Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Panel Must Erase All Suspicion of Bias

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Panel Must Erase All Suspicion of Bias

Article excerpt

IRVING, Texas -- On paper, the credentials of the 13-member college football selection committee announced Wednesday appear above reproach.

Yet even as the mechanics of their mission -- to seek a true Football Bowl Subdivision champion -- were rolled out, officials acknowledged it would be hard for the members to be perceived as neutral enough to satisfy fans' scrutiny.

And with tens of millions of dollars at stake in what will now be a true postseason, the committee will surely be scoured for bias.

So let the controversies for the 2014-15 season begin.

"We will make this as transparent as possible," the committee's chairman, Jeff Long, said.

"Many of us have worked at many different institutions and many different conferences. Certainly we couldn't recuse ourselves from all the universities we have been associated with. Part of the work of the committee will be to work through this recusal process."

The committee, which will select four teams to advance to the playoff, includes five athletic directors: Long, Arkansas, where he also serves as vice chancellor; Barry Alvarez, Wisconsin; Pat Haden, Southern California; Oliver Luck, West Virginia; and Dan Radakovich, Clemson.

The appointment of former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to the committee came under fire even before it was officially announced.

Rice was provost at Stanford from 1993 to 1999 and oversaw its athletics, including the football program's budget, recruiting, coaching personnel and bowl appearances. She hired Tyrone Willingham, now a fellow committee member, as Stanford's coach in 1994.

"I've been in enough positions to respect people with different views," Rice said Wednesday. "Not everyone on the committee has played the game, but I'm a student of the game."

Members will be limited to three-year terms, although some might initially rotate out earlier or later. …

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