It’s a given that prominent politicians from states adversely affected by the possible dissolution of the Big 12 will attempt to use their governing power to block such conference re-alignment.
With Iowa State seemingly screwed by the demise of the Big 12, first up with material threats of such action is U.S. Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa.
The DES MOINES REGISTER reports today:
(Grassley) said options could range from asking the U.S. Department of Justice to conduct a review of whether the changes violate federal anti-trust laws — something U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch, the ranking member of the Senate anti-trust committee, brought up Wednesday.
Serious consideration also could be given, Grassley said, to introducing legislation to end the federal tax deduction permitted to college athletic contributors.
More from Grassley himself:
“My goal would be to make sure Iowa State would not get hurt by however this might turn out.
“These athletic conferences are all non-profit, charitable institutions that supposedly have been established to provide an educational benefit. I would like to know what the educational benefit is for these organizations to be doing this sort of thing.
“You hear so many people say that major college athletics is just about money. I don’t know if that’s true, but that should be a question we get answered.”
While Grassley’s reaction is highly predictable and likely to come to nothing, if enough politicians see their states damaged by college athletics administrators, might that embolden them to consider more serious action against the BCS?
After all, it’s the lack of revenue from a college football playoff that is playing a prominent role in the conference affiliation reshuffling. If schools were flush from proceeds of a college football playoff, they wouldn’t be so desperate to fund non-revenue sports by re-jiggering conferences to extract more revenue from league television packages.
If schools like Iowa State, Kansas, K-State and Mizzou are all left out of a chance to compete for BCS Bowl benefits, we might just get our first serious challenge of the BCS from Capitol Hill.