Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Updated: December 16, 12:15 PM ET
Mark Cuban exploring BCS alternative
By Tim MacMahon
DALLAS -- After two failed bids to buy a Major League Baseball team, billionaire Mark Cuban is seriously considering trying to use his money to create a playoff alternative to college football's Bowl Championship Series.
Cuban, the outspoken owner of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks, told ESPNDallas.com on Wednesday that he is "actively interested but in the exploratory stage" of creating and funding a playoff system to crown a champion for major college football.
"The more I think about it, the more sense it makes as opposed to buying a baseball team," said Cuban, who tried to buy the Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers within the last few years. "You can do something the whole country wants done."
Cuban said he has talked to two athletic directors from BCS conferences who were extremely enthusiastic about the idea. He intends to contact several school presidents and state senators in the coming weeks to determine whether the idea is worth pursuing.
Cuban said he envisions either a 12- or 16-team playoff field with the higher seeds getting homefield advantage. The homefield advantage, Cuban said, would ensure the college football regular-season games would not lose any importance.
The bowl games could still exist under Cuban's plan, but he said he would make it more profitable for programs to make the playoffs than a bowl.
"Put $500 million in the bank and go to all the schools and pay them money as an option," Cuban said. "Say, 'Look, I'm going to give you X amount every five years. In exchange, you say if you're picked for the playoff system, you'll go.' "
One way to push school presidents toward approving the idea would be to lobby major donors of college athletic programs, Cuban said. He suggested convincing the donors to cut off their donations until their presidents approved a playoff system.
Cuban, who is reading the book "Death to the BCS," said he thinks it would take about three or four years of planning before enacting the playoff system. He believes it's a better business opportunity than owning a baseball team, and he admits he's intrigued by the idea of revolutionizing a major sport.
"It's an inefficient business where there's obviously a better way of doing it," Cuban said. "The only thing that's kept them from doing it is a lack of capital, which I can deal with.
"The one thing every college football fan wants you can probably create for less than it takes to buy a baseball team."
Tim MacMahon covers the Mavericks for ESPNDallas.com. You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his mailbag.