John Brannen" />
side bar
Sunday, September 24, 2023


Suing for BCS change a lost cause

Approximately five months remain until the start of the college football season, but dissent is always prevalent in the controversial world of amateur sports.

The latest complaitant is Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff. He plans on filing a federal lawsuit against the Bowl Championship Series for violating antitrust laws,claiming that it is a monopoly.

“This isn’t about bragging rights,” Shurtleff said to USA Today. “It isn’t some kind of frivolous deal, there are serious antitrust violations that are harming taxpayer-funded institutions to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.

“And the right thing to do, regardless of whether teams in your state benefit, is to go after the antitrust violations.”

This draws similarities to 2008 when Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas proposed a bill that would prohibit the NCAA from calling the last game of the season the “national championship.”

What Barton was after, and what Shurtleff is striving for is the implementation of a playoff system in college football.

One of Shurtleff’s inspirations for the lawsuit stems from the 2007-2008 season when the Utah Utes went 13-0. They were the only undefeated team in the NCAA, but because of the BCS formula, Utah still did not qualify for the national championship game.

Part of that was because Utah was in the Mountain West Conference, a non-automatic qualifying conference.

Instead it was the 13-1 Florida Gators who won it all, beating the Oklahoma Sooners, who were 12-1 prior to the loss in the championship game. The Utes received an at-large bid to the Fiesta Bowl and ended their season ranked second overall, and were left pondering “what if.”

“It’s an illegal monopoly, a restraint of trade,”Shurtleff said to the Salt Lake Tribune. “It benefits the few at the expense of others.”

But that was then. Utah was one of several opportunistic schools to upgrade its league, by accepting an invitation to the Pacific-12 Conference, an automatic qualifier. The Utes will begin Pac-12 play this year, and another unblemished season would likely land them in the championship without any debate.

Even though Utah should not get slighted again, Shurtleff continues his crusade against the BCS, for all of the other schools in non-AQ conferences.

Shurtleff is not even a Utah alumnus. He attended Brigham Young which is one of Utah’s chief rivals. While there surely has to be more pressing matters in the state of Utah, he is trying to do a deed that would benefit his entire constituency.

He deserves a salute for standing up for the little guy. With allegations of corruption and special treatment rampant across college sports, Shurtleff’s involvement shows that he thinks the NCAA is not capable of governing itself, and that politicians must get involved.

The general makeup of college football fans do not favor the current BCS system, Shurtleff is just the latest spokesman crying foul against the BCS.

While he is taking up a noble cause, Shurtleff is wasting his time and resources — and the odds will be stacked heavily against him.

The BCS system is successful as it exists today, even if its selection process is considered to be questionable. NCAA administrators do not want football season to be a two-semester sport, and a playoff system would make the tradition of annual bowl games obsolete.

He should shift his focus to other items, like the BCS contract with multiple television networks expiring in 2013. Bringing more attention to the subject, and educating fans before 2013 could be a starting point for a movement that has not yet to picked up any true momentum.

More big names and groups need to voice their displeasure with the BCS if they feel it is unfair as a unified front to protest the extension of the BCS contract.

At a minimum, Shurtleff’s activity has sparked more discussion about the BCS — he has already done a good job of making a sport in its offseason relevant. Unfortunately for him, it may be a losing battle.

One Response to Suing for BCS change a lost cause

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to Top ↑
  • Sign up for our Email Edition

  • Polls

    What about UH will you miss the least this summer?

    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...