Bob Stoops should not worry about bias on soon-to-be-formed football committee

Bill Hancock, executive director of the College Football Playoff, wants Stoops to rest easy. Bias can be eradicated from the process.
by Berry Tramel Modified: August 20, 2013 at 1:00 pm •  Published: August 19, 2013
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photo - Head coach Bob Stoops addresses the media during media access day for the University of Oklahoma Sooner (OU) football team in the Adrian Peterson meeting room inside Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Okla., on Saturday, Aug. 3, 2013. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman
Head coach Bob Stoops addresses the media during media access day for the University of Oklahoma Sooner (OU) football team in the Adrian Peterson meeting room inside Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Okla., on Saturday, Aug. 3, 2013. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman

* Recusal. Just like in basketball, if a committee member has a direct link to a school involved in the discussion, he or she will step out of the room. If Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith is on the committee, he won't be involved in votes or dialogue about the Buckeyes.

* Various professionals will make up the committee. Current athletic directors. Former coaches. Former players. Even former media. I nominate the honorable Steve Wieberg, who spent almost 30 years with USA Today before leaving the business last summer to begin a teaching career. Place people like Wieberg on the committee, and I promise you, there will be no concerns about bias.

* And geographic balance. There won't be eight guys from Atlanta on the committee, or eight guys from the Pacific Coast, or eight guys from Texas.

“That's the practical answer,” Hancock said. “I prefer the philosophical answer.”

Which is the environment the basketball committee established and Hancock is determined to establish with football.

“It is absolutely in the culture,” Hancock said of the basketball selections. “You're not there representing anyone but the game.”

Hancock said the same will be stressed “from Day One” on the football committee. “From the top. I'm stressing it as I'm talking to people about serving.”

Stoops talks about pressure from outsiders on committee members. Hancock talks about peer pressure from fellow committee members, if anyone is tempted to waver. He's seen that self-policing in March.

“They stare you down if they sense you're representing somebody or touting somebody,” Hancock said.

No reason the same culture can't be built in football, especially since it will be more important than ever.

Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at btramel@opubco.com. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.

by Berry Tramel
Columnist
Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,...
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