NCAA Football

Lawsuit Filed Against BCS, Describes System as "Illegal Monopoly”

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Well, it’s finally happened. Somebody has decided to file suit against the BCS. That somebody is Utah attorney general Mark Shurtleff, who told USA Today that he’ll file a lawsuit in federal court claiming that the BCS is “an illegal monopoly” violating antitrust regulations.

Shurtleff said that he’ll likely file the suit within the next couple of months and that he expects at least two other state attorneys general to join him. “I think more will get involved,” Shurtleff said according to USA Today, “as they have a chance to look at what we’re talking about—that this isn’t about bragging rights, it isn’t some kind of frivolous deal, there are serious antitrust violations that are hampering 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…all the way from the Sherman Act through price fixing.” 

The suit will argue the BCS restrains trade and will “ask the judge to order some way to fix it. It’s not my call on how to fix it,” Shurtleff said, “but I think clearly (it would be) to go to a playoff and eliminate the BCS.”

BCS Director Bill Hancock responded, although he wouldn’t comment on the actual suit, “I’m not an attorney, but I know antitrust laws challenge entities that limit access and the BCS provides access in spades,” Hancock said.

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“The BCS also doesn’t limit supply,” Hancock argues. “There’s more (bowl) games than ever before. It’s created a national championship game that didn’t exist before. So in terms of access for the consumer and supply for the consumer, and just access in general, contrary to limiting that, the BCS has enhanced it.”

It’s beyond me how anybody can defend the BCS and it’s my belief, supported by a couple fan polls that appeared on Xtra Point Football the past couple of seasons, that most college football fans would prefer a playoff over the BCS. It just makes sense that every team from the Florida Atlantic Owls in the Sun Belt Conference to the Alabama Crimson Tide in the SEC has an equal and fair shot at the national title at the beginning of the year. The BCS simply does not provide that.

Fortunately, the court system will now have its say in whether the BCS violates antitrust laws and, ultimately, whether the system will survive to snub more undefeated teams from a shot at the national title. Fans have to hate to get their hopes up whenever they read something that could hint at the possible  death to the BCS, the case for which Dan Wetzel, Jeff Passan and Josh Peter make clear in their book so appropriately titled Death to the BCS, but seeing the case finally headed to court gives plenty of reason to hope.