Archive for Friday, January 29, 2010

Federal government considering official investigation into legality of BCS

January 29, 2010


— 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."


Stephen Roberts 8 years, 3 months ago

Boy Obama wants to run everything. Isn't this silly that the government is looking into the BCS??

Landon Alger 8 years, 3 months ago

Yeah, that Orrin Hatch, the one who is pushing this, is another one of those typical big government Republicans who want government to run everything.

devobrun 8 years, 3 months ago

And why shouldn't government be involved with the college football championship?

We all are under the rule, the primacy of the federal government. Every part of your lives are stimulated, regulated, embellished, modified, controlled, and cajoled.

Taxes to limit, regulations to control, credits to stimulate, oversight committees, licensing bureaus. You can't eat, sleep, drink, smoke, speak, defecate or think without some government office telling you how to do it.

The left and the right are all in it together. Dems, Repubs, Hatch, Obama, doesn't matter who is the boss.....the people of America sold out their freedom years ago.

RIP freedom.

weeslicket 8 years, 3 months ago

errrrr. baseball.

actually, we should wonder about the legality of the ncaa. now that's a corker.

jumpin_catfish 8 years, 3 months ago

Country is going to hades in a hand basket and this is what is so important the tax payers pay millions to investigate. Impeach Obama and replace congress.

Matthew Herbert 8 years, 3 months ago

WHO THE F CARES. We are in the midst of a recession, our schools are falling apart, and we have troops scattered all over the world. BUT THANK GOD we are investigating college football. This is just as bad as George Bush bringing up steroids in baseball during his state of the union.

parrothead8 8 years, 3 months ago

Everything we have going wrong in this country, and THIS is what the Republicans and Democrats decide to work together on? Shame on them.

The American people should work together to ensure that no current member of Congress gets re-elected.

Tom McCune 8 years, 3 months ago

If the Federal TRADE Commission gets involved in college football, then it must be a business. If it's a business, then it can't be non-profit.

Flap Doodle 8 years, 3 months ago

I thought I was reading The Onion there for a moment.

diplomacy205 8 years, 3 months ago

This is the administration's newest high priority? I guess unemployment isn't high enough to get their intention.

Susan Mangan 8 years, 3 months ago

Thank God there's something IMPORTANT for them to worry about! The economy is in the tank and terrorists are out to kill us, but college football is the big issue we need to address. It will really be a miracle if we don't face a serious and deadly attack in the next few years with screwed up priorities like these.

Tristan Moody 8 years, 3 months ago

VoiceOfReason must be of the mistaken belief that government can only do one thing at a time. Granted, on the face of it, it looks a bit silly.

justoneopinion 8 years, 3 months ago

I think this is great! The BCS needs some kind of play off to ensure the right team wins the national title. I didn't think it would take Obama to get er' done! I'm sure with all the millions at stake on these bowl games the government is probably trying to get their piece of the action! More to come.......

Susan Mangan 8 years, 3 months ago

No...I'm of the correct belief that the less the government is involved in, the better. They have few, and limited duties, which include national security and maintaining a unified national economy. College sports is NOT on that list.

Susan Mangan 8 years, 3 months ago

And...maybe, if they could perform their limited duties well, I'd be inclined to let them tackle something else. But they're doing a dismal job at what they're entrusted to do (BOTH parties), so, why on Earth, should we let them mess with something so far outside of their scope?? I'm not thrilled with the BCS system. But it certainly isn't a job for the Federal government.

Brian Laird 8 years, 3 months ago

VoiceOfReason (Anonymous) says… "No…I'm of the correct belief that the less the government is involved in, the better. They have few, and limited duties, which include national security and maintaining a unified national economy. College sports is NOT on that list"

So you think that KU should get rid of its basketball team since it is a state government institution that gets a large amount of money from the federal government? It would seem to me that since nearly all universities (public or private) accepts a large amount of money from the federal government (i.e. the US taxpayers) that the government (i.e. us) should have at least some say in how it is run.

On the other hand, one could also argue that college sports is largely a commercial enterprise funded by TV, ticket revenue and donations independent of athletics. In that case, the BCS is a commercial entity engaged in interstate commerce, which would then fall under the regulatory jurisdiction of the federal government and federal anti-trust law.

The specific application might not be a good idea, but I think that the federal government does have jurisdiction here.

devobrun 8 years, 3 months ago

Yer right, Boltzmann, the feds do have standing in this issue. They have standing in every issue because they have usurped most of the power from states, corporations, local police and courts, and on and on.

How 'bout we just drop the pretense and acquiesce entirely to the will of experts informing the federal government what every person should do with their lives from start to finish?

This piecemeal approach is inefficient and we should get rid of states, counties, cities. Replace them with a president. Their, tyranny can now be applied directly.

Wow, we would live in a workers utopia.

On another note, I noticed that an original copy of Marx's Communist Manifesto is selling at a fancy book store in N.Y for $16,000. Ain't Marxism great? Now the feds can just tax the profit at 90% and everything will be right.

myvotecounts 8 years, 3 months ago

When Congress gets done making the BCS into what they want it to be, they need to look into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which is not exactly a hall of fame, and doesn't seem to get what rock and roll is. In other words, it's just a business with a catchy name that misleads a lot of consumers into thinking it really is a rock and roll hall of fame, and prevents a real rock and roll hall of fame from calling itself that, because that name has been taken. As for other matters such as national defense, job creation, and energy policy, well, maybe we can continue to let those matters take care of themselves.

hesshawk 8 years, 3 months ago

You all realize tyhat the whole plan is to tax the he%( out of it somehow, but they have to have government intervention to get control of it first.
Control it, Tax it, Ruin it.

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