October 24, 2003

Good Morning:

As you know, I have been invited to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on October 29 regarding the fairness of the Bowl Championship Series, which determines college football's national champion. I testified on the same subject before the House Judiciary Committee on September 4. Some of you who are not sports fans may wonder why I, along with 50 plus other university presidents and chancellors, not to mention the United States Congress, believe this issue is worthy of such attention. I assure you the reasons run much deeper than rivalries, money, bragging rights, team pride or the other more visible aspects of intercollegiate athletics.

The Bowl Championship Series, a system that sixty-four universities created to crown a national champion in football, has, in effect, locked out 54 other universities and its student athletes from the chance to compete for a national title.

When you realize the negative trickle down effect this unjust system has on nearly every facet of life at universities not affiliated with the BCS, coupled with its inherent unfairness, its demoralizing impact on student-athletes and its possible illegality, you begin to understand what all the fuss is about. I urge you to learn as much as possible about this important subject by visiting

Of course, the BCS system is just one of the many issues that needs to be addressed in intercollegiate athletics. The other key issues include the academic expectations and performance of student athletes, the increasing costs of competition and the ever-increasing commercialization of athletics. It will take a long time to effect significant change, but I am committed to that goal on the behalf of all our universities.

Have a great weekend,


Office of the President Emeritus, 1555 Poydras St, Suite 700, New Orleans, LA 70112 504-274-3638