Hatch: BCS Violates U.S. Antitrust Laws

Article excerpt

Byline: Tim Lemke, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Sen. Orrin Hatch reiterated his desire Thursday to change college football's postseason format, saying he believes the Bowl Championship Series violates antitrust laws.

Speaking on America's Morning News on Washington Times Radio, the Republican from Utah said the BCS system is slanted to benefit the more prominent teams.

You have 50 percent of the schools who are the elite schools. They get almost all of the money, and the other schools, no matter how good they are, don't even have a chance to compete for the national title, he said.

Hatch serves on the Senate's judiciary subcommittee on antitrust, which has held hearings on the issue. He urged additional hearings, along with an inquiry by the Department of Justice.

Hatch's comments came a day after BCS officials rejected a proposal by the Mountain West Conference - which includes Utah - for an eight-team playoff to replace the current system.

The Bowl Championship Series is a five-game arrangement that aims to pit the top two teams against one another in a title game and places eight other top-ranked schools in the Fiesta, Orange, Sugar and Rose bowls. Placement in the bowls is determined by a combination of human and computer polls. While any team can qualify for the BCS, critics have argued the system makes it harder for teams from outside the six major conferences to qualify.

Calls for changes to the BCS system have increased since January, when Utah went undefeated but was passed over to play in the BCS title game by Florida and Oklahoma, each of which had one loss. The Utes instead played in the Fiesta Bowl, where they beat Alabama 31-17.

The University of Utah was the only undefeated team last year, and they didn't have a chance in the world of competing for the national title, and then they get there and defeat one of the teams that was No. 1 for most of the year. They killed them, Hatch said.

He said he has raised concerns with BCS officials, but they just seem to blithely ignore what you say. …