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Ncaa Football Standings - Controversies in NCAA Football - No Playoffs for NCAA Football Championships, SMU Gets the Football Death Penalty

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The National Collegiate Athletic Association is an organization which oversees and manages many college-level athletic programs in the United States and in Canada. The NCAA includes many sports, such as cross country, golf, gymnastics, ice hockey, rowing and bowling, but its most popular and lucrative sport is football. The NCAA football standings and rankings are much watched and hotly debated every year. The Bowl Championship Series and national championship games are determined by the standings, but the standings themselves are the result of a rather complicated combination of computer selection and polls. Needless to say, this system has led to some problems over the decades.

No Playoffs for NCAA Football Championships

One part of NCAA football championship selection which has long been a source of controversy among fans and colleges is that there are no playoffs. Many fans, players and coaches dislike and distrust choosing championship teams based on computer rankings. There are some mighty powerful people who also take this view. President Barack Obama himself, during an interview with ESPN’s Chris Berman on “Monday Night Football”, said that this is the one thing about sports he would change.

SMU Gets the Football Death Penalty

Southern Methodist University of Dallas, the most penalized school in NCAA history, let its lust for higher rank outstrip good sense one too many times and got the “death penalty” in 1987. Citing “wrongdoing, deceit and rule violations”, the NCAA suspended SMU’s entire 1987 football season. This included not only games but also practices and scholarships. The violations mostly involved payments and perks given to football players, including monthly stipends and free apartments. SMU was also limited to only seven “away” games in 1988, which not only killed their NCAA standings but also cost the college millions of dollars in revenue.

Congressman Worries A Bit Too Much About NCAA Football Standings

The standings in NCAA football affect more than the chances of team making a championship. NCAA football games make a great deal of money, especially in a football-obsessed state like Texas. So much so that in 2005, Texas Rep. Joe Barton, a member of a subcommittee which regulated the sports industry in the US, called for a hearing on the bowl championship series ranking system, saying it was “a billion-dollar business that Congress cannot ignore.” Not much came of it, but years later, Barton was still trying. In 2009, he managed to get an anti-BCS bill passed by the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee.

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