A secret society exposed and why the public shouldn’t care
Polls are at the root of all college football controversies. Be it National championships or individual player awards, opinion is the most significant factor, with performances on the field often taking a back seat. Over the summer, in an effort to quell concerns and criticism over fairness, the AFCA decided to make private the final regular season coaches ballot beginning in December of this year. But before we could ever reach that point, summer’s decision has already been reversed. The final ballot will remain in public view, but why should we even care?
The original agreement for a secret ballot was an admission of flaw. The thought was that secrecy would bring about a more fair and truthful vote, with selections hidden from public eyes and voters protected from any pending backlash for decisions made. But if there is already concern over the legitimacy of votes, the discussion shouldn’t have focused on the cloaking of opinions, as much as it should have centered on the panel forming them.
If you already believe votes are influenced by public opinion, why are coaches still voting? Why is this poll still crowning champions? Why was the discussion not about replacing coaches with men and women with no affiliations to programs, their destiny, BCS conference payouts, friendships, or monetary incentives that reward them bonuses for top-10 finishes?
We have a panel of judges, standing the most to lose or gain, deciding the fate of the college football world. And instead of focusing on the obvious problem that is the membership, a summer session attempts a smoke filled getaway, veering towards the bickering over public and private votes. The heart of the controversy isn’t the selections themselves. It is the men appointed to make those choices.
There’s only one weekend during the season that the coaches poll matters to the public, and that is the final regular season ballot. It is this ranking and its grouped opinion that assists in the delegation of two teams to play for the national championship. All the others are worthless, including votes cast after the bowls are played. Contractual agreement forces voters to select the winner of the BCS championship game their No. 1 team, and does anyone really care who they vote No. 2? The coaches and athletic departments that sign their bonus checks may, but the public only applauds the failure of second and third place finishes during Olympic games.
By allowing votes to remain public, college football and the AFCA haven’t repaired anything, though they may feel they’re doing everyone a favor. This still doesn’t address the public wants and needs. It’s the same tired system that continues to vote with personal interest and renewed skepticism. Yes, thanks to this reversal, I maintain the ability to view selections based on selfishness and favortism. Now tell me why I should be grateful and why I should care?