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Tag:Christine Varney
Posted on: May 18, 2011 1:37 pm
Edited on: May 18, 2011 1:39 pm
 

Mark Emmert responds to the Dept. of Justice

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Earlier this month Christine Varney and the Department of Justice sent a letter to NCAA president Mark Emmert and BCS executive Bill Hancock essentially asking why it is that the FBS level of college football is the only sport within the NCAA that does not hold a playoff to determine its champion. Well, after considering the question for a few weeks, Emmert has finally replied to the Department of Justice's inquiry, releasing the response on Wednesday.

Dear Ms. Varney:

We are in receipt of your May 3, 2011, letter and note your interest in the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) system. You asked for the NCAA's views and/or plans rleated to the Football Bowl Subdicision (FBS) postseason football, including an NCAA playoff. Inasmuch as the BCS system does not fall under the purview of the NCAA, it is not appropriate for me to provide views on the system. With regard to the Association's plans for an NCAA FBS football championship, there are no plans absent direction from our membership to do so. These are the short answers to your request.

To elaborate, however, it is important to share some relevant background. The BCS system is composed of the eleven conferences, plus Notre Dame, that are members of the FBS. It was established, as I understand it, to accomodate public interest for determining a subdivision football champion via on-field competition within a more than century-old bowl structure. In essence, the system includes match-ups among the top-ranked teams for five bowls, including a BCS Championship Game in which the BCS-determined top two teams compete. The selection criteria and bowl match-ups are managed by the 11 conferences. Other than licensing the postseason FBS bowls, the NCAA has no role to play in the BCS or the BCS system. As a result, your request for views on how the BCS system serves "the interest of fans, colleges, universities, and players" is better directed to the BCS itself.

The NCAA conducts 89 championships in 23 sports annually, and each of those championships has been created at the request of the Association's membership. At no time in the history of the FBS or its predecessor, Division I-A, has a formal proposal come before the membership to establish a postseason football championship in that subdivision. Instead, the FBS has elected to conduct its postseason competition outside the NCAA structure. Without membership impetus for a postseason playoff, the NCAA has no mandate to create and conduct an FBS football championship.

You noted in your letter that I had been quoted expressing my willingness to help create a championship. Not included in your letter was the context reported by the New York Times that such a change "would not happen unless the leaders of the institutions with teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision want to make such a change." This is consistent with my comments regarding an NCAA FBS championship since I came into office in October last year.

The letter from Emmert then goes on to answer the questions individually, but none of the answer are different than anything Emmert said in the body of the letter quoted above. Essentially the NCAA used a lot of words to say "We don't have a playoff because none of our schools have asked us to do so, and that the BCS is who you should be asking about the BCS. Have a nice day." 

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

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

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

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