Sunday, June 27, 2010

More Antitrust and the BCS

Following up on my post from last week, the Idaho Statesmen features an interesting article today regarding a potential antitrust lawsuit against the Bowl Championship Series. The article notes that Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff intends to continue his pursuit of an antitrust case against the BCS, despite Utah's recent admission into the Pac-10. The article reports that AG Shurtleff will be meeting with the U.S. Department of Justice in mid-July to discuss the possibility of the DOJ challenging the BCS under federal antitrust law, with a decision from the DOJ expected this fall.

The article also includes an interesting discussion regarding the effect that a possible appearance by Boise State in this season's BCS National Championship Game would have on a potential antitrust suit against the BCS. While other strong antitrust claims against the BCS would continue to exist, having a university from a non-BCS conference appear in the national title game would nevertheless weaken such a case, enabling the BCS to argue that its system is truly open to all Football Bowl Subdivision universities, regardless of conference affiliation. This is one of the reasons why I believe that claims based on price-fixing and unequal revenue distribution provide a stronger basis for an antitrust challenge to the BCS, shifting the focus of the case from one of access to the financial disparities inherent in the current system.

The Idaho Statesmen article is available here. For more on potential antitrust claims against the BCS, see my article Antitrust & The Bowl Championship Series.