NASHVILLE, JAN. 12 -- The NCAA, apparently unwilling to gamble with $50 million worth of bowl revenue, voted today to halt consideration of a playoff game to decide its major college football championship.
Football championships are decided by playoffs in all NCAA divisions except I-A, where an unofficial champion is named based on polls by United Press International and Associated Press. Miami, the only unbeaten and untied major college team in the country, was declared the 1987 champion.
"We figure a playoff game would gross about $30 million," said DeLoss Dodds, athletic director at University of Texas and chairman of the Postseason Football Subcommittee set up a year ago to study a playoff. "The bowls have done real service to football, paying out $46 million last year and likely to go even higher. But I feel the bowls are living on the edge now. They're going to have to renegotiate their television contracts and are in danger of getting into serious trouble.
"As long as the bowls stay strong, a playoff is going to continue to face opposition. But there is going to be one some day."
The I-A bowl public vote, which Dodds said would have been much closer if there had been a secret ballot, was 98-13.
"The vote was close to 50 percent when we took a poll last summer," said Dodds. "This isn't the last you'll hear of this . . . This time, everyone knew it was going to fail and didn't want their name on a list that bowl people could go through.
"Timing was one of the reasons that affected the vote. We're going through a phase against overemphasis in college athletics."
The vote was on a resolution calling for Dodds' committee to "discontinue its consideration . . . until such time as there is compelling evidence that the Division I-A membership believes that such a championship is in the best interest of intercollegiate athletics and college football generally."
The 13 voters willing to risk the bowls' wrath were California State-Long Beach, San Diego State, Georgia, Louisville, Nevada-Las Vegas, the Western Athletic Conference, Hawaii, Utah, Georgia Tech, New Mexico, Southwestern Louisiana, Texas-El Paso and Tulsa.
"I've always been in favor of a one-game playoff to decide our national championship," said Georgia Athletic Director and football coach Vince Dooley, whose team won the mythical title in 1980. "It will come in time but the atmosphere, with the present trend toward deemphasis, isn't conducive for such a game."
In other business today, Division I-A voted to allow its schools to grant 30 new football scholarships for one more year before lowering the limit to 25 as agreed to at last summer's special convention in Dallas.