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Georgia president pushes for playoff system

POSTED: January 20, 2008 5:04 a.m.

ATHENS — The president of the University of Georgia proposed an eight-team playoff system to determine the NCAA’s national football champion.

Michael Adams, chairman of the NCAA executive committee, has opposed a playoff for 20 years but said Tuesday the current BCS system is "undercutting the sportsmanship and integrity of the game."

Adams wants the NCAA to seed eight teams into the four bowls. If one of the major bowls declines to participate, then another bowl could fill the void.

"I believe the season is already too long and demands too much of athletes and the universities that serve them," Adams said at a news conference. "But this year’s experience with the BCS forces me to the conclusion that the current system has lost public confidence and simply does not work."

Adams would like a special NCAA committee to work out the particulars, but the plan calls for the winners of the four major bowls — Rose, Sugar, Orange and Fiesta — to play semifinals at least one week later, with the championship game the following week.

Georgia was ranked fourth in the BCS entering the last week of the season, behind Missouri, West Virginia and Ohio State. When Missouri and West Virginia lost, Georgia did not rise to second behind Ohio State but dropped to fifth in the BCS. Southeastern Conference champion LSU vaulted from seventh to second.

LSU defeated Ohio State 38-24 Monday night to win the BCS title. Georgia routed previously undefeated Hawaii in the Sugar Bowl, 41-10.

Adams insisted he was prepared to advance the proposal even if Georgia had played in the title game.

"It is a matter of fairness and equity," he said.

Adams said he was influenced by players and coaches. He added that he would let Mark Richt speak for himself, but the Georgia coach had been "positive" in discussions about a playoff.

Adams is frustrated by the power of the television networks, particularly ESPN, and of the commissioners of the bowls and conferences.

"The television networks — particularly the one that controls the majority of regular season and postseason games — have grown powerful in deciding who plays and when they play, and, indeed, whom they hire to coach," Adams wrote in a letter to NCAA president Myles Brand.

"The Bowl Championship Series has become a beauty contest largely stage-managed by the networks, which in turn protect the interests of their own partner conferences."

He said the commissioners of the conferences and the bowls are guilty of "closed-circle decision-making based on traditional contract alliances. It is time to take the ultimate power out of their hands and give it to the student-athletes on the field."

"The most visible element of our most visible sport has almost no presidential involvement," Adams added.

Adams said he understood the consequences of an extended the season.

"This would involve only four schools, and only two into the second week," he said. "To answer concerns about the wear-and-tear on the student-athletes, I would consider returning the regular season to an 11-game schedule."



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