DESTIN, Fla. -- Florida president Bernie Machen backed off
his playoff football proposal after conferring with colleagues at
the Southeastern Conference's spring meeting.
Machen decided it's better to work within the confines of the
current Bowl Championship Series system.
"What we learned today from my colleagues is that we see the
world pretty much the same way," Machen said Friday on the final
day of the annual meeting. "We see the problems in the current
"They are persuaded, and I am now persuaded, that the best way
to proceed is to try to work within the BCS structure, to make some
changes to make it better. That seems to me to be a very good way
The basis of his proposal was to form a limited liability
corporation that, much like the BCS, would work outside the
framework of the NCAA. He wanted to keep the current bowl structure
intact and distribute revenue to all 119 Division I-A schools
instead of keeping most of the money for the schools in the six BCS
They are persuaded, and I am now persuaded, that the best way to proceed is to try to work within the BCS structure, to make some changes to make it better. That seems to me to be a very good way to go.
Florida president Bernie Machen
Machen began devising a playoff plan after it appeared last
December that the Gators would miss the BCS title game. His plan
didn't include details of how many teams would be involved in the
playoff or when and where games would be played.
"We had a full and open discussion about postseason football,
ranging from a playoff to the status quo," said SEC commissioner
Mike Slive, who's also the BCS coordinator. "I can assure you that
the First Amendment was alive and well in the meeting. The end
result of the discussion was that our presidents and chancellors
are not interested in pursuing a playoff -- but they have asked me
... to take a hard look at the BCS and what improvements we think
might be made over the next couple of years."
Officials from three other BCS conferences -- the Big 12, the
Atlantic Coast Conference and the Big East -- all agree that they
should continue working within the BCS system, Slive said.
Still, he acknowledged that the BCS is far from perfect.
"We remain open-minded to find ways to work within this system
to make it work in a way that might be better for many of us,"
Slive said. "We'll continue to do that."
The Pac-10 and the Big Ten have been strongly opposed to a
playoff, wanting to stick closely to the Rose Bowl tradition.
Coaches across the country said they would be hesitant to back a
plan that might devalue the bowl system.
Vanderbilt chancellor Gordon Gee didn't like the message the
"We've been consistent all along that we're trying to bring
some semblance of integrity and some semblance of balance back into
what we're doing, and this moves in exactly the wrong direction,"
Gee said. "This is a slippery slope toward us finally just
throwing in the towel and saying what we're about is fielding
football teams and we have a university on the side, and I'm just
not in favor of that."