Blog Entry

TEXT: Dept. of Justice's letter to Emmert, BCS

Posted on: May 4, 2011 5:05 pm
Edited on: May 4, 2011 5:06 pm
 

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Yesterday, the United States Department of Justice issued a letter to NCAA president Mark Emmert and BCS executive Bill Hancock, asking why the FBS (formerly I-A football) did not have a postseason playoff, among other questions. The DOJ has not introduced a formal case against the NCAA, nor has it announced any future plans to bring one, but this letter, reprinted in full below, makes it appear that simply declaring confidence that no antitrust laws are being broken, as Hancock has done in the past, may no longer a viable option for the NCAA or BCS.

The letter is also available in PDF form from the Utah attorney general's office here

 

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
Antitrust Division 
CHRISTINE A. VARNEY 
Assistant Attorney General 
RFK Main Justice Building 
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. 
Washington, D.C.  20530-0001 
(202)514-2401/  (202)616-2645 (Fax) 

May 3, 2011 

Mark A. Emmert, Ph.D. 
President 
National Collegiate Athletic Association 
P.O. Box 6222 
Indianapolis, IN 46206 

Dear Dr. Emmert:

Serious questions continue to arise suggesting that the current Bowl Championship Series (BCS) system may not be conducted consistent with the competition principles expressed in the federal antitrust laws. The Attorney General of Utah has announced an intention to file an antitrust lawsuit against the BCS. In addition, we recently received a request to open an investigation of the BCS from a group of twenty-one professors, a copy of which is attached. Other prominent individuals also have publicly encouraged the Antitrust Division to take action aggainst the BCS, arguing that it violates the antitrust laws.

On March 2, 2011, the New York Times reported that the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) was "willing to help create a playoff format to decide a national championship for the top level of college football." In that context, it would be helpful for us to understand your views and/or plans on the following:

  1. Why does the Football Bowl Subdivision not have a playoff, when so many other NCAA sports have NCAA-run playoffs or championships?
  2. What steps, if any, has the NCAA taken to create a playoff among Football Bowl Subdivision programs before or during your tenure? To the extent any steps were taken, why were they not successful? What steps does the NCAA plan to take to create a playoff at this time?
  3. Have you determined that there are aspects of the BCS system that do not serve the interests of fans, colleges, universities, and players? To what extent could an alternative system better serve those interests?

Your views would be relevant in helping us to determine the best course of action with regard to the BCS. Therefore, we thank you in advance for your prompt attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

Christine A. Varney

cc:   Bill Hancock 

BCS executive director

Comments

Since: Aug 23, 2006
Posted on: May 5, 2011 12:21 am
 

TEXT: Dept. of Justice's letter to Emmert, BCS

I strongly Disgree with this statement. I think only fans from the BCS conferences want this to happen since it keeps their programs as elite status. But any non-bcs conference wants a playoff system that will benefit their schools and atheletic programs. I personally am a fan of a non-BCS school and want a playoff system. I avoided college football and found it profoundly stupid that people pick the teams that play for a championship instead of a fair and democratic way like a playoff system.



Since: Sep 4, 2006
Posted on: May 4, 2011 11:20 pm
 

TEXT: Dept. of Justice's letter to Emmert, BCS

Some people really are stupid. Notice how each of the three questions builds to an obvious assumption?
  1. Why does the Football Bowl Subdivision not have a playoff, when so many other NCAA sports have NCAA-run playoffs or championships?
Why? Because bowl games are part of real college football. Playoffs are not. Furthermore, a playoff does not crown a legit champion. Bowl games have proven to do just that more often than not.
  1. What steps, if any, has the NCAA taken to create a playoff among Football Bowl Subdivision programs before or during your tenure? To the extent any steps were taken, why were they not successful? What steps does the NCAA plan to take to create a playoff at this time?
Why would steps be taken to destroy the game? The NCAA has not plan because if we try to destroy college football by instilling a playoff, the big six conferences will simply leave the NCAA and from their own governing body and we will be ___ out of luck.
  1. Have you determined that there are aspects of the BCS system that do not serve the interests of fans, colleges, universities, and players? To what extent could an alternative system better serve those interests?
The only aspect of the BCS that does not serve the interests of the fans, schools or players are free loading bottom feeders like Bosie State expecting a hand out for winning their cupcake conference. The fans, schools and players support bowl games in over whelming number. Only casual fans want a playoff.



Since: Feb 4, 2011
Posted on: May 4, 2011 7:56 pm
 

Remeber people

As a non-profit, the BCS does not pay any taxes.
As non-profits, the bowl games do not pay any taxes.
As non-profits, the universities do not pay any taxes.



Since: Jan 9, 2007
Posted on: May 4, 2011 7:36 pm
 

TEXT: Dept. of Justice's letter to Emmert, BCS

Before someone posts some nonsense about either "this isn't the government's responsbility" or "don't they have better things to do"...

It's amazing how the DoJ and Congress can do multiple things at once, and have been doing so for decades.  That argument is just silly.

As far as responsibility, the federal government has every right to use its influence on the NCAA.  The organization enjoys anti-trust protections and tax exemptions, its member institutions include public universities, and both public and private institutions receive federal funding.  On top of all this, the bowl system is made up of organizations who have a non-profit tax status which until now has been allowed to conduct business with no scrutiny.  There's a lot of money changing hands between non-profit organizations, many of whom are operated by state governments.  Of course the federal government should be interested in how this business operates.  I for one hope that the federal government's influcence finally fixes this abomination of a post-season.



Since: Jan 18, 2007
Posted on: May 4, 2011 7:23 pm
 

TEXT: Dept. of Justice's letter to Emmert, BCS

This letter is exactly what more and more fans have started asking in the last decade.

This is the start, friends.  A playoff is coming.  Too bad it took the government and a little law Teddy Roosevelt started over a century ago.  If this happens, I'm nominated Teddy for a spot in the college football hall.



Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: May 4, 2011 7:07 pm
 

TEXT: Dept. of Justice's letter to Emmert, BCS

Bill Hancock is pathetic. Hopefully this removes him from college football.


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