NCAA says schools cannot make decision

Updated: January 8, 2004, 9:08 PM ET
Associated Press

SAN DIEGO -- Unhappy with college football's split national championship, the head of a computer company thought he could entice Southern California and LSU to play each other later this month by offering $30 million in scholarship money.

The NCAA quickly hit the "delete" button, saying there was no way such a game could be played.

Ted Waitt, chairman and CEO of Gateway Inc., which is based in the San Diego suburb of Poway, offered each school $10 million in scholarships for disadvantaged students if they'd play each other the weekend of Jan. 24-25. The winner would have gotten an additional $10 million in scholarships and $1 million in Gateway products.

"Everybody wants to see it happen," Waitt said. "It'd be fun. But everybody is afraid of the NCAA. We just want to know one good reason why this can't happen."

Waitt made his proposal in letters faxed Thursday to LSU Chancellor Mark Emmert, USC President Steven Sample and NCAA President Myles Brand.

"It's just not as simple or easy as doing that," said Wally Renfro, the senior adviser to Brand. "Decisions about postseason football are made by the membership of the association. Those two institutions would not be able to make that decision in any event.

"Right now, by the bylaws, it couldn't happen."

And the NCAA wouldn't jump even with $30 million in scholarships up for grabs?

"No," Renfro said.

Besides numerous logistical problems, games aren't allowed after Jan. 4, which was the date of the Sugar Bowl.

USC was No. 1 in both the AP media poll and USA Today/ESPN coaches' poll at the end of the regular season, but slipped behind No. 2 LSU and No. 3 Oklahoma in the computers and the final BCS standings because of a weaker strength of schedule.

LSU won the BCS national championship by beating Oklahoma in the Sugar Bowl while USC won The Associated Press title by beating Michigan in the Rose Bowl.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press