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Obama Administration May Go After BCS for Anti Trust

Written by:
Jagajeet Chiba
Published on:
Jan/29/2010
BCS Obama

The Associated Press was reporting on Friday that the Obama administration may go after the BCS for anti trust violations.

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 much of the public we might add) have been calling for a Playoffs type system rather than the current ratings system that regularly comes under fire.

The President has long stressed that he would like to see a Playoffs system. 

"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.

Earlier this month, Gambling911.com featured an excellent report by Evan Burgos, a staff writer for the Pitt News, whereby he argued that the BCS Championship is all "about profits and exploiting student athletes."

"It is a system driven purely by capital - it is far more about making money than competitive legitimacy and the growth of young adults. If the players were professional athletes, it might be acceptable, but they are students."

And the system is not always fair (a primary reason why there is such an outcry for a Playoffs-type system with NCAA Football every year around this time).

Burgos explains:

"Typically, powerhouse teams from mid-major conferences like Boise State do not begin the season ranked within the top-10. This year the Broncos started the season at No. 14.

"Though Boise State finished the regular season 13-0, with an impressive win against Oregon and a flawless conference record, the team finished just sixth nationally heading into their bowl game. Despite a strong schedule that included six road games, the Broncos started the year in too big of a hole to ever ascend to No. 1 or 2.

 

"So, how does this happen? Well, it's obvious. When coaches vote on preseason rankings, coaches from major conference tend to favor bigger schools based on reputation, ignoring factors like strength of schedule (see: Texas). The higher the major teams are ranked from the outset, the better probability they will be standing one or two at year's end. So, what's the incentive? Well, when a team reaches a BCS bowl game, $17.5 million is given to each conference represented. The more major teams in BCS games, the more money that is paid to each program. The rich get richer. Somebody call in Robin Hood, because this is highway robbery."

Weich in his note to Senator Hatch points out 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.

Jagajeet Chiba, Gambling911.com

 

 

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