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Friday, January 29, 2010

Federal government considering official investigation into legality of BCS

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— The Obama administration is considering several steps that would review the legality of the controversial Bowl Championship Series, the Justice Department said in a letter Friday to a senator who had asked for an antitrust review.

In the letter to Sen. Orrin Hatch, obtained by The Associated Press, Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich wrote that the Justice Department is reviewing Hatch's request and other materials to determine whether to open an investigation into whether the BCS violates antitrust laws.

"Importantly, and in addition, the administration also is exploring other options that might be available to address concerns with the college football postseason," Weich wrote, including asking the Federal Trade Commission to review the legality of the BCS under consumer protection laws.

Several lawmakers and many critics want the BCS to switch to a playoff system, rather than the ratings system it uses to determine the teams that play in the championship game.

"The administration shares your belief that the current lack of a college football national championship playoff with respect to the highest division of college football ... raises important questions affecting millions of fans, colleges and universities, players and other interested parties," Weich wrote.

Weich made note of the fact that President Barack Obama, before he was sworn in, had stated his preference for a playoff system. In 2008, Obama said he was going to "to throw my weight around a little bit" to nudge college football toward a playoff system, a point that Hatch stressed when he urged Obama last fall to ask the department to investigate the BCS.

Weich said that other options include encouraging the NCAA to take control of the college football postseason; asking a governmental or non-governmental commission to review the costs, benefits and feasibility of a playoff system; and legislative efforts aimed at prompting a switch to a playoff system.

Weich noted that several undefeated teams have not had a chance to play for the national championship, including TCU and Boise State this year and Utah last year.

"This seemingly discriminatory action with regard to revenues and access have raised questions regarding whether the BCS potentially runs afoul of the nation's antitrust laws," he wrote.

Hatch, a Utah Republican, was steamed that his home state team was deprived of getting a chance to play for the title last year.

"I'm encouraged by the administration's response," he said in a statement. "I continue to believe there are antitrust issues the administration should explore, but I'm heartened by its willingness to consider alternative approaches to confront the tremendous inequities in the BCS that favor one set of schools over others. The current system runs counter to basic fairness that every family tries to instill in their children from the day they are born."

Under the BCS, the champions of six conference have automatic bids to play in top-tier bowl games, while the other conferences don't. Those six conferences also receive more money than the other conferences, although the BCS announced this week that the ones that don't have automatic bids will receive a record $24 million from this year's bowl games.

Bill Hancock, executive director of the BCS, said that officials there would need more time to review the letter before commenting on it. He did say, "We're confident that the BCS structure complies with the laws of the country."

"The consensus of the schools is to go with the BCS," Hancock added. "We feel strongly the people in higher education are the people best equipped to manage college football."

Comments

milehighhawk 10 years, 1 month ago

That's change I can believe in.

YES WE CAN

Omegatron 10 years, 1 month ago

Awesome! Awesome! Awesome!

You can do it, Mr. President! This is the change we've been looking for!

jcsmith 10 years, 1 month ago

Sorry folks. But I have to disagree with this. I think our government has more important tasks to tackle. Feel very strongly that they should be focusing their attention elsewhere, say, resolving the crisis in the Middle East, or say, deluting the crises with Iran and North Korea, or say, FIXING OUR F'ING ECONOMY.....

But wait. The government has proven for years that it has to have its grubby little paws in every single thing in this country. This is just one more step into controlling every aspect of our every day lives. This is completely unacceptable BS.

I'm all for changing the way the bowl system is. But not because the government/President said so.

Is this seriously something our President should be focusing on?

Is this seriously the sh!t that he was voted in for to fix?

huskercarpenter 10 years, 1 month ago

after the last twelve months i am not going to hold my breath. but a playoff is something that college football at the top level really needs, i have a hard time when people say things like well they don't play anybody. just because a team doesn't have the toughest schedual does not mean that they are not the best team. i am in favor of a larger more inclusive playoff for a lot of reasons, too many to go into here. i think no less than 32 teams is where we need to start.

huskercarpenter 10 years, 1 month ago

jcsmith, i agree. but maybe this will wake up some people and get this ball rolling.

Omegatron 10 years, 1 month ago

I don't agree with jcsmith. I don't want the Justice department and the Federal Trade Commission to ignore antitrust and consumer protection laws to concentrate on world peace...

Ryan Mullen 10 years, 1 month ago

Health care reform, economy, creating jobs, and protecting this country all need to take a back seat to the legality of the BCS. I am now finally on board with this administration I don't care if Obama bankrupts us just as long as the BCS can get figured out.

milehighhawk 10 years, 1 month ago

Omegatron - NAILED IT.

Sorry jcsmith, step down from the soap box and think about it. Or read Omegatron's post a couple entries above.

ravenjayhawk 10 years, 1 month ago

The gov't can't deal with the real problems we've had for a while. Do you really want them getting in on this?

rockchalkxii 10 years, 1 month ago

First, and most importantly, why is our government looking at football, espically at this time. Second, it should be perfectly legal, I mean why wouldn't it. And third, if you think about it, if we had a playoff system in 07-08, none of the KU fans would be happy because we would have no chance. With this system, multiple teams are happy at the end of the year. With the playoff, only one is but we have a true national champ. So what is more important?

Omegatron 10 years, 1 month ago

"rockchalkxii (anonymous) says...

Second, it should be perfectly legal, I mean why wouldn't it."

Won't know the answer to that question until the appropriate government agencies, the agencies responsible for investigation and law enforcement, complete their investigation.

parkerhawk 10 years, 1 month ago

Think about if from the point of Utah (Let alone Boise St.), they have had an undefeated team each of the last two years that has been excluded from a national championship opportunity even though they did everything they could do to get a national championship. It is a monopoly controlled by the BCS.

At the very least why isn't the NCAA in charge of the process like every other collegiate sport.

Most of the previous posters are looking it thinking it is "sports", the government has more important things to deal with, but it is a "business". A billion dollar business that is a monopoly that excludes those not in BCS conferences but gives a false opportunity to those not in the BCS.

Andrew Ralls 10 years, 1 month ago

I'm generally not one for government intervention, but college football has been a market failure for decades. Time to fix it.

KGphoto 10 years, 1 month ago

College football has been a market failure for decades?

WTF are you talking about?

NCAA football rakes in money hand over foot. Nobody makes more money than college football. They dominate network, cable and satellite television for half the year.

The BCS story is about the couple of greedy bastards at the top who are fencing out a free market with nonsense and jibberish.

When you try to fix a problem like this, follow the money. And in this case, like so many, the money leads to a concertina wire of litigation from which the real criminals will quietly disappear and the rest of us will be left bleeding and pointing fingers at the thin air left behind.

Cody Stumma 10 years, 1 month ago

Why complain...

at least the government is attempting to do something about it. Will it work? I don't know... how has everything else Obama attempted to fix turned out?

Omegatron 10 years, 1 month ago

"Code_2008 (anonymous) says...

Why complain...

at least the government is attempting to do something about it. Will it work? I don't know... how has everything else Obama attempted to fix turned out?"

Everything else Obama has attempted to fix had to go through the legislative branch of Government. Unfortunate for those who support the BCS the legislative branch is spectator here.

This falls into the ballpark of the executive and judicial branches of government. Lobbyist can't fly in at the last second and save the BCS in this case.

If the Judicial branch of government says it's illegal... Boom! They're screwed!

Bye BCS.

jcsmith 10 years, 1 month ago

The point here,

Why the hell should the government be involved. The NCAA should be doing this, NOT THE GOVERNMENT. Why does it have to go automatically straight to the top?

Deal with it on the lowest level possible. The President of the United States should not be worrying about whether or not there is a collegient football system in place that pleases everybody. Who gives a flying F***. This country has soldiers overseas dying so our sorry asses can sit here and enjoy our college ball. And all that some of you can think about is whether or not we have a fair bowl system in place. How disgusting.

I'm sorry, in absolutely no way, shape or form should this be anywhere near the top of the priority list of the man that runs this country. Thats what commissioners are for. NOT PRESIDENTS.

Huh. Sheesh. Without national security, who have no damn football. I think some of you need to get off KUSports.com and read whats going on around the rest of the world. Theres more to this world then just college football.

Kent Wells 10 years, 1 month ago

Imagine what would result if the Federal government structured the playoff system. It would probably involve 5 teams that would be selected by the former Enron board of directors.

I would hate to focus on the GWoT, education, health care reform, or social security. Go ahead and tackle (pun intended) the BCS.

Absurd.

hewn 10 years, 1 month ago

So all of the objections seem to be along the line that the federal government has better things to do, not that the BCS should actually stay rather than be changed to a playoff system.

So they have better things to do. Fine. At least this is something they can change and actually get right. It needs to change, and if it takes a little intervention from one of the very few parties with more power than the NCAA, so be it.

yates33333 10 years, 1 month ago

A country wallowing in unemployment, over ten percent, a struggling economy, an infrastructure falling apart, a liar leading a nation of sheep, and what is the concern of its supposed leader, ?, the BCS. BS.............. Or is it bread and circuses?

nckhwk 10 years, 1 month ago

"A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have". - Thomas Jefferson

huskercarpenter 10 years, 1 month ago

after seeing what obama has done to destroy our economy in the last year. i don't think it is very smart to let him try to fix this problem.

Omegatron 10 years, 1 month ago

"jcsmith (anonymous) says...

The point here,

Why the hell should the government be involved. The NCAA should be doing this, not the government. Why does it have to go automatically straight to the top?"

"I'm sorry, in absolutely no way, shape or form should this be anywhere near the top of the priority list of the man that runs this country. Thats what commissioners are for. not presidents."

The commissioners, particularly the powerful Big X cpmmissioner, are in bed with the BCS.

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=3404982

Change isn't going to happen in house.

Omegatron 10 years, 1 month ago

http://www.collegefootballpoll.com/bcs_explained.html

BCS Governance The BCS is managed by the commissioners of the 11 NCAA Division I-A conferences, the director of athletics at the University of Notre Dame, and representatives of the bowl organizations. The conferences are Atlantic Coast, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Conference USA, Mid-American, Mountain West, Sun Belt, Pacific 10, Southeastern and Western Athletic.

The conference commissioners and the Notre Dame athletics director make decisions regarding all BCS issues, in consultation with an athletics directors advisory group and subject to the approval of a presidential oversight committee whose members represent all 119 Division 1-A programs.

A conference commissioner serves as BCS coordinator. For the 2008 and 2009 regular seasons, the coordinator is John Swofford, commissioner of the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Tim Orel 10 years, 1 month ago

Well, there are certainly lots of political partisans on this board making all sorts of claims and counter claims. The ones I find valid, though, are the ones that look at this as a business rather than just fun and games. There are billions made for a select few due to this football B(C)S and it is just not fair, which is a major teaching goal of athletics. For all the immovable wills in Washington, especially in the legislature, college educations are something that actually transcend some of the lines, and maybe, just maybe, you'd get some cooperation here that might spill over to the issues that you others will accept as being "legitimate". Tell Orrin Hatch that a Democrat might vote to restructure the BCS if he'll vote to accept changes to an education plan, or some other plan that he might otherwise not have a reason to vote for. Small steps, but maybe this could break some of the barriers down.

Or maybe we can just let all the intransigence in Washington forever be a logjam and nothing worthwhile gets done. Ever.

Dan Harris 10 years, 1 month ago

You think the BCS is screwed up now, just let Nobama get hold of it and we'll be screaming to have the old system back!!

petey55 10 years, 1 month ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Omegatron 10 years, 1 month ago

"Maxhawk (anonymous) says...

There are billions made by a select few and that's not fair. Like hell it isn't. They are the teams that are actually making all the money. Those teams are already paying enough welfare (title 9) to choke a chicken."

First off Title 9 isn't welfare. And, based on your comments, something that is very much need today to prevent colleges/universities from discriminatory practices towards women.

It's also not paid for by these so-called "teams" that you are alluding to. It paid for by the educational institution which is suppose to be educating the masses, not following the New York Yankees business model.

jhokfan 10 years ago

Good point huskercarpenter. I forgot about the prosperity left to us in the wake of the Bush admin. Oh, if only we could get W back in office. Those were the good ole days.

Dan Harris 10 years ago

jhokfan- hell of a lot better then we are now and its only going to get worse!

DoubleDD 10 years ago

Be very careful for what you ask for. Just becuase it works for basketball doesn't mean it will work for football. Try to keep in mind there is alot more money to be made in football than basketball. Those with the money will put a strangle hold on this purposed tournament. Lets be honest here, the tournament in basketball is an awesome system. Yet how many real upsets happen in the tournament that turn the college basketball world upside down. My point the big dogs of college basketball still win the the tournament as much as the college football gaints win the title game without a tournament. A tournament isn't going to change the outcome, the big dogs are still going to win. In fact by going to a football tournament it could change the whole landscape of football. Think for a minute if the government is involved then the motive is for a fair playing field for everyone, even those lowly conferences that just don't play football. What does this mean??? It means your school could be a top six team in the country with one lose but you don't get to play a post season game, becuase Utah whiped all the scrubs they played in their conference. If you say "well hey they were undefeated they deserves to play in the tournament", then my ??? is would anybody want to play in a power conference??? Why play Texas and Oklahoma every year when you can play a weak conference and go undefeated??? If the amount of wins is what is important then in this new system you won't see the big boys going head to head in non con games their only going to play teams they know they can beat. Why risk the chance to play in the tournament. Be carefull what you ask for this isn't basketball.

Omegatron 10 years ago

"DoubleDD (anonymous) says...

It means your school could be a top six team in the country with one lose but you don't get to play a post season game, becuase Utah whiped all the scrubs they played in their conference. If you say "well hey they were undefeated they deserves to play in the tournament", then my ??? is would anybody want to play in a power conference??? Why play Texas and Oklahoma every year when you can play a weak conference and go undefeated??? If the amount of wins is what is important then in this new system you won't see the big boys going head to head in non con games their only going to play teams they know they can beat. Why risk the chance to play in the tournament. Be carefull what you ask for this isn't basketball. "

If they go to an NCAA "basketball style" tournament. Every conference winner would get an automatic bid and the other slots would be filled out according to record, quality, wins etc.

DoubleDD 10 years ago

Omegatron says

If they go to an NCAA "basketball style" tournament. Every conference winner would get an automatic bid and the other slots would be filled out according to record, quality, wins etc.

I'm not sure how big of a tournament they will have but I would bet everything that I have they don't go more than a 12 deep and that would be pushing it. Like I said this isn't basketball. You can't play two football games in three days. Just with conference winners thats what 11 teams??? The NFL playoffs has 12 teams and it takes 4 weeks to decide a champion. What you think there going to have a 32 team playoff?? Not going to happen. Be careful what you ask for you just might get it. So it would be possible to be a top 10 team say like Texas but you have one loss to OU you won't be playing in post season because Utah ran the table in the Mountian West and the government took away our bowel games so we could have a playoff system.

Omegatron 10 years ago

"DoubleDD (anonymous) says...

The NFL playoffs has 12 teams and it takes 4 weeks to decide a champion. What you think there going to have a 32 team playoff??"

Round of 32. Round of 16. Round of 8, Round of 4. Championship. 5 weeks. 6 if they do a one week layoff between the final four and the championship game.

Current bowl season is about as long lasting most of December into January...

Omegatron 10 years ago

To add. Big 12 championship game was December 5th. If you had a 32 game playoff it'd look something like this.

Round of 32: 12/10 to 12/13. Round of 16: 18/19 Round of 8: 25/26 Round of 4: January 1/2 Championship: one to two weeks later.

DoubleDD 10 years ago

Omegatron says

Round of 32. Round of 16. Round of 8, Round of 4. Championship. 5 weeks. 6 if they do a one week layoff between the final four and the championship game.

Current bowl season is about as long lasting most of December into January...

Not going to happen. Lets not forget they're college kids, they can't just play all these games to please the fans. Afterall it is about getting an education. Isn't it??? Maybe it does take a month to play all the bowel games, but each team that has earned the right to play in a bowel game only plays 1 game not 5 extra games. Think about it thats alot of extra games for a kid trying to get an education. Keep in mind most of these kids will never play in the NFL.

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