It's been a little more than a year since Hobart native Bill Hancock became the first executive director of the Bowl Championship Series. Since taking over after serving as a BCS administrator, Hancock is the most public defender of the system that determines college football's national champion. Hancock returned to Oklahoma on Friday for the All-College Basketball Classic banquet. Hancock spoke with The Oklahoman's Ryan Aber about the state of the BCS, defending the organization and if a playoff will happen.
What was your reaction to Mark Cuban's plan to fund a college football playoff?
It's an honor for college football that a businessman of Mark Cuban's stature would be interested, but the fact is I don't believe there's any amount of financial inducement that would make the commissioners and presidents change their minds about the system. They know this system is what is best for athletes. Mark Cuban is from an NBA world, where it's all business. In our world, somebody has to look after the athletes. The multi-bowl experience is so cool for the athletes. The concepts of trashing that and putting in a playoff, which would be a series of one-day business trips, is just not appealing to those of us with responsibilities to the athletes.
What is the most legitimate criticism of the BCS?
Oh boy, I've heard them all. That's hard. I really can't think of anything. I certainly understand every one of them. I understand why people think the way they do. I understand why people want a bracket. The March Madness bracket was my life for 16 years, so I certainly get that. What's good for football is good for football and what's good for basketball is good for basketball. Nobody likes to be disagreed with, and I certainly get disagreed with a lot. I believe so strongly in what we're doing that it's not hard to defend this system.
Is a plus-one format feasible in the future for the BCS?
The fewer teams involved in a playoff, the less effect on the regular season. A 16-game playoff like Sports Illustrated called for recently would have a tremendous effect, and that's not what we want. I work for conference commissioners, and they discussed a plus-one in the spring of 2008. At the end it came down to two things. The first was, they could not convince themselves that the bracket would stay at four because every single bracket has increased over time. The other reason they decided not to pursue it was the change in the bowl experience over time. The teams in the plus-one games would have a different bowl experience.
You've been called one of the most likable people in college athletics. Has this job changed that perception?
I hope not. I don't know about being liked or not, but my philosophy is treat others the way you want to be treated, and that certainly hasn't changed. I'm a little surprised about the lack of civility in the debate over postseason football. Some people get really angry about it. I don't really get angry. I'm always interested to see that passion but I wish for a more civil debate.