IOWA CITY — Iowa Athletics Director Gary Barta said Tuesday he’s open to any changes involving college football’s postseason structure as long as it includes the bowl system.
“I don’t have an inside track — I certainly am part of the discussions and watch what’s being talked about — it seems like there’s more discussion about the possibility of a playoff,” Barta said. “One of the things that I don’t want to see and that’s I don’t want to see the bowl system go away.
“If we come up with a system that protects the bowls, because the bowls, I think, are an important part of the football tradition. Somehow if gets us to a different way to achieve a national championship, I’m at least open to looking at that.”
Contracts between ESPN and bowls affiliated with the Bowl Championship Series are set to expire after the 2013 season. Through a matrix of computer rankings and human polls, the BCS tries to match the nation’s top two teams in a season-ending bowl game. It’s a controversial but widely popular conclusion to the college football season.
Many people have clamored for a playoff system that includes four or more teams to reach a definitive national champion. In December, college athletics directors and conference commissioners convened in New York to discuss potential changes to college football’s postseason structure. Those talks remain ongoing.
Barta played quarterback at North Dakota State and helped lead the Bison to the 1986 Division II national title. To earn that title, Barta’s team had to win three playoff games. He scored touchdowns in two of those games.
But Barta’s playing success in a college football playoff doesn’t mean he is in favor of co-opting Division II’s current 24-team playoff format for the Football Bowl Subdivision.
“One of the differences in Division II and I-AA is there are no bowls,” he said. “I think that’s probably the biggest hurdle. The other thing is to just remind ourselves — and this has been well-documented — the BCS started, I think, 14 years ago. If you look at a curve of attendance and television ratings and popularity of college football since the creation of the BCS, it’s straight up at an all-time high. So if you have something that’s extremely popular, you want to make sure whatever decision you make is thoughtful and careful so you don’t damage or destroy what’s very popular.”
BARTA ON FOOTBALL STAFF
Iowa’s defensive coordinator position remains unfilled after Norm Parker’s announced retirement more than a month ago. Tuesday, Barta said “I don’t know exactly when (Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz will) make the announcement” about Parker’s replacement.
“Kirk, when he hires somebody, he’s very deliberate,” Barta said. “I think he’s shown that in his history. It’s because he wants to make sure, to the best of his ability, that it’s the right person and the right fit. As he’s gone through this process, he’s been deliberate, and we’ll see how it ends up.”