Blog Entry

Utah president says BCS is vulnerable, sort of

Posted on: March 3, 2011 12:38 am
Edited on: March 3, 2011 12:41 am
SALT LAKE CITY -- Michael Young knows the law. Specifically, Harvard Law. (That was his law school.) Early in his career, Utah's president clerked for Supreme Court justice William Rehnquist.

So the question seemed logical when I posed it to Young Wednesday in his office: With your background, what do you think of the legal challenges to the BCS?

Young believes the BCS is most vulnerable when it comes to estricting fair trade, the anti-trust angle.

"That's the only place you could win," he said.

The usual calls for anti-trust action have been replaced by challenges to the BCS bowls' tax-exempt status.  Young gave BCS haters everywhere hope when he said, "I actually think that there is probably a perspective where you could take it all the way and win the case [against the BCS]."

Remember, this is a guy who recently crossed over to the "dark side", from non-BCS to BCS. Utah joins the Pac-12 this year.

Young's comments came the same day as NCAA president Mark Emmert said the association would "be happy" to help create a playoff. Emmert's predecessor, the late Myles Brand, told me the same thing a few years ago. Of course, the NCAA would be happy to help with a playoff. It would profit from it (along the membership too, of course). 

The reason the BCS exists is to keep it out of the hands of the NCAA. Point being, that the NCAA is powerless to create a playoff unless there is a sudden shift in the opinions of college presidents. 

"An anti-trust case could go a little further," Young said. "The question is does [the BCS] tie up the market? I think the BCS' argument is that it doesn't because ... these are the [power-conference] schools that people care to watch."

What undermines that argument, Young said, is TV ratings. When non-BCS schools have gotten into BCS bowls, those games have done respectable ratings numbers. It's not necessarily all about televising the top 40 football factories. For example, ABC's telecast of the Rose Bowl (featuring TCU) had the second-largest bowl audience of the season, according to reports, behind only the BCS title game.

Young's experience in Washington, D.C. -- he also worked for four years in the State Department -- make him cynical. He wondered how many legislators from the states of major football powers (Michigan, Florida, Pennsylvania, for example) would attack the BCS. Maybe that's why Obama the Candidate used his call for an eight-team playoff as a populist ploy. Obama the President knows there is no way in hell, he could legitimately take on the BCS while in office with gas approaching $4 a gallon.

It's much more important to fix the country than to fix a sport. 

"Somebody is going to figure out there is a bonanza out there to create a playoff system," Young said. "Once they see it and put the money up, it will happen."

Young was reminded that Mark Cuban is organizing a playoff war chest. So far, it has been ignored. Also, ABC essentially proposed a Plus One 6 1/2 years ago with the same result. 

"What will blow up the BCS isn't going to be all this noise on the sideline," Young said. "What will blow up the BCS is when the [TV rightsholders] realize they can create a March Madness with football, when any of the major networks decide, 'This is bigger than the Olympics.' "

Category: NCAAF
Tags: BCS, NCAA, TCU, Utah

Since: Nov 19, 2006
Posted on: April 3, 2011 10:38 am

Utah president says BCS is vulnerable, sort of

The bottom line is simple.   Get the FBS School Presidents behind this idea and it will come to pass.  Certainly a "plus one" is a great starting point.  Remember, the NCAA Basketball Torunament started with just 8 teams.  With the NCAA, you have to crawl way before you walk.  A playoff will eventually come, be it 4 or 8 teams, but we are still years away from it.  We KNOW that nothing will be done until after the 2014 season.  Then it will be time for the BCS Conferences to step in and make the changes.  My guess is that the SEC and newly formed Pac 12 with it's innovative President will have to lead the way.

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: March 7, 2011 11:28 am

Utah president says BCS is vulnerable, sort of

Actually, Obama the president would be making a great decision to take on the BCS. If he's focused on the BCS, he won't have time to drive us into a deeper mess, and he might actually do something right for once.

Since: Feb 22, 2008
Posted on: March 3, 2011 5:08 pm

Utah president says BCS is vulnerable, sort of

The reason his arguments won't gain traction with the public is that the BCS conferences realized that they faced credible threats and went ahead and flipped Utah and TCU into their fold.  Now with only Boise left out in the cold among BCS busters, you may as well forget about this debate heating up. 

Since: Apr 28, 2009
Posted on: March 3, 2011 12:33 pm

Utah president says BCS is vulnerable, sort of

The Rose Bowl was on ESPN.  If this happens before 2050, I will be amazed.

Since: Feb 8, 2008
Posted on: March 3, 2011 12:11 pm

Utah president says BCS is vulnerable, sort of

screw the BCs and the NCAA.  Of I'd be happy with a playoff system.  Un huh yeah right.  Cuban should cut out both of these corrupt organizations and deal direct with the universities and their presidents. 

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or