It’s so easy, because a lobbyist told him so.

Here’s a nicely disingenuous piece about the BCS by’s Austin Murphy, another scribe who thinks he knows a thing or two about antitrust law.

True, anti-trust lawyers at the Justice Department are seriously considering bringing charges against the BCS. But maybe they won’t! This is the thrust of a Sports Business Journal opinion piece forwarded to me by Hancock, and written by Gordon Schnell and David Scupp, partners at the New York City-based law firm Constantine Cannon, which specializes in anti-trust litigation.

First of all, the only person who claims that US Justice is “seriously considering bringing charges against the BCS” is the Utah Attorney General, who hasn’t exactly taken a neutral role as to college football’s postseason.  But anyway, the SBJ piece is a load of hooey, according to Murphy.  How does he know that? Well…

I ran that by Alan Fishel, a partner with the Washington, D.C.-based firm, Arent Fox. He and his colleagues described Schnell and Scupp’s analysis as “extremely superficial and one that ignores every argument for why it is actually an anti-trust violation.” Says Fishel, “The problem is that most attorneys have no idea of the facts behind this system. Once you fully know the facts, the conclusion that it is an anti-trust violation is an easy one to make.”

If it’s so easy to make, how come nobody will make it in court?  What is everyone waiting for?  And by “everyone”, I include Arent Fox, which Murphy conveniently fails to mention represents the Mountain West in its quest to get an AQ berth in the BCS.

One other thing about Fishel’s argument –

“… in many ways, the current system is worse than the old system.”

How? Look at the non-AQ teams now, and look at them 20 years ago. “Twenty years ago,” says Fishel, “Miami, Florida State, Penn State — those teams had chances to win national championships. Even BYU won a national championship” in 1984…”

– for anybody who doesn’t have a direct stake in seeing to it that the mid-majors get a bigger piece of the college football revenue pie, not allowing a repeat of the ’84 national title scenario is the BCS’ crowning achievement.  To consider that a bug and not a feature of the BCS should tell you all you need to know about where these guys are coming from.



Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Media Punditry/Foibles

3 responses to “It’s so easy, because a lobbyist told him so.

  1. Spence

    This is unrelated to this post (but off of one of your old posts) but really interesting…


  2. Siskey

    I for one have no problems with the BCS. If anything I feel that its existence coupled with the intense amount of coverage that College football receives now due to the internet and so many sports channels, serves to give the non qualifying schools more exposure and attention than they deserve. If you have followed the sport long enough then you remember that there have always been teams from lesser conferences that have had undefeated seasons.
    BYU is the greatest example of this as they used to dominate the WAC and despite the bias that their fans claim they received enough “respect” to win a National Championship and even have one of the worst Heisman winners ever in Ty Detmer.
    To his point about Miami and FSU and their success in the early 1980s. Both teams were at that time Independent and could play whoever they wanted. Penn State, and Notre Dame were also beneficiaries of this. They were free to schedule bigger name teams and by beating them built programs that were in the National Championship picture. Most importantly these teams played each other. Creating a buzz about their programs and advancing their cause for rankings.
    I feel that under the BCS, Boise, TCU and Utah have been able to do much of the same while playing against lesser competition in the regular season. Utah especially has benefited from the BCS. By beating Pittsburgh and then Alabama in BCS games they were able to get a spot in the Pac 10. There is no way that this happens if they were winning the Mtn West and closing the season in the Holiday Bowl or whatever they used to play in.
    One only has to look at the stadium that Boise played in last night at Idaho and contrast that with the old FSU teams that used to play on the road at Auburn and see that it is not a case of collusion or conspiracy that keep them and teams of their ilk from being National Champs.


  3. I’ll start with the caveat that the BCS is better than what it replaced, but it still sucks. That just goes to show how horrible things were pre-BCS. Also, an argument could be made that in some ways the BCS is worse, because by being a little bit better, it makes it harder to replace.

    Think about this. As fans of an SEC school, we currently have the most to gain from the BCS’ continued existence – compared to other conferences. We have the best in-conference strength of schedule. With the last 4 BCS champs, and 7 of the last 12, the SEC champ is virtually guaranteed a spot playing for the title right now.

    Imagine how it feels to be a fan of a team in one of the other conferences? You know going in that winning your conference gives you maybe a 25 % or 50% chance of getting a shot. You have to worry constantly about other members of your conference getting the job done to maintain the quality of your wins. That sucks.

    That’s a broken system, folks.