Blog Entry

Latest BCS attack; Fiesta news

Posted on: April 13, 2011 12:05 pm
Edited on: April 14, 2011 10:28 pm
Twenty-one economics, sports management and anti-trust experts have sent a letter to the Justice Department asking it to look into legality of the BCS.

While this isn't huge news -- opponents have attacked the BCS on anti-trust issues for years -- it comes at a time when the system seems to be somewhat vulnerable. The Fiesta Bowl will meet with a BCS task force on April 23 in Chicago as part of an ongoing investigation. The meeting has been characterized as "information sharing." Ultimately, the bowl basically must justify why it should stay in the BCS after an in-house review revealed vast wrongdoing and lavish spending. John Junker was fired as Fiesta executive director after it was revealed there may have been illegal campaign contributions. 

Here is the letter. It is interesting to note that only four of the 21 signatories are from BCS institutions. The highest profile member is economist Andrew Zimbalist who has been a critic and knowledgeable analyst of the college power elite.

" ... the core issue is that six conferences have bear hugged the goodies and agreed to run things for their mutual benefit," Len Simon told the Wall Street Journal. Simon, one of the 21, is an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego which has been in the news recently.  

The BCS has consistently maintained that it is not in violation of anti-trust laws. 

"The Justice Department has been asked to do that [look into the BCS] before," said Bill Hancock, BCS executive director. "We have not heard a word from Justice. I think that is because they know the BCS complies with the law."

Alan Fishel, counsel for the Mountain West and Boise State responded: “I think it’s rather presumptuous of the BCS to make that assumption. To my knowledge, the Department of Justice has yet to make a determination regarding this matter.”  

Eighteen months ago, Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah sent a letter to President Obama asking him to urge the Justice Department to look into BCS anti-trust issues. A Justice official wrote back in January 2010 saying it was deciding whether to proceed. That caused much consternation among BCS types. If nothing else, the fact that Justice showed mild interest was a lot more threatening than just dismissing the matter. As recently as June, Hatch was urging Justice to investigate

Hatch's stance is notable because it was around that time that the University of Utah, in the senator's home state, was being admitted into the Pac-10 which is a BCS conference.

The comments by two officials from last year indicate that the BCS will not be given special treatment:

Hatch asked the head of Justice's anti-trust division, Christine Varney, and Federal Trade commission chairman Jonathan Leibowitz: “Would the fact that these issues revolve around college sports keep the Justice Department from bringing a case” (against the BCS)? 

Varney: “Senator, my view is that sports are business.  They’re a big business, whether they’re in college or out of college…  All of these enterprises are subject to the antitrust laws. We will obviously investigate, thoroughly pursue, and bring the appropriate action against any enterprise whether it’s sporting or otherwise that’s in violation of the antitrust laws.”

Leibowitz: “When Senator DeWine and Senator Kohl took over the Antitrust Subcommittee in, I think, 1997 and I was one of the staff directors, the first hearing we did was on the BCS. And at that time it seemed to us, and you know this, that it was a bunch of big, large competitors who got together … and excluded some of the little guys.”

Hancock added the Fiesta investigation won't be finished by the time of the annual BCS meetings April 26-28 in New Orleans.
Category: NCAAF

Since: Nov 17, 2007
Posted on: April 13, 2011 5:07 pm

Latest BCS attack; Fiesta news

Thank you.

Now we have something meaningless to further tie up Congress instead of them passing the freaking budget before they put a few 10s of thousands of small businesses in Chapter 11.

Since: Jun 13, 2007
Posted on: April 13, 2011 4:49 pm

Latest BCS attack; Fiesta news

I am an Arizona resident and I am appalled at how the Fiesta Bowl has done business.  To think that all this bribery and payoff crap was done in a vacuum without the knowledge of the Bowl committee is ludicrous.  Firing John Junker now is the work of the committee covering its butt.  The state will take a financial hit if the Fiesta Bowl is not part of the rotating system, but that sanction is fully justified.  The BCS is not without blame and maybe all the other cash bloated bowls need to be audited.  The current Fiesta Bowl should be dissolved and start anew with a trustworthy executive committee to show its commitment to be penitent for its sins.  How embarrassing.

Since: Aug 18, 2010
Posted on: April 13, 2011 4:04 pm

Latest BCS attack; Fiesta news

This makes little sense.  The nonBCS schools have never made as much from bowl money as they do now.  Would they rather go back to the old way where the best bowl a nonBCS team could get was the Holiday Bowl.  There is a reason the big boys make all the money; because they are the teams people want to see.  There are a few nonBCS teams that are fun to watch when they play a good opponent(Boise State comes to mind), but there are not many. 

Since: Mar 26, 2007
Posted on: April 13, 2011 4:04 pm

Latest BCS attack; Fiesta news

The easy solution would be to go back to the four major bowls with their conference tie-ins and two at large teams. They all play on January 1st as they used to. Take the four winnwrs and have your playoff for the national title. The bowls keep their status and money. The student athletes don't miss class as the extra games are during the semester break.

Since: Oct 27, 2010
Posted on: April 13, 2011 3:44 pm

Latest BCS attack; Fiesta news

Actually. its not anyone's guess.  One of the bigwigs from one of the power schools and a BCS board member said something to the effect that if they put too much heat on them, "...they would blow the whole thing up and go back to the old way, everyone for themselves."   They make break up the BCS but the hammer still belongs to the big schools with big followings.  And there are no anti-trust implications as everyone is free to make their own deal.  The Govenment cannot make any team play or not play, it will be their choice.  How many major bowls did Utah, Boise and TCU etc. play in under the old bowl system? If they take the bowls non-profit status, that will make it just that much harder for the wanna-bes.  I personally liked it the old way:  every major game on New Years Day and each in competition for the audience.  You would never have seen UConn v OU or Boise v. TCU. That would be the benefit of "blowing up the BCS".  No way would that lead to a NCAA playoff. 

Since: Aug 17, 2006
Posted on: April 13, 2011 3:07 pm

Latest BCS attack; Fiesta news

Did I really just read an article with a Dodd By-line that did not put down Ohio State or revel in the SEC?  I actually see some research and opinion.  Wow!  I am overwhelmed.

Thanks for actually being a writer and member of an unbiased media. 

I am sure that it wil not last!  we all know the BCS is a money making scheme.  Isnt all NCAA Football though?  The only question is who gets the big money.  Be it the players or the smaller conferences does not matter.  The rich get richer and it will be that way for the forseeable future.
Nice article and insight though. 

Since: Jan 1, 2007
Posted on: April 13, 2011 1:50 pm

Latest BCS attack; Fiesta news

I am all for bringing down the BCS, but the fact that 11 non BCS schools have finished in the top 25, which is equal to the SEC does not help your case. There are about 50-55 non BCS schools vs. 12 SEC schools. It took 4 times as many of them to equal the SEC? The system is indeed unfair, but that comparison doesn't help much.

Since: Jun 30, 2009
Posted on: April 13, 2011 1:46 pm

Latest BCS attack; Fiesta news

I wonder if this is a good article but since Dodd has been such a biased tool in his writings I have no desire to read any of his articles again.  But I do like sharing my opinion.

Since: Nov 16, 2010
Posted on: April 13, 2011 1:23 pm

Latest BCS attack; Fiesta news

Since: Jan 16, 2010
Posted on: April 13, 2011 1:23 pm

Latest BCS attack; Fiesta news

The system is corrupt plain and simple. You have 6 conferences taking 87% of the revenues while the 5 other D1 conferences must survive on the remaining 13%. Over the last 2 seasons we have had 11 non BCS programs finish in the top 25 the most of any conference and tied with the SEC. The SEC raked in 54 million from Bowls alone this season while if you take TCU out of the mix the biggest payday for a non AQ program was 1.25 million.

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