfect, but didn't expect much to change.

"In terms of the next five years, I think what we're going to see is the BCS, by and large, as it is today, and then we'll go from there," Swofford said during ACC media days.

"It's not perfect. We know that. It is controversial. We know that. But like it or not, I think it has reached its goals and what it's there for."