While the debate still rages about a playoff system ultimately replacing the Bowl Championship Series in college football, a new report suggests that major college programs are doing very well financially under the current system. According to the AP, later this week BCS officials will announce that a record $170 million dollars was paid out to FBS conferences this season, including a record $24.7 million to non-automatic qualifying conferences.
New television contracts with ESPN for the majority of the bowl games have been credited for the increase in the conference pay out, in spite of the fact that ratings for the BCS games were down significantly this year compared to last year, as the marquee match-ups moved to cable.
While the BCS has highlighted the fact that more money than ever has been paid out to the non-AQ conferences, those arguing against the system will be quick to note that $145 million of the pay out still went to the six largest conferences. Also, nine of the 10 BCS participants still came from the AQ conferences, with only TCU representing the rest of college football.