Probe of college football’s championship system suggested
Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON – A lawyer for a college athletic conference told Congress on Tuesday it would be in the public’s interest if the government investigated the system that determines college football’s No. 1 team.
Barry Brett, who represents the Mountain West Conference, raised the possibility of antitrust violations in the Bowl Championship Series during testimony before a Senate Judiciary Committee subcommittee.
He got a favorable reception from Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, the subcommittee’s top Republican. Hatch noted that the Sherman Antitrust Act prohibits contracts, combinations or conspiracies designed to reduce competition.
“I don’t believe a plainer description of the BCS exists,” he said. The BCS “brings to mind the major Supreme Court decisions prohibiting price-fixing and horizontal restrictions on output,” he added.
Utah, which is in the Mountain West, was bypassed for last year’s national championship despite going undefeated in the regular season. The title game pitted Florida against Oklahoma – each with one loss.
Under the BCS, some conferences get automatic bids to participate, but the Mountain West and others do not. Critics argue that this system is designed to reduce competition, contrary to antitrust laws.
But Harvey Perlman, chancellor of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, said the BCS simply recognizes that the public wants to watch powerhouse college football teams such as his. Perlman is the new chairman of the BCS Presidential Oversight Committee.
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