I have to say, this topic really piqued my interest. In a country that seems on the verge of bankruptcy, with the federal and state governments sinking in debt, our Justice Department has decided it is interested in the way the NCAA and the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) determines the way the champion of college football is determined. Admittedly, the bowls that are currently played really do not make a lot of sense, unless you are the bowl committee. I am sure it makes a lot of cents to them, pun fully intended. College football bowls are a very lucrative business, both for the bowls and their hosts, and for the colleges who are good/lucky enough to be chosen to play in one of them. Accordingly, the Justice Department has sent a letter to the NCAA that asks the question, why do they not have a playoff to determine the national champion of college football. From CNN:
In a letter to the NCAA disclosed Wednesday, the Justice Department said it has received several requests for an antitrust investigation into the current Bowl Championship Series system, and it wants information to help it decide what to do.
That controversial system makes it very difficult for teams in some athletic conferences to qualify for major bowl games, potentially costing millions of dollars in revenue to those not chosen.
“Serious questions continue to arise suggesting that the current BCS system may not be conducted consistent with the competition principles expressed in federal antitrust laws,” Assistant Attorney General Christine Varney told NCAA President Mark Emmert.
The decision to release the letter came hours after Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, a major opponent of the current system, demanded further consideration of the issue in a face-to-face appearance with Attorney General Eric Holder at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.
Holder responded by disclosing the Justice Department had sent a letter to the NCAA on the issue Tuesday.
In her letter, Varney asked Emmert to explain why college football does not have a playoff when so many other college sports do. She also asked what steps, if any, the NCAA has taken to create a playoff, and whether the NCAA has determined that there are aspects of the BCS system that do not serve interests of fans, colleges, universities, and players.
For the record, I do not follow a lot of sports, but I am aware of how the national champion of college football is determined each year. I have already said that college football bowl games really make no sense, when it comes to determining the champion. I will go so far as to suggest that the question Assistant Attorney General Christine Varney asked is a legitimate one. I would also point out that it should be fairly simple to figure out why the bowl games are still in existence in the current form. Can anyone say “$$$$$”? All one has to do is look at the amount of money involved to understand the underlying factor that controls how the NCAA champion is born every year. It’s all about the money.
My concern with this can be summed up by asking a couple of questions. First, does the fact that the those in control of the championship and the bowl games want to protect their financial interests constitute an antitrust violation? Second, doesn’t the U.S. Department of Justice have bigger fish to fry than to be questioning the way the NCAA college football champion is chosen? I’m just saying.