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Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Go to the BCS Championship

January 30, 2010

The Canadian Press (ironic I know) is reporting that the US Justice Department is looking into the legality of the BCS:

The Justice Department says the Obama administration is considering a number of steps that would look into the legality of the controversial Bowl Championship Series.

Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich wrote in a letter to Sen. Orrin Hatch on Friday that the department will determine whether to open an investigation into whether the BCS violates antitrust laws.

ESPN.com, in discussing Assistant Attorney General Weich’s comments reports:

“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.

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.

This would be a great step for the Bowl Championship Series and NCAA Football in general, as it would bring us one step closer to a playoff system. When undefeated teams are not even considered, the National Championship is hardly a decisive title game. The BCS remains defiant, as BCS Commissioner Bill Hancock said, in a statement released earlier today “”This letter is nothing new and if the Justice Department thought there was a case to be made, they likely would have made it already.”

The dispairity in the BCS system has been evident for years, and the exclusion of Boisie State (or even TCU who I feel is the better of the two) from a CHANCE at the national title game is ridiculous. You cannot claim that the winner of the BCS Championship is truly the best team in the nation without giving every team in FBS a competitive Chance. Consider that since 1999 Oklahoma has appeared in four BCS title games, Florida State and Ohio in three and Florida State while Miami (Fla.), USC, Texas, Florida and LSU made two appearances each. While these teams continued to play in BCS Title Games, “unbeaten Auburn and Utah (2005), Boise State (2007), Hawaii (2008), Utah (2009) and Cincinnati, TCU and Boise State (2009) all finished their respective regular seasons undefeated.”

The only way to change the BCS and move to a playoff would be a move as drastic as antitrust legislation directed at the BCS. Don’t believe me? BCS commissioner Bill Hancock told reporters the first week of January, “The fact is what we have right now works. Who would you ask not to be a part of this?” The problem is that teams ARE asking to be “a part of this” and are being kept out.

Groups like Playoff PAC, founded by 2007 Truman Scholar Bryson Morgan is directed at making a College Football playoff a reality. Hopefully with the Justice Department’s help, Playoff PAC will be successful. For the sake of college football fans everywhere, we need a playoff!

– JDR

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