Reason.com chronicles “5 Stupid Government Interventions in Sports,” including:
5. The Feds Tackle Steroids in Baseball
Congress’ first foray into investigating steroid use in America’s pastime this century came in2005, when the House Government Reform Committee (seriously) hauled in Mark McGwire, who broke Roger Maris’ single-season home run record in 1998. McGwire initially refused to answer questions about steroid use, but in 2010 he admitted to having used steroids during his record-breaking season. ..
The highly publicized hearings led to no action by Congress, though pitching ace Roger Clemens was brought up on felony perjury charges for lying to Congress. He was acquitted earlier this year.
4. Washington pushes college football toward a playoff system.
In 2009, Congress turned its attention from professional baseball to college football. Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) targeted the Bowl Championship Series, a post-season system for college football that involves 10 teams playing five post-season games, including the BCS National Championship Game between the two teams selected as the best in the country. Two decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Barton likened the BCS system to “communism”. It was a bipartisan affair, though, with President Barack Obama stepping in to use the bully pulpit to get college football to dump the BCS and adopt a playoff system. …
2. Europe’s sports ministries
If the idea of state-level athletic commissions isn’t statist enough, in Europe they have entire national ministries dedicated to it. The all-encompassing project of Europe does not exclude the realm of sports. Even — or maybe especially — in the midst of economic crises, European sports ministers declared “[a]lthough we live in an age of austerity measures [ed. note: they don’t], it would be symbolical in the present poor economic situation to succeed in establishing a European framework programme by 2014, which could provide financial support to sports.” …
1. Title IX and Regulatory Overreach
When what’s known as Title IX went into law in 1972, it prohibited educational institutions that received federal assistance to exclude women from or deny them the benefits of educational programs. … While Title IX has often been credited for the rise of female athletes in sports, it’s also invited regulators and judges to influence the decisions of athletic programs, sometimes leading to schools limiting athletic opportunities for males to meet compliance.
The point in this list is not whether the current playoff system is the best way to decide college football’s national champion (it isn’t) or that women shouldn’t have sports opportunities (they should).