WASHINGTON - The five college football conferences that don't get automatic bids to the Bowl Championship Series will receive a record $24 million from this year's bowl games, according to BCS figures obtained yesterday by the Associated Press.
The distribution of money has been a main point of contention for congressional critics of the Bowl Championship Series system. Lawmakers have pushed legislation aimed at forcing the BCS to switch to a playoff system rather than the ratings system it uses to set the games that determine the college championship.
Despite the record amount that will go to the schools that don't qualify automatically, it still represents a sum far less than that going to the half-dozen conferences that have guaranteed bids.
Of the $24 million, most will go to the two conferences that sent teams to BCS games this year: the Mountain West Conference, at $9.8 million, and the Western Athletic Conference, at $7.8 million. The three other conferences that don't receive automatic bids will divide the remainder.
That compares to $22.2 million each to the Big Ten and Southeastern conferences, and $17.7 million each for the other four conferences that have automatic bids. Those first two received more because they each had two teams in BCS bowls.
Under the BCS system, six conferences get automatic bids to participate in top-tier bowl games while the other five don't. The conferences that don't receive automatic bids will reap a record take this year because they sent two teams to BCS bowls for the first time - Boise State and Texas Christian.
BCS executive director Bill Hancock said the new numbers show the distribution is "fair and appropriate."
Hancock said the BCS has helped all 11 conferences get more access, revenue, and opportunity to play in the postseason. The previous record for conferences that don't receive automatic bids was $19.3 million, set last year, he said.
Rep. Joe Barton, a Texas Republican, has cited the revenue discrepancy as a reason for his legislation that would ban the promotion of a postseason NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision game as a national championship unless it results from a playoff. The bill passed a subcommittee last month but faces an uphill battle in Congress.
NEW YORK - A national coalition of women's groups called on CBS to scrap its plan to broadcast an ad during the Super Bowl featuring college football star Tim Tebow and his mother, which critics say is likely to convey an anti-abortion message.
The Women's Media Center was coordinating the protest with backing from the National Organization for Women, the Feminist Majority, and other groups.
CBS said it has approved the script for the 30-second ad and has given no indication that the protest would have an impact.
The ad - paid for by the conservative Christian group Focus on the Family - is expected to recount the story of Pam Tebow's pregnancy in 1987.
After getting sick during a mission trip to the Philippines, she ignored a recommendation by doctors to abort her fifth child and gave birth to Tim, who went on to win the 2007 Heisman Trophy.