"It hardly seems fair!" -R. Perry Sentell, Marion and W. Colquitt Carter Chair in Tort and Insurance Law Emeritus, University of Georgia School of Law
That seems to be the thrust of Mark Shurtleff's threat to file an anti-trust action against the BCS, and the DOJ's letter to the NCAA. It hardly seems fair.
Quick, who is the reigning champion of the NCAA football playoffs?
Yeah, I had to look it up, too. The reigning champion is Eastern Washington. Actually, it has three when you count Division II champion Minnesota-Duluth and Division III champion Wisconsin-Whitewater. Yes, the NCAA actually recognizes championships selected by other organizations, such as the BCS, and in the past the AP, FWAA, and other media organizations. That is where the DOJ is sniffing about.
That I had to look it up the answer to the question is at the heart of the matter. How very Democratic of the DOJ to ask what the NCAA is doing to force its members to more equally distribute the money associated with post season football. It feels like Senator Blutarsky's fault line will rupture sooner rather than later.
This feels like the DOJ is attempting to strong arm the NCAA into getting involved in the BCS fray. Hey, if we keep Senator Hatch happy, then I guess all is ok. What the DOJ is missing is the NCAA is made up of, and funded by, member organizations; those organizations have skin in the game in keeping the current systems as it is.
My guess is that Senator Hatch and the DOJ isn't betting the 60 or so schools involved in the BCS confrences are willing to go it alone. I am putting my money on the folks that have about 250M reasons per regular season to keep things the way they are to either figure out an artful answer that makes the DOJ go away or tell the DOJ to shove it and create a new system that those who are willing to pay $250M per season for will happily back.
The simple solution would be to make another division for college football. Size and access to resources is at the heart of the matter, any way.
If you think the have-nots are bad off now, wait until that happens. No one will care that Troy beat Temple for the Division I-FCS national championship when that game is played in front of 24,500 fans in the Carrier Dome on Versus.
Not when, at the same time, the Collegiate Athletic Consortium is hosting their round of bowl games in places like the Rose Bowl and the Super Dome.
I have to admit, it really chaps me that the government that is facing a several trillion dollar deficit, two wars, continuing lax oversight of financial institutions, and the scourge of online poker is inserting their nose in something that isn't an anti-trust violation. Just because money flows unevenly among actors doesn't mean it is unfair or an anti-trust violation.
But reading the letter, it sure seems like the DOJ thinks there might be one.
It hardly seems fair.