SBD/August 3, 2011/Colleges

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  • BCS Exec Dir Bill Hancock Discusses Meeting With DOJ, The Current System's Future

    Hancock has appeared at a number of
    conference media days this offseason
    The conference football media days mark the unofficial start to football season. It also means that it is time for BCS Exec Dir Bill Hancock to hit the road preaching the gospel of college football’s regular season and postseason. Hancock made appearances at the SEC, ACC, Big 12 and Big East preseason media gatherings, while also making a video appearance for the Sun Belt, taking advantage of each to explain why he thinks the BCS is good for college football. While it might seem like he is a defense attorney in the court of public opinion, Hancock relishes the opportunity to talk about the BCS format, which has generated “the greatest regular season in all of sports.” Hancock talked with SportsBusiness Journal Staff Writer Michael Smith about the BCS and other topics during his stop in Pinehurst, N.C., at the ACC Kickoff.
     
    Q: You recently met with the Department of Justice to defend the BCS against antitrust claims. Did you ever imagine that?
    Hancock: I did. The commissioners have been in front of Congress several times. I thought that would probably come with it.

    Q: What was that experience like?
    Hancock: Going into it, I looked at it as an opportunity and something I might enjoy. I wouldn’t say it was fun, but it was very interesting. Not uncomfortable. They were pretty knowledgeable. I just love talking about this, any chance I get. This was just another chance with a different set of people.

    Q: How is it dealing with the public scrutiny that comes with representing the BCS?
    Hancock: Those of us in sports are lucky that our profession is so many people’s hobby. Along with that comes the scrutiny. If you shy away from that, you shouldn’t be in this business, as a coach, administrator or athlete. It doesn’t bother me.

    Q: The dates of future BCS bowl games are set through 2014, which is when ESPN’s contract concludes. What are the prospects for future dates of the non-championship games being closer to January 1?
    Hancock: The discussion of the future hasn’t happened yet. It will start in the next 12 months to 15 months. One of the things I would like to see is some compacting in the schedule. The midweek games after January 1 are not ideal because holidays are over and people are going back to school and work. That’s one thing I’d like to see us address in the future.

    Q: Could the date of the game do more to increase attention on the other games?
    Hancock: I just think more people could enjoy the experience of being at the game during the holiday season.

    Q: What about the championship game?
    Hancock: The championship game would be successful if it were played at 4:00am, on July 7. It’s a terrific event and it grows every year. But we want folks to be able to enjoy the other games.

    Q: Any discussion about adding a fifth game to the BCS mix?
    Hancock: This is a little like the presidential election cycle. We just finished year one (of the ESPN deal) and already people are talking about who is going to be the next president. But before too long, the commissioners will talk to the people on their campuses, get a consensus and they’ll come together as a group to make decisions about the BCS.

    Q: At the end of this ESPN contract, the BCS will have been around for 16 years. What does that mean to you?
    Hancock: It’s building a track record and the track record is that the greatest regular season in sports keeps getting better and in large part because we don’t have a playoff, and the bowl experience keeps getting better for the athletes.

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