It’s getting tougher for the NCAA to continue to dance around the antitrust issues entangled with the BCS system in college football.
In a recent letter to the NCAA, Christine Varney, the antitust chief for the Department of Justice (DOJ), said there are “serious questions” about the current BCS system in college football. In particular the letter wondered about the lack of a playoff system in NCAA Division I football. Every other NCAA-sanctioned sport, including lower-level football, utilizes a playoff to determine its champion. See: Feds to NCAA: Why no playoffs?
Varney said her office had received a request from 21 college professors to open an investigation of the BCS.
“Serious questions continue to arise suggesting the current Bowl Championship Series system may not be conducted consistent with the competition principles expressed in the federal antitrust laws,” said Varney.
Antitrust economist Andy Schwarz, whose efforts against the BCS helped spur the DOJ to take this initial action, argues that “the collusive steps the BCS has taken to insulate its weak championship game from competition from a better alternative [i.e., a playoff]” is likely an antitrust violation. See: BCS: Antitrust storm clouds gather
Schwarz believes the DOJ, NCAA and BCS will do battle and that the ultimate settlement could be a consent decree that would in effect bust up the BCS and “allow an entrepreneur like Mark Cuban, a network such as ESPN, or the NCAA itself to develop a playoff in competition with the BCS.”
On another front, Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff said this week that he intends to file an antitrust lawsuit sometime this summer against the BCS. See: Utah A.G. pleased feds look into BCS
“It is an illegal monopoly that benefits certain teams over others and hurts institutions of higher learning,” said Shurtleff.
Shurtleff’s lawsuit will seek damages for schools in the non-BCS conferences that have lost millions of dollars over the years because the existing system keeps nonpreferred conferences at a competitive advantage, according to Shurtleff.
Long-time BCS critic Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, also weighed in. He called the BCS a “mess” and said that “privileged conferences” have tremendous advantages over the unprivileged.
The League of Fans is calling for the abolishment of the unfair and unethical BCS system in favor of a 16-team playoff.
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #10 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: An Issues Discussion With Paul Dolan – Dolan is the Cleveland Indians Owner and CEO. He discusses the use of Native American names and logos by sports teams and the decisions to drop the Chief Wahoo logo and the upcoming change to the team name. Other baseball topics include health and safety, possible MLB rule changes and youth participation in the sport.
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Episode #9 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports Issues With Ralph Nader – Nader is a consumer advocate and was named one of the “100 Most Influential Americans of the 20th Century” by Time magazine. He is the founder of League of Fans.
Episode #8 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Save College Sports From Overcommercialization and Professionalization? – The guest is Dr. David Ridpath, a sports business professor and past president of the Drake Group
Episode #7 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Brain Trauma and CTE Risk in Sports With Dr. Ann McKee – Dr. McKee works in the field of neuropathology and has demonstrated that “mild” repetitive head trauma can provoke chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a devastating neurodegenerative disease.
Episode #6 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Need for Quality Physical Education in Our Schools is Greater Than Ever – The guest is Clayton Ellis, one of our nation’s leading advocates for getting our young people to be more physically active.
Episode #5 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Youth Sports with Positive Coaching Alliance Founder Jim Thompson – Thompson started Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) in 1998 to help create a movement to transform the culture of youth sports from “win-at-all-costs” to a positive, character-building experience.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
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