If you’ve been looking for a summary of where things stand with Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff’s threat to pursue an antitrust claim against the BCS, this is as good a place to start as any. Here are a few thoughts and questions:
- Shurtleff’s showboating has received some editorial page criticism for wasting taxpayer resources, to which Shurtleff responds (at his blog!) by saying that it’s his “duty” to look into this.
- If you read his response in detail, it seems that Shurtleff is trying to right two wrongs: give his beloved Utes a clear shot at the title and revenue distribution from the haves to the have-nots.
- As the post at TNR points out, the former argument looks a little shaky. Every school stands on even footing under the BCS rules in terms of qualifying for the title game; where the potential problem for the BCS may lie is in the other BCS games, where there are restrictions on which schools can participate.
- As for Shurtleff’s other goal, my question is why should the haves share? As I pondered a while back, why should anyone expect the president of the University of Kentucky to share his school’s football revenue stream with, say, Utah State, a school which will never put asses in the seats or eyeballs on the TV at the same rate as UK (which is a mid-level BCS conference program, don’t forget)?
- “Hopefully the NCAA will get back to the basics and take back I-A football and create a fair and equal playoff system.” Shurtleff may be the only politician in a football-crazy state in the country that welcomes the NCAA as a savior. He must not have talked with many Alabama fans at the Sugar Bowl.
None of this is to say that I’m opposed to seeing a little litigation here. The last major antitrust action, remember, resulted in television being forced to open up, which has been a major boon to college football fans everywhere.
The thing is, in the end, that, too, has benefited the big boys more. Where does most of the TV money from football flow to these days? Not the Sun Belt, Jack.
I suspect that if the BCS takes one on the chin, the end result would be a major restructuring of the D-1 conferences, with a few of the mid-majors being scooped up into a new arrangement of super conferences while groups like the Sun Belt and MAC would be relegated to a new tier occupying a sort of no-man’s land between the top shelf and 1-AA. Personally, I think a top football division of about eighty teams would be great, especially if scheduling were tightened up and a playoff consisting of conference champs only was instituted.