Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff plans on filing an antitrust lawsuit against the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) as early as this summer. Shurtleff is accusing the BCS of being an illegal monopoly and is seeking damages for schools including Utah and Boise State that have lost out on money due to being in a non-preferred conference. The lawsuit would basically state that schools that are not in an “automatic qualifying” conference are at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to the BCS.
The Sherman Antitrust Act’s purpose is “to oppose the combination of entities that could potentially harm competition.” Now the essence of the definition of a monopoly is the “the exclusive possession or control of something.” When you look at the purpose of the Antitrust Act and the definition of a monopoly I think that Shurtleff has a compelling argument. Most college football fans recognize that the BCS has major control over the football bowl games. There are 11 division one football conferences and six of those are automatic qualifying conferences. Automatic qualifying conferences have been referred to as “BCS Conferences” for many years because if you’re not in one of those 6 conferences there’s a good chance that you won’t be able to play in the National Championship game.
For teams such as Boise State, TCU, and even Utah (although they are now a member of the PAC 10) I’m sure that this is disheartening. These teams tend to have outstanding seasons and even have gone undefeated many times and yet they are never considered for the BCS National Championship game. Many people argue that these teams can’t compete against teams in these automatic qualifying conferences although teams such as Utah and Boise State do fine in bowl games against these opponents.
I definitely think that teams that are not in an automatic qualifying conference are at a competitive disadvantage. I favor a playoff system. Is that not the only fair way to crown a champion? NCAA basketball has a playoff system that works perfectly to me. Teams such as VCU and Butler get the chance to prove themselves even though they are not in so called major conferences. Even the NFL and NBA work off of playoff systems. Why not apply the same idea to college football. I know that there are many, many bowl games besides the 5 BCS games and some schools generate a lot of revenue from the games and the idea wouldn’t be to take money from them. As far as I’m concerned those bowl games can go on functioning as is and the top 8 teams can battle for the National Championship in a playoff format.
I realize that may be much easier said than done, but I think that a college football playoff is worth exploring. I hope that this antitrust lawsuit is just the first of many to come. I just know that there is a better way to crown a National Champion than the BCS.