Bill to keep Oregon teams out being punted

Updated: February 18, 2005, 3:38 AM ET
Associated Press

EUGENE, Ore. -- Oregon State Sen. Ryan Deckert, D-Beaverton, is ready to punt a bill that would bar Oregon and Oregon State from appearing in college football's Bowl Championship Series.

Deckert, who introduced the bill because of his disdain for the college football ranking system, says he will instead offer a non-binding resolution that puts the BCS on notice without penalizing Oregon schools.

"I feel that's the right tone right now," Deckert said Thursday.

The BCS, a confederation of the major college football conferences, uses the ranking system to decide which teams play in the major bowl games and select the two teams that compete for the national championship.

Pac-10 Conference fans have been miffed at some recent pairings, including the 2001 decision that denied Oregon a shot at the national championship.

More recent choices have bumped other Pac-10 teams out of bowl or championship games, denying the conference the large payouts that come with major bowl appearances. The conference splits that revenue among all teams, meaning less money went to both the UO and OSU.

That's what inspired Deckert to write Senate Bill 416. After reciting a litany of grievances against the bowl series, the bill declares BCS games off limits to the two Oregon schools beginning with the 2008 season.

That soon caught the attention of Oregon officials, who went into a quick huddle and decided to run a blocking pattern. University President Dave Frohnmayer is playing a role in a current effort to reform the BCS.

"We have talked to Sen. Deckert at great length and he understands what our concerns are," said Dan Williams, Oregon's vice president for administration. "It is our expectation that this bill may not move out of committee."

The bill has also lost one of its co-sponsors. Sen. Floyd Prozanski, D-Eugene, signed onto the bill thinking Deckert had cleared it with the universities; when he found out that wasn't the case, he withdrew his name and support.

Prozanski said he won't support a resolution without hearing Frohnmayer's view. And Deckert said the university president's role in the BCS reform effort played a role in his desire to limit the legislation to a nonbinding resolution.

Deckert isn't the only legislator wanting to tackle the BCS. A California lawmaker has filed a non-binding resolution calling for the dissolution of the BCS, and a Texas legislator has proposed a law that would ban schools in that state from playing in a BCS game once at least four other states join the ban.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press