Are the NCAA and the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) Committing collusion? And are they in violation of federal anti-trust laws? The evidence is mounting against them that they are, indeed, acting monopolistically in trying to prevent non-BCS schools from playing for a national championship, and for competing for those ever-growing BCS money prizes.
In doing my research for this article, I went on a journey, covering a period from 1998 (when Tulane University became the very first what we refer to today as a potential “BCS Buster"), to present day congressional hearings.
The information I have found, I believe, lead to the BCS, BCS Conference Commissioners, BCS university presidents and chancellors, the NCAA, the University of Notre Dame, and the various media networks that cover college football, all being part of a major conspiracy involving cover-ups, fraud and, more important than anything else, money…BIG MONEY.
This was a long and arduous journey that I will, as briefly as possible, explain to you. So grab a cup of coffee, or another drink of choice, and really concentrate on what I have found the powers-that-be in the BCS and NCAA believe to be most important in college football…and it’s not the Sears Trophy. I can promise you that.
Before we get into the intricacies of this potential suit and case against the BCS, I would like to review a bit of history on this subject. I found some very interesting information, information that, though I recall now, I had forgotten over the years. The BCS, lest we forget, does have a way of making things…go away, if you will.
There are number of national-level politicians who, at one point or another, have come out against the BCS and/or its format for determining the FBS national champion. A list that happens to include the President and Vice President of the United States, and the number in this group is growing rapidly.
I don’t know about you, but the United States government would appear to be a pretty formidable foe for anyone to tackle. And, if you consider it to be a mixture of both Democrats and Republicans fighting this fight together, this issue has truly garnered bi-partisan support the likes of which has not been seen since FDR signed the Declaration of War (against Japan) on December 8, 1941.
The amount of apparent evidence I and others have found against the BCS is too vast to list here, in this article, but you can go to http://www.obamawantsplayoffs.com for a partial list of events over the past 12 years that could prove catastrophic for the BCS. For now, we will use the following storyline to encapsulate our findings.
January 2, 2009, New Orleans, LA: The No. 7 ranked Utah Utes had just completely demoralized the No.4 ranked Alabama Crimson 31-17 in the 2009 Allstate Sugar Bowl. I mean it wasn’t even close. And to think, had Notre Dame finished 9-4 instead of 7-6, Utah may not have even been invited to supper at the “Adult Table” of college football.
Now recall, if you will, how eventual BCS Champion Florida barely squeaked by ‘Bama in the 2008 Southeastern Conference Championship Game, and then not-so-convincingly defeated Oklahoma in the January 8, 2009 BCS National Championship Game.
January 9, 2009, New Orleans, LA: Cue Senator Orrin Hatch (R., Utah), Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, and University of Utah President Michael K. Young, all of whom, prior to the game versus Alabama, had been barking rather loudly that they truly believed Utah was going to defeat the Crimson Tide. And all of whom, subsequent to the not-so-impressive BCS title bout, shouted from the rooftops that Utah, with the best inter-conference, and only undefeated record in all of FBS football, deserved to be the No. 1 ranked National Champions.
I agreed, as well as several others I know. After watching both games last year, I distinctly remember thinking that, perhaps, just perhaps, the BCS got it wrong this time. Maybe the best team in the country actually didn’t get crowned the BCS National Champion.
And frankly, the BCS really had no argument to combat Utah’s assertions. Utah, a 9 ½-point underdog to ‘Bama, had, after all, just brutally dismantled and embarrassed a team from the BCS’s most prized possession, the SEC – yeah, I said it – and had, just a few years before, beaten another favored team, Pitt, in another BCS game. By my count, that’s two undefeated seasons and a 2-0 record in BCS games within a four-year period.
However, the BCS politely and degradingly patted these men on their backs, and like a school teacher scolding her students during recess, told them to go and play with the other little children. Translation: You don’t belong here, on this side of the playground…with the Big Boys.
Now that, my friends, is arrogance. To not politely act as if you are listening to someone’s opinion, and then rudely toss that opinion away like rotten vegetables is one thing. But, to blatantly look a United States Senator in the eyes and tell him you could care less? That is another decision entirely and one which could potentially lead to some serious consequences.
July 7, 2009, Washington, D.C.: Fast-forwarding through the Spring and early Summer of 2009, we arrive on Capitol Hill where, after months of threats and insinuation, Senator Hatch had just chaired a standing-room-only hearing in the Senate sub-committee on anti-trust oversight, on which he serves as the top Republican.
A hearing on BCS, the NCAA and Anti-Trust violation? Standing room only? You see, I told you: never tick-off a U.S. Senator. It simply never ends well for anyone that does.
In this hearing, Hatch called witnesses in support of the BCS, as well those of the belief that the BCS and the NCAA are in violation of U.S. Anti-Trust Law. Frankly, after watching the recorded video of testimony from both sides, I think the BCS proponents looked just like, well, in the words of former Arizona Cardinals Head Coach Dennis Greene, “They are what we thought they were!”
The Crux of the Matter
Okay, so now we know that, in the beginning, Utah’s big politicians were complaining about not being able to play for a national title. Now, however, they are talking about anti-trust concerns, monopolies, and collusion.
And the truth, they say, shall set you free. Finally. Someone is admitting that it is not about the Sears Trophy. Rather, it is about money, and a lot of it. This year’s pots were approximately $17 million to each school that participated in a BCS game.
That money is, of course, divvied up between all of the teams in that team’s conference. And therein lies the rub, folks. That is why the presidents and chancellors of the BCS conference schools don’t want the Boise States, Utahs and TCUs to play in BCS games: they don’t want to share the money with those “outsiders".
Think about it, folks, after Florida and Alabama took their cuts for playing in this year’s Sugar and BCS National Championship games, there was roughly $26 million split up between 10 other SEC schools. I mean, Vanderbilt and Kentucky earned $2.6 million free money, not because they were good, but because they happen to have 2 of the best 3 teams in the country in their conference.
Why wouldn’t they want to keep this money train rolling, or do anything they possibly could to ensure that it does? This would include colluding with “the enemy”, schools in other BCS conferences, while the lesser fortunate schools, like Boise State, TCU and Utah, though not in BCS conferences but regularly defeat opponents who are, are normally left out of the BCS money bag.
How mad do you think the Big XII was this past season when, after Nebraska gave Texas all it wanted in the Big XII Championship game, both Boise State and TCU were invited to the BCS dance? Had either faltered during the season, the Big XII schools would have been in the situation SEC schools were in, sharing alot more money.
The key, in this case as in all cases, is proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the BCS and NCAA are, in fact, in violation of the law. Well, let’s look at that.
So, some people are asking “What is collusion, exactly, and why should Congress be worrying about this, when there are more pressing concerns for our nation?” Well, collusion is defined as “a secret understanding between two or more persons or parties to gain something illegally, to defraud another of his or her rights, or to appear as adversaries, though in agreement.”
Well, dang. If that doesn't cover what is happening to non-BCS conferences and their respective members, I don't know what does. And I am sick and tired of the BCS commissioners saying Congress has more important things to worry about. Really?
Because, from where I sit, Congress has a legal and fiduciary responsibility to all of its constituents to ensure fair play within the marketplace (see U.S. vs. Microsoft and NCAA v Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma).
With the NCAA, BCS, and BCS conference schools profiting enormously from the current system, thereby relegating non-BCS conferences and schools to relative mediocrity and poverty, then are not the NCAA, BCS, and BCS Conferences, while appearing “…as adversaries, though in agreement,” defrauding those same non-BCS members their rights in that same marketplace?
The NCAA and the BCS are, in my opinion, the most crookedly run organizations in the entirety of the nation. Contrary to what the BCS conference commissioners say, I believe it’s high time the Unites States Congress did something about protecting the little guy.